Actions Speak Louder Than Words In Fiction And Life

I’m not one of Mark Joyner’s “test-monkeys” for his new 7-day Business Turnaround program. I was disappointed (though not surprised, as you’ll see) when I saw the list. But I am also grateful for the important lesson I learned from this experience. It seems that sometimes not getting what you desire can lead to the discovering of something even more important.

Last week, after submitting my audition, I was reminded of a key creative writing lesson: “Show, don’t tell.” Most beginning writers, and many not so beginning writers, fall into the trap of “telling” their readers what’s happening rather than leading their readers into an experience by describing the key elements in the scene. In most cases, when a reader is “shown” what is happening, the impact is more powerful and memorable.

Compare the following two examples:

Example 1.

Johnny went to the convenience store to buy a drink. He was feeling exhausted as he walked to the soda case at the back of the store. He got a soda and walked to the checkout counter. The cashier rang him up. Johnny paid and went outside and took a big sip.

Example 2.

It was dusk by the time Johnny finished work and made it to the 7/11. With the light fading outside, the flickering of the fluorescent bulbs overhead was immediately apparent. Johnny walked the familiar path to the drink case in the back, the same path he took every day at this time. He reached out, resting his hand on the refrigerator handle, while deciding if this was a Mountain Dew or a Coke night. After a moment he realized that he was no longer looking at the drinks, but staring down at the floor, his whole body leaning against the refrigerator door.

Which one draws you in more?

All right, this is a bit of an extreme example. But you get the idea.

When you show readers what is happening you give them the opportunity to enter the scene. You open a door for them to step into the world you are creating. And, most important, you allow them to become the co-creator of that world with you.

A writer can never fill in all the details of the world he or she is creating. And that’s a good thing because it leaves space for the reader to enter into the process of creation. The reader gets to flesh out all the details that you, the writer, leave out.

This creative writing lesson can be applied to the Law of Attraction in life as well.

It is often said that the Universe is our co-creator. Well what if we used the metaphor of writing? It’s not a stretch to say that each of us is the author of our life and the Universe is our reader.

Every time we become aware of a desire we have the choice of showing or telling the Universe what it is that we want.

We “tell” our desires through visualization, setting intentions, stating affirmations, creating vision boards, etc.

We “show” our desires by taking the specific, focused, actions that will make them happen.

The speed with which desires manifest in our lives depends on the clarity of the desire and the intensity of the energy fueling that desire.

Telling tends to have a low emotional/vibrational intensity. Most of us are not yet able to generate and sustain a significant level of intensity through telling – visualizing, intending, etc.

Whereas taking consistent, focused physical action does tend to generate a significant amount of intensity.

The Universe is just like a reader: It wants to be brought into the scene of your desire. It wants to be brought into the act. And it wants to experience the emotional/vibrational intensity of action.

When the Universe is brought into the active, high intensity, creation of your desire, there really is no stopping it!

But when we get stuck at the level of telling there is rarely enough intensity to catalyze the manifestation of your desire.

This lesson was driven home in a powerful way last week.

When I heard that Mark Joyner was going to choose 7 people to work with, one-on-one for a pre-launch test of his new Business Turnaround program, I was totally jazzed. I really wanted to be chosen. So I “told” the Universe.

And then I sat around and twiddled my thumbs for two days waiting for the “inspiration” that would help me create the perfect audition.

Well the inspiration never came. That happens sometimes.

So, on Wednesday morning, the day the audition was due, having done nothing other than think about what I was going to write and say, I hiked up to a quiet spot in one of my favorite parks, and recorded a five-minute video using my digital camera. Then I hiked down, went to a café, filled out the application form and submitted it.

The instant that I pushed that submit button I knew I had screwed up!

Think about it. If you’re Mark Joyner, someone who can probably charge $1000/hour or more as a business consultant, and you invite people to audition to get 7-days of focused, one-on-one attention to rapidly grow their business, are you going to choose someone that throws together a quick video and dashes off some answers to the questions? Or, are you going to choose people who clearly have put some serious thought, time and effort into their audition?


Now take it a step further: Imagine that you’re the Universe. And you’ve got a library of more than 6-billion “books” to read even as they are in the process of being written. Are you going to be more interested in the books that are telling you what they want? Or are you going to pay more attention to the books that are showing you what they want?

Here’s the bottom line: If you really want something, show the Universe that you’re serious. Give the Universe the opportunity to become your co-creator.

The doorway to co-creation doesn’t open by telling. It only opens through showing, through action.

If you show the Universe that you’re going to create this desire, with or without its assistance, then the Universe really starts to pay attention. And that’s when things start to hum!

