In 1955 John F. Kennedy, then serving as Senator of Massachusetts, published a collection of profiles about eight US Senators, all of whom acted against the wishes of their party or constituents for the greater good of the country, and suffered the consequences for doing so.
To be clear, this newsletter is far less ambitious than Kennedy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book. It does, however, borrow from its structure, set to a different theme: right action.
Viktor Frankel wrote in Man’s Search for Meaning that the answer to the eternal question of the meaning of life, “must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct.”
In Buddhism, right action means being accurate or skillful, and includes precepts that describe how an enlightened person lives.
This newsletter unearths people who took right action in the face of chaos and adversity to do something amazing. Use these profiles to get inspired, unstuck, and do that thing you’ve been dreaming about.
You’ll get each profile before I publish them anywhere else, and each newsletter will also include recommended reading from my research for each subject.
In a world that feels increasingly chaotic and uncertain, right action resides in the eye of the storm.
In the face of shattered shared narratives, crumbling institutions, and social and economic alienation, right action becomes our North Star.
Right action helps us work smarter, not harder.
Right action relieves us of perfectionism, paralysis, and fear.
Right action is bold, opportunistic, and clever.
Right action helps us, as Stephen Pressfield says, “Put your ass where your heart wants to be.”
Cleaning the kitchen is an action, and a good one at that. But you hate cleaning the kitchen, and you’re avoiding finishing that project, which you know is the right action.
Fantasizing about getting that promotion is an action. Right action is taking the steps to become a top performer.
Endlessly ruminating on blowing a huge opportunity is something you can do until you die. Right action is learning from it, cutting the cord, and getting back up to the plate to take your cuts.
Consuming endless amounts of art, entertainment, or news is an action. Right action is creating your own art. Or doing something about what you see on the news instead of tweeting about it.
The only thing that is 100% in our control is our actions. Let’s make them count.
If you’d like to subscribe, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Profiles in Action” in the subject.