Derek Sivers

Actions, not words, reveal our real values

I told my old coach that I really want to make Muckwork happen.

He said, “No, you don’t.”

I said, “Yes, I do! This is really important to me!”

He said, “No, it’s not. Saying it doesn’t make it true.”

I said, “You can’t ignore what I’m saying. I know myself well. I’m telling you what’s important to me.”

He said, “I can ignore what you’re saying, and just look at your actions. Our actions always reveal our real values.

I thought about that, but it sounded wrong to me. What about people that want to learn a language, or create a business, but haven’t started yet? What about people that want to quit smoking, or quit their job, but haven’t been able to yet?

He said, “If they really wanted to do it, they would have done it. You’ve been talking about Muckwork since 2008, but never launched it. Looking at your actions, and knowing you, I’d say that you don’t really want to start another company. You actually prefer the simple life you have now, focused on learning, writing, and playing with your kid. You say you want to, but your actions reveal the truth.

Wow. Yep. He was right.

I had been fooling myself for years, telling myself I wanted to do this, but my actions prove otherwise. Yes I want it a little bit, but I want something else more.

Now I’ve been sharing this thought with friends who talk about wanting something, but aren’t making it happen. Each time, they have the same reaction I did. (“Oh wow. That’s true.”)

No matter what kind of stuff you tell the world, or tell yourself, your actions reveal your real values. Your actions show you what you actually want.

I see two smart reactions to this:

  1. Stop lying to yourself, and admit your real priorities.
  2. Start doing what you say you want, and see if it’s really true.

P.S. For a related thought, read “keep earning your title, or it expires”.