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      16 Responses to “Actions Speak Louder Than Words In Fiction And Life”

      1. Evolving Times » Perfect Timing For Some Inspiration on June 26th, 2007 8:58 am

        […] of Attitude video. It’s perfect timing and the perfect follow-up to my earlier post about the lesson in action that I learned from my audition for Mark Joyner’s 7-Day Business Turnaround […]

      2. Steve on June 26th, 2007 7:06 am

        Interesting post – I couldn’t find your name anywhere so I gave up and decided to just to write instead. Too bad about your audition submission – at least you learned something from it, most of us ‘out here’ never do and keep making the same mistakes over and over and over and over again…. kind of like a misquito that is trying to get outside through a closed window. It’s not working skeeter!

        Back to why I really wanted to say. You had mentioned that

        ‘It seems that sometimes not getting what you desire can lead to the discovering of something even more important.’

        Well I have to agree that it’s no coicidence that I had this exact thing ocur to me and I wrote a blog post about it. Check out my story here:

        The article is called, ‘Just Start’.


        Stephen Martile
        Personal Development with NLP

      3. Edward Mills on June 26th, 2007 8:14 am

        Steve. Welcome. The name’s Ed. I guess I need to make that bit more obvious! Great mosquito analogy. Now, whenever I catch myself repeating mistakes, I’ll hear “It’s not working skeeter!”

        Thanks, I think!

      4. Aaron M. Potts on June 26th, 2007 8:53 am


        Great point about helping the Universe to be your co-creator!

        Also, I love the distinction between telling and showing, because most people will get that instantly. Pictures speak louder than words!

        Great stuff – thanks for the lesson!

      5. Edward Mills on June 27th, 2007 10:25 am

        Aaron. You’re quite welcome. I find it a bit ironic that I was posting this entry, copping to the fact that I’ve been less than happy with the way that I’ve been pursuing some of my desires at the same time that you were posting your excellent entry asking if we are just writing or are we creating something.

        The fact that you included me in that entry as a model of someone who is creating is a good reminder that I sometimes hold myself to an unreasonably high standard.

        Thanks for the reminder and the recognition. And keep up the awesome creation you’re doing over there!

      6. Adam Kayce : Monk At Work on June 28th, 2007 5:43 pm

        Hey Ed… love this post. The clarity of ‘telling’ vs. ‘showing’ is really well put, and gives me some great ideas around the action portion of all the things I’m focusing on right now.

        And don’t be hard on yourself — like you said, you never know where the learning is going to take you…

      7. Evolving Times » The 7-Day Business Turnaround Begins Today on July 2nd, 2007 4:19 pm

        […] Mark had something new up his sleeve. Even before the launch I learned a valuable lesson about the importance of action. So you can bet that I was ready for […]

      8. Raymond on July 2nd, 2007 7:28 pm

        I really love this post.

        First, you give an example of telling and showing. Then you relate it with the law of attraction. Now, I have a clearer picture on how the LOA works.

        What an awesome analogy.

      9. Edward Mills on July 2nd, 2007 9:07 pm

        Adam: Thanks for the reminder to take it easy on myself. I tend to have pretty high expectations. Not necessarily a bad thing as long as I give myself a bit of slack when I don’t live up to those expectations.

      10. Edward Mills on July 2nd, 2007 9:09 pm

        Raymond: Welcome and thanks for joining the conversation. I’m glad that this entry has deepened your understanding of the Law of Attraction.

      11. David-Michael Cook on July 5th, 2007 7:47 am

        Beautiful. And so true… despite LoA’s inherent “weirdness” to most people, it really does seem to work this way! But what makes it so important is the actual action required–rather than merely “wanting” something. We have to always remember that LoA is not a “freebie”, nor is it a shortcut… it still requires real need (expressed in the form of potential). It’s merely a tool that, if used properly, can do incredible things.

        Great post! I’m going to have to read more of you. Just getting started in blogging myself 🙂

      12. Edward Mills on July 5th, 2007 9:03 pm

        David-Michael: Welcome! I’m glad that you’ve joined the conversation. You’re absolutely right that the LoA is not a freebie and it’s most definitely not a shortcut! But it definitely can empower the creation of brilliant things.

      13. Chad on July 8th, 2007 10:26 pm

        The content of this article was very unique, in particular seeing the universe as a “co-creator” in one’s life. I took this to mean that our reality is largely influenced by our our perception of different elements in our surrounding environment.

        You furthermore integrate this into ways of writing effectively, using the knowledge to your advantage. Excellent.

      14. Edward Mills on July 9th, 2007 12:25 pm

        Chad: Welcome to Evolving Times and thanks for joining the conversation! You’ve got it…

        For a light-hearted, but informative look at how our perception informs our reality, check out this post:

      15. Evolving Times » Law of Attraction Carnival #22: Action! on July 10th, 2007 5:09 pm

        […] from the truth. Action is what manifests your desires. Without action there is no attraction. I learned that lesson… AGAIN a few weeks […]

      16. Evolving Times » When In Doubt Do Something on August 3rd, 2007 10:31 am

        […] written before about the importance of Action in the Law of Attraction. But because we talk so much about Inspired Action many people […]

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