What Comes First, Action or Thought?

The book Delivering Results by David Ulrich has an interesting quote concerning how our thoughts and actions relate:

“People are much more likely to act their way into a new way of thinking, than think their way into a new way of acting.”

I personally believe that any substantial and sustainable change comes from thoughts and is followed by action.

Which is it for you: think first, act later? Act first, think later?

One Love. One II.




About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org. I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

4 responses to “What Comes First, Action or Thought?”

  1. Anonymous says :

    that’s hard to say. generally it is wise to think before you act but sometimes the most powerful acts come from raw passion. however those acts also have the most rash consequences…

  2. Garlin II says :

    I think that you’re implying that an act that comes after thinking is by definition not passionate. i disagree with that. we think about things/actions that we care and/or are passionate about.

  3. Anonymous says :

    no, i’m saying spontaneity doesn’t allow us to second guess our words or action. often when we think twice about something we back down. i realize this isn’t true for everyone but it is true for a great deal of people.

  4. Garlin II says :

    Ok, I think that I see what you are saying. Why do generally people back down on their second thought? Why is that second thought always one that introduces fear/doubt?

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