Is Action really the key to Happiness?

I just finished reading a very interesting article by Benjamin Sledge, a blogger with Heart Support, a site dedicated to helping those that are struggling with life’s toughest challenges. The blog that caught my attention is called, “You Might Not Actually Be Struggling With Depression” but you may be dealing with depression’s lesser known evil twin.

In his blog he introduces us to an old fourth century term, acedia (pronounced ah-SEED-e-uh). The early Desert Fathers had a list of “Eight Bad Thoughts” and acedia was considered to be one of the worse. Later this eight morphed into the Seven Deadly Sins and acedia became Sloth

Why don’t you take a break from here and read the blog post from Benjamin by clicking here.

Now I hope you took the extra 8 minutes to read the post because the next few sentences are my thoughts on the solutions, building on what Benjamin wrote and as he put it, “combating acedia.”

First of all, thoughts and actions do NOT have to line up. Just because you have a bad thought, “I just don’t want to do this” type of thought does not mean that you can’t. In other words, your actions speak louder than your thoughts.

Your power comes from doing things that are contrary to your bad thoughts .

Everyone has a bad thought from time to time and yet many successful people seem to get things done. They don’t buy into their thoughts and act in accordance to their personal vision and values. Like the Desert Fathers discovered, awareness and action were the keys and they did whatever was needed to be done, in spite of the negative thoughts they had at the time.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

Dale Carnegie

When you really become absorbed into an activity, you not only loose the track of time, you loose your thoughts. Your mental focus goes external to the task and silences the internal dialogue. Will that dialogue come back? Probably and when it does, take action that supports you in the direction you really want to go. Keep the practice up and that old ego (idiot) will start to go silent.

When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds.


Today, I practiced what I preach to my clients. Yes, I was stuck in my head to the point I was looking at anything that remotely looked like work and started to go into an internal justification rant to sit and brew about the injustices! Ouch. Drama anyone?

That “great purpose” that got me out of my head was getting to the fall clean up in the yard. When I was completed a few hours later, there was no other thought than admiring the accomplishment. The yard looked great and I felt great!

That other KEY mentioned in the blog post and many have stated it before as one of the keys to success or combating internal demons, is awareness.

I have worked hard over many years on self-awareness. Was it easy? Not in the beginning and yes there are still some times where I go auto – get plugged in – and run the old stories. Today, the awareness comes quicker and I can call my own BS and take appropriate action.

I learn and I grow.

Knowing when you are being triggered, on the edge of the rabbit hole or about to enter a spiraling conversation key. That self-awareness, which takes practice gives you the opportunity to be at choice and to take action, instead of inaction, which will lead you down that path of…well I think you know what the results of that are.

Is action the key to happiness?

Maybe…I do know where inaction leads to…NOTHING GOOD.

Don't feel like getting up - GET UP!
Don't feel like excising - START MOVING!
Don't feel like eating that frog - BBQ IT!

Stuck in your head – take action. Even a little step in the right direction can produce big dividends in the future.

Cheers to your continued health and happiness!

pink sign with the words Begin each day with a grateful heart.
Image from

RICK RUPPENTHAL is a professional Personal and Leadership Transformational Coach and a Certified Change Practitioner. As a retired paramedic of 30 years, Rick has held positions in leadership, education, as a coach and a mentor. Through those experiences, understanding, and adaptability, Rick has dedicated his life to a continual journey of self-discovery, adventure, and guiding others on their own journey of being their best self.

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