Act Before You Think
Get into the Flow
Jay shares thoughts on the importance of taking action.
People will often tell you to ‘think before you act.’ And, while there is some wisdom here, the truth is that the opposite is potentially much more powerful. You need to act before you ‘think.’ Meaning that you need to take action and get into the flow – before your nerves, your worry and your ‘over-thinking’ a situation paralyze you and prevent you from moving forward.
Have you ever been in a situation when you really wanted to accomplish something, and you really cared about the outcome – but you were nervous and afraid to take the first step? And then the more you thought about it, the more things you imagined that might go wrong? So, you just froze up and did nothing? By contrast, have there been other times when you’ve just taken that first step and plunged in? Felt the nervousness evaporate and get into that magical flow? This is the essence of ‘acting before you think.’ Take the bold action to move forward, begin to feel a positive momentum and be on your way to success.
Similarly, have you ever gone through a period of time when it just felt like nothing was going your way? Or when you felt overwhelmed and like you couldn’t persevere through a difficult challenge or reach a desired goal? Perhaps it led you to feeling like you should stop what you’re doing, put it off, or say I’ll do it another day. The temporary relief from taking a break or procrastinating may give us just that, temporary relief, when we know deep down inside it’s not truly what we want. Oftentimes what life requires from us is to simply act, big or small.
Think about something as simple as taking a fall. We may fall, scrape our hands or our knees, but what do we do? We get back up, and we keep walking. We don’t lay on the ground, flustered by indecision, waiting for someone to pick us up. We choose to keep moving forward. Maybe a little worse for the wear, but the point is, we act. We’ve all heard Nike’s famous motto “Just Do It” and much of life is actually summed up in this simple yet powerful phrase. The late Kobe Bryant would often speak to this when discussing his training regimen. Some days he wouldn’t want to get up for a 5am gym session or would feel sore after a game. But instead, he chose to act no matter how difficult it may have been, and the results speak for themselves.
Every day, there are people around the world faced with whether to choose inaction over action. And if you’ve ever been faced with that challenge, remind yourself that even if we take a small action towards a goal we strive to achieve, we’re still choosing to act and not be paralyzed by fear or uncertainty. What you’ll find is that over time, you’ll get to where we want to go. And perhaps it takes us longer than anticipated, or you find that you want to go in a different direction with whatever it is you aspire to, maybe even fail in some cases. The point is you did it. But by choosing to act, we’re also choosing to grow, to learn, and evolve. And that’s something no one can ever take away from you.
Lincoln’s Ties to NH
This week we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Abraham Lincoln was a giant of a man physically and as well as a giant in terms of his impact on the history of our nation. So, when standing in out in front of the awe-inspiring statue of the seated Lincoln looking out over the National Mall, it is hard not to think about his deeds and legacy.
And, interestingly, there are elements of his life and impact that link directly to the Granite State. While most would think of Lincoln's ties to the Civil War being with the mid and southern parts of the nation, he did have many connections with New Hampshire, occurring both during his life and some taking place and after his death.
For example, Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury and the sixth Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Salmon P. Chase was born in Cornish, New Hampshire. During Chase's time as Secretary of the Treasury he designed the $1 paper bill and helped implement the “In God We Trust” on every coin. As Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court during Lincoln's Administration, Chase was the first Chief Justice to allow an African American attorney, John Rock, to argue a case in the U.S. Supreme Court.
As the first Republican President in the United States, Lincoln also was good friends with Amos Tuck, the founder of the Republican party in Exeter, New Hampshire, as they had both served together in Congress.
While a candidate for president, Lincoln would also come up to New Hampshire to visit his son Robert at Philips Exeter Academy. Once, while on such a visit, Lincoln spoke in Concord, Manchester, and Exeter over three days to packed houses to discuss his anti-slavery message.
Then, after Lincoln’s assassination, there were many memorials to him and while most think of the famous one in Washington DC, there was another one created in New Hampshire in the 1880’s. Called “Lincoln: the Man,'' or also known as “The Standing Lincoln,” sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens came to Cornish, New Hampshire because there were “Lincoln-shaped men” he could use to capture the essence of such a great man. Saint-Gaudens asked Lincoln’s tailor to create the suit used for the statue while the plaster casts used were of Lincoln's actual face and hands. The original 12-foot statue now resides in Lincoln Park in Illinois while a copy resides in Cornish.
