Thinking Mode Versus Doing Mode

By Leo Babauta
Leo Babauta
Leo Babauta
Leo Babauta is the author of six books and the writer of Zen Habits, a blog with over 2 million subscribers. Visit ZenHabits.net
September 7, 2021 Updated: September 7, 2021

I spend a lot of time dreaming about things—incredible adventures I want to go on, self-improvement projects, all those books I plan on reading …

And there’s nothing wrong with that. Dreaming is wonderful.

What I’ve noticed, though, is that sometimes I get stuck in the thinking and dreaming mode. I don’t actually take action.

I dream about going on these epic hikes through the mountains. I research them, learn about them, and plan out my gear and food and routes, but I’m stuck inside, doing all of this research and planning. I’m not actually outside, experiencing the hikes.

When I realize this, it’s good for me to make this distinction: Am I in the mode of thinking about it or actually doing it? Both are fine. But at some point, it helps to make the switch from thinking about it to doing it.

This is the point where we make a commitment.

We go from considering whether to take the plunge with a big decision, to commit ourselves to a course of action.

We tell other people about it. Make an announcement. Take an action that is like leaping off a cliff—no looking back.

What areas in your life are you in thinking mode? And would you like to switch to doing mode?

What kind of commitment would it take to put you into doing mode?

How much longer would you like to wait?

Leo Babauta
Leo Babauta
Leo Babauta is the author of six books and the writer of Zen Habits, a blog with over 2 million subscribers. Visit ZenHabits.net