How to Start and Finish Any Action


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by Jayaram V

Summary: Ten important qualities, which are necessary to start any project, idea or business venture, and successfully finish it.

In the early days of computer programming (mid 90s), I thought of an application that was similar in many respects to the present-day Google Earth. Long before e-commerce became a reality, I had the idea of virtual malls, where people could walk through the isles in a simulated departmental store and click on a product to put it in the cart. Fifteen years ago, I wanted to build a social network website where people from India could share travel information and find help for traveling parents and elders who needed assistance at the airports or during the journey due to their age, disability or language barriers.

Those ideas were never put into action, as I had other priorities. There must be many people who think of creative ideas and great concepts but do not act upon them. Someone wants to start a restaurant or design a good mobile app or travel the world to gain a firsthand experience of the peoples, places and cultures.

In most cases, such ideas remain buried in their minds, as they become preoccupied with their daily problems and routines. Due to lack of will or determination or courage and conviction, their ideas remain mere wishes. Then, there are people who initiate actions, projects and programs, but do not finish them for one reason or the other. It may not always happen due to internal factors. Sometimes chance and circumstances may also play a role, and the best of our ideas, intentions and decisions may have to wait for their turn or for favorable conditions. In this essay, we examine the qualities that are necessary to carry out tasks successfully from the start to the finish.

Qualities that help you finish tasks and reach goals

If you are young and if you have good ideas, you must give them a shot. It is much easier to take risks when you are young than when you grow up, have a family and many responsibilities. How can you give a shape to your ideas and carry them through into reality? How can you start something and successfully finish it despite the problems and challenges? The courage and the conviction to do something must come from within. You can cultivate the right attitude and mindset to put your ideas into action and transform your vision or your dreams into reality. For that, you must cultivate the following qualities.

1. Desire: Desire is the beginning of everything. Your goals, dreams or actionable ideas spring from your desires only. There must be a strong desire to do something, to be something or to have something. You can translate your desires into reality through right actions. Therefore, pay attention to your desires to understand your motivation and give them a shape.

2. Purpose: Having a desire, a wish or a dream is not sufficient. You must have a sense of purpose and know why you want to accomplish something, and whether it is worth striving for. Your purpose carries you through problems and difficulties, as it keeps you reminding you of your ultimate goal. It strengthens your faith and conviction in your ideas, plans and actions, and helps you remain focused and determined.

3. Clarity: Clear thinking is important to set clear and specific goals and draw specific plans, without confusion. If you have clarity in your thinking, you can discern things clearly and make right decisions. You can decide what resources and actions are needed to achieve them. The scope for mistakes and failures will also be less. To gain clarity, you must possess right skills and right knowledge or engage people who possess them.

4. Initiative: To be successful in any effort, you must take initiative. It means you must be a self-starter, self-motivator and self-learner, willing to take risks and stand on your own feet. Those who have initiative are proactive and do not pass on the buck or expect others to do their tasks. They are determined and perseverant in the face of obstacles and difficulties.

5. Confidence: To stand on your own, take initiative, persevere, accept faults and learn, withstand problems and difficulties and face challenges, you need confidence. You must believe in yourself, with faith in your ideas, methods, skills, competence and strength to take on any challenge or face any problem to finish what you begin. Confidence is also required to pursue your goals until the end.

6. Resourcefulness: Successful people are also resourceful. They process information in smart ways. Since they are realistic and possess ingenuity, inventiveness, creativity and strategic thinking, they find effective solutions even amidst problems and difficulties, when others seem to give up. When circumstances are unfavorable and the going gets tough, they come out with brilliant solutions to find a way out. They also know how to conserve their resources and efficiently use them.

7. Focus: Successful people pay attention. They have focus and know where to use it. Since they understand its value in achieving excellence and completing tasks, they train themselves to keep their attention focused on their goals, plans, processes and tasks until the end. Without this superb quality, nothing much can be accomplished in today's world, where we have too many distractions, temptations and disturbances.

8. Positivity: The quality of being positive, thinking positive thoughts and seeing positive outcomes is extremely important to solve problems and make decisions. With positivity, you can see opportunities, overcome obstacles, complete any task and remain inspired and motivated. With it, you can also absorb the shocks and setbacks and persevere in your effort, without losing courage. To start anything and carry it through to the finish line, you must stay positive and keep your hopes and morale alive.

9. Pragmatism: Practical thinking helps all the way from the beginning of a task until it is finished. With it you can set realistic goals, forecast the outcomes with greater accuracy, solve the problems, and take suitable decisions and actions according to the need and the situation. You will either act according to the environment or change it according to your needs. In all situations, you will by guided your knowledge which is tested or derived from your experience, observation, perceptions, understanding and gut feelings, rather than your untested and irrational beliefs.

10. Adaptability or flexibility: Successful people are flexible and adaptable. They readily and willingly adjust to different situations. When needed by circumstances, they promptly respond to change their plans and actions or their thinking and approach. They are open to challenges and willing to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity and constantly learn from their failures and successes. Rather than fighting with the forces which they cannot change, they find ways and means to use them effectively to their advantage.


In conclusion, if you want to finish successfully what you begin, you must have the right mindset, with clarity and laser like focus on your purpose and goals and engage in practical, positive, flexible, resourceful and adaptable behaviors and actions to persevere until the end. Whatever you do, give your best. Plan well, and keep high your morale, confidence and courage. Expect disappointments, failures and setbacks, for success is hard earned and rarely given to you by chance or fate.

As the Bhagavadgita states, you cannot always predict the outcome of any action, but you can always engage in right actions and focus upon the task rather than the result. If your methods and solutions are correct, you will have better chances of reaching your goals. If things do not turn out as expected, you have to learn from your mistakes and start again. Success is a process, not an end, and the path of success is seldom straight.

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