And, in Newbury, New Hampshire, there is the estate of John Hay. Hay was Lincoln’s private secretary and close associate – later serving as United States Secretary of State under both President McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. He chose this beautiful 83-acre parcel – known as ‘The Fells’ - spanning nearly half a mile of shoreline on Lake Sunapee as his summer retreat where it still stands today maintained as a preservation trust and open to visitors. Yet, another ‘touch point’ connecting Lincoln and his circle of influence to the New Hampshire even of today.
Whether it be Lincoln’s visits to our state, the Saint-Gaudens statue, the founding of the Republican Party in Exeter or simply the naming of our wonderful town in the White Mountains, Lincoln, New Hampshire – you don’t have to look far in the Granite State to see the influence of this great man.
John Weeks of NH – The Great Outdoors and the ‘Weeks Act’
Here’s a little-known piece of New Hampshire lore. John Weeks was born and raised in Lancaster, NH but rose to prominence in Massachusetts as a US Senator. After graduating high school in Lancaster, Weeks was accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy and later enlisted in the Navy, eventually serving in the Spanish-American War.
Weeks was a big believer and lover of the great outdoors and pushed through a little-known piece of legislation named after him called the “Weeks Act”. The Weeks Act, passed in 1911, allowed the Federal Government to purchase private tracts of land and turn them into National Parks in the Eastern United States with the purchase of over 6,000,000 acres of land. That’s SIX MILLION! These purchases included the iconic White Mountain National Forest, right outside of Weeks’ hometown of Lancaster. The White Mountains are of course one of our state’s top tourist destinations and an economic boon to Lancaster and the surrounding area.
Weeks also served his country in other capacities in politics. He was instrumental in getting President Harding into office and was rewarded with a cabinet level position as the Secretary of War. His job was to work with the War Department in scaling down the military after World War I. This turned out to be a monumental task as Weeks was responsible both for taking care of the many World War I veterans and managing the effort to provide our country's defense. Weeks would eventually resign from the post and return to his beloved Lancaster to enjoy the wilderness one last time before his passing at his home on Prospect Mountain in Lancaster.
In recognition of his service to our country, he was cremated and buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Later a mountain in the White Mountain National Forest was named after him. In one final gesture of the love of the great outdoors, Weeks’ family donated his mountain estate to the State of New Hampshire which turned the 450+ acre property into a State Park with an observatory that everyone can enjoy to this day.
Positive Profile of the Week: Scott Mason
This week we are delighted to highlight a man who truly knows and loves New Hampshire, Scott Mason. Scott Executive Director of New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. With a background in farming, it’s only fitting that Scott should have such an important role in supervising our great outdoors.
I first got to know Scott when I was running for Governor, a number of years ago. Scott and his wife operate a 400-acre farm in Stratford, about 30 miles from the Canadian Border. Scott is a leader in conservation and in fact, his is the first farm in the region to have a conservation easement, meaning it can be farmed but the land around must be preserved. His passion for New Hampshire’s outdoors has made him a ‘go-to’ person not only for agriculture but for outdoor and wildlife protection. Interestingly, his role in helping fellow farmers started back as a young man including his work as a loan administrator for the United States Department of Agriculture.
In 2020, Governor Chris Sununu appointed Scott to the Post of Executive Director of Fish and Game. For those who don't know about NH Fish and Game, it is a standalone department in the Granite State in charge of managing and protecting outdoor game, fisheries, plant resources and preservation.
Scott was more than qualified for the position as he actually knew many of the staff in the department prior to taking the leadership role due to his many years as member of the Groveton Fish and Game Club, the NH Farm Bureau, and a number of other related organizations. Today, Scott is traveling across New Hampshire and working alongside his dedicated teammates in promoting the values of protecting our great outdoors. He's never afraid to speak up and you can always count on Scott to act when needed. He truly puts the Granite State first and his dedication ensures our children’s children will enjoy the great outdoors for years to come! Thank you, Scott, for the great work that you do!
P.S. – Just for fun. To understand more about what Scott’s ‘day-to- day’ operations must be like and get a sense for the truly fascinating role of Fish and Game, check out the hit show North Woods Law. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Woods_Lawa It's really cool.
Quotes of the Week: Taking Action
“Thinking will not overcome fear, but action will.”
W. Clement Stone
“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.”
“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”
John F. Kennedy
“Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.
The key to success is action, and the essential in action is perseverance.”