Activity Vs. Action – The First Step to Great Results

Whether you’re spending time studying hard, working, creating, or otherwise producing anything, you might sometimes feel like all your hard work goes to waste. This happens to virtually everyone, and is partially due to what I will refer to as Sticky Mind (if you’ve ever dealt with sticky keys you know what I mean).

This is commonly referred to as Einstellung, where you can become caught up in a way of thinking despite better options being right around the mental corner. I’m going to break down some ways to circumvent this and explain a bit about how you can use this to understand your own habits and improve your productivity, so sit down, relax, and open your mind!

Osho: Master of Action

Osho is a relatively famous spiritual teacher and philosopher who gained most of his attention during the 1970s. He has a few books, some of which I have read, and some of which I will read when I have time. This article is going to primarily focus on his understanding of creativity, and how to harness it to its fullest extent.

To begin, action is the focused, precision approach to problem-solving. It is the conscious effort of analyzing and existing problem in your life and using your full attention to find a solution. Action is the result of planning, which as I’ve said before is the cornerstone of success, you can read about it in full here. You must be prepared before you take action, or your actions simply become activities, aimless and ineffective.

Action is often your best bet when it comes to handling life’s difficulties, but as I will explain later, there is a crucial balance that I believe Osho was too reluctant to address.

Activity Vs. Action

Activity, as described by Osho, is a passive activity, one of habit that keeps us stationary in our thoughts and in our life. Activities are those things that do not require much thought and sort of take over for us when we are not using our focused thoughts to dictate action.

These activities can be benign or malicious depending on the habits we have formed. Some people prefer to chew gum, check their phones, find something to snack on, or otherwise distract themselves when they are not in total control of their actions. Checking your phone once or twice while waiting on a bus ride is most likely not the reason you are stuck in your habits. The problem I see most often is that people do not know when to change their behavior from activity to action, or how to make the most of their activities.

Not all activities are benign, heavy alcohol consumption and overeating will surely hamstring your success and create a mess of problems beyond the time spent indulging in those activities. The good news is that there are positive activities, which Osho either did not see the use for, or did not see a need to discuss. These activities will improve your life, and make your actions more effective.

Positive Activity

Positive activity might have sounded like an oxymoron after my initial definition, but this is only true in part. Activities are most often unplanned or require little thought to carry out, but when used properly can supplement your actions and even become useful in their own right.

If you’re looking to replace some of your counterproductive activities, I’ve drawn up a short list below, which is by NO means exhaustive:

  1. Showering: Taking a nice cold shower or bath can be a good way to unwind and recollect your thoughts from the day, and there are numerous benefits to cold showers alone, including boosts to immune system, focus, and reduction in anxiety.
  2. Meditation: Something I personally have fallen in love with as a method of readying myself for a long day of action, meditation and prayer are good ways to give your mind a break so that it can “reboot” for more focused thinking.
  3. Working Out: If you are still new to exercise, this may still be an action for you, but if you are comfortable with your routine and already have an idea of what your workout will consist of, exercise can be a great way to set your mind free, and reduce stress in the process.
  4. Music: Listening to music, especially music without lyrics, drowns out the world and lets your brain roam.
  5. Art: Any sort of relaxed art, such as freely drawing or painting, will put your brain into activity mode, and make it easier to form connections between other parts of your brain.

    These are good habits to start you off, and you can find plenty more that will give you the same benefits. Look for something that your are well practiced in, and does not require an excessive amount of focus to take part in.

 If you have trouble forming habits, you can read more on forming habits here, and some more about it here. 

If you feel like your schedule is strangling you, and that it would be impossible to find time to implement these into your life, I have created a handy article for that too. Here is an article I wrote to help you define the most important parts of your life and reduce unnessecary clutter in your schedule, and here is one that will allow you to power through even the toughest problems life can throw at you, and keep you on track to becoming great!

Balance: The Key to Great Action

With positive activity in mind, we have a great place to start building a strong backbone to carry our actions through. The key to efficiency and effectiveness is to find a balance between action and activity. If you spend too much time on activities, you will only move in the directions you’ve chosen, and leaving yourself little time to step back, analyze, and redirect your limited energy.

On the other side of the equation, if you spend all of your time focused on actions, you will find yourself losing your edge, becoming less effective in your ability to take actions. If you’ve ever gotten into regular excersise, too much action looks a lot like trying to only work out your arms, all day, every day. It is extremely important to take time to rest and recoupourate between action, just like shifting between groups of muscles, and allowing them to rebuild and become more powerful, you need to find time to step back from actions and let activity take over.

To me, this balance looks like an 20/80 split. I spend roughly 20% of my time on action, which includes writing articles, reading, researching and testing new methods to improve myself. 80%, which includes R&R, friends, family, creative writing, and games take up about 20 hours per week, out of 168 that comes out to around 12% of my time, and another 96 hours are split between work and sleep. Realistically, you can spend up to 40% of your time on action, but it will require a long time to build yourself up to that, and only for actions that you are experienced in. 


I really hope this gives some insight into the world of success-building, I will have another article with some more scientific points that will really help press out some of the wrinkles in this article and bring everything tohgether. In the meantime tell me what your schedule looks like down below, and if you want I will help you find time you might not know you had before. As always thanks for reading and be sure to check out some of the other articles, I have written them to be used with each other to offer multiple views into personal growth to maximize their effectiveness. Have a great future!

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