Action, Action and More Action Leads to Career Success

I’m not a big one for jargon, so when I received this guest post from Raine Parker on Hedonic Treadmill Theory, I was tempted to ignore it.  However, it actually contains some great career advice about how to create your life and career success by conquering your fears by taking action. 

I devoted four tweets in my latest career success book Success Tweets to action.  Tweet 48 sums up my thoughts on action.  “Procrastination is the physical manifestation of fear and is a confidence killer.  Act: especially when you’re afraid.”

Raine Parker says that Hedonic Treadmill Theory can help you overcome procrastination and take actions that can help you create the life and career success you want and deserve.  Check it out…

Understanding Hedonic Treadmill Theory for Career Success

Recently, Bud Bilanch the Career Success Coach, posted an article describing different types of fear and how we can overcome these hesitation demons to take action and go for what we want.

Personally, I’ve battled with fear constantly in my career decisions. And I still do. While it is a very normal part of being human, fear can have an incredibly insidious effect on your future career success.

The biggest and perhaps most common fear that has plagued me is fear of making the wrong decision. Before, whenever I’ve pondered any decision, whether it’s personal or professional, I would vacillate for days, weeks, even months. Even trips to the grocery store became exercises in tortured indecision.

Then I read about the theory of the hedonic treadmill, also known as hedonic adaptation. Understanding the implications of this theory practically cleared my indecision-itis overnight.

Hedonic treadmill theory asserts that despite negative or positive changes in our lives, no matter how drastic, our overall level of satisfaction stays constant throughout our lives.

In other words, a positive change will cause a momentary jump in our happiness, but we eventually adapt and return to our previous neutral mood state. The same thing goes for negative changes. No matter how bad things get, we will adjust. Although research still continues on the topic, scientists agree that happiness is mostly determined by our natural temperaments, and external factors have a minimal, short-lived impact on our overall well-being.

This theory has astounding implications for career success. Many of us go through life feeling stuck fearing change because of our innate trepidation about the future. We wonder if applying for a new job bring us happiness? Will moving to a new city, relocating and disrupting our lives in the process, be worth it?

According to hedonic adaptation no matter what decision we make, the risk is minimal. If it’s the “right” decision, then we’ll experience an increase in happiness, after which we will return to our normal selves. If it’s the wrong decision, things may be unpleasant for a little while, but our happiness dials will balance out.

One more conclusion I’ve drawn from hedonic treadmill theory is that constantly striving for changes, trying new things by stepping out of our imprisoning comfort zones, is what drives overall satisfaction.

If this is the case, career success becomes not an end goal, but a process that goes forward only if we act. Action is everything. I know you’ve heard this before.  But now, science has proven the age-old saying–you literally have nothing to lose.

Raine makes some interesting career success points here.  Fear is a great confidence and career success killer.  Tweet 47 in Success Tweets says, “Act.  Feel the fear and do it anyway.  That’s the definition of courage, and a great way to build your self confidence and career success.”

Elbert Hubbard, the author of “A Message to Garcia”  ( one of the best essays on personal responsibility ever written, makes a great point about facing your fears and taking action.

“The greatest mistake you can make is continually fearing that you will make one.”

Read that again.  Those 14 words are powerful!  They are some fundamental career advice.

If you let your fear of making a mistake stop you from taking action, you will never take any action and your fear will ruin your life and any chance of creating the career success you want and deserve.

In 1988 I was ready to start my career success coach and speaking business.  I was afraid.  I was worried that I wouldn’t succeed.   I had always worked for large companies.   I wasn’t sure I knew exactly what to do to run a successful career success coach business.  Nevertheless, I looked my fear in the eye, quit my job and moved forward.  Over 20 years later, I’m still at it.  My fears were unfounded – but they were real.  I’m glad I faced them and acted.

Fear is persistent.  It doesn’t go away.  It will wait for one of your weak moments and then it will strike.  If you let it get the best of you, you’ll never move forward and create true career success.
Fear most often manifests itself in procrastination.  When I find myself procrastinating, I always ask myself, “What are you afraid of here, Bud?”  Identifying what I fear always help me defeat it.  Once I identify what I am afraid of, I can take positive steps to move forward through my fear and on to my career success.

Make a list of your doubts and fears.  Decide what you can do to overcome them.  Then act.  Take at least one positive action – not matter how small — every day to overcome your doubts and fears.  Even if these actions don’t work out as well as you hope, you will be on the road to overcoming your fears and creating the life and career success you want and deserve.

Remember procrastination feeds fear; and action cures it.  The choice is up to you.  I choose action.  My best career advice says you should too.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple.  Successful people are self confident.   Self confident people don’t let their fears get in the way of their career success.  They follow the career advice in Tweet 47 in Success Tweets.  “Act.  Feel the fear and do it anyways.  That’s the definition of courage, and a great way to build your self confidence.”  Identify your fears, and then do what you need to do to move past them.  Action is the great antidote to fear.  It puts inertia on your side.  Once you are moving forward, you are likely to continue moving forward.  It’s the first step that is the hardest – and scariest.  The simple common sense career success advice on fear is simple.  If you want to beat your fears, you need to take the first step — act, and then keep on going.

That’s my take on dealing with your fears and the career advice embodied in Hedonic Treadmill Theory as explained by Raine Parker who writes on topics associated with online accounting degrees.  If you want to get in touch with her to discuss Hedonic Treadmill Theory send her an email at  What’s your take on fear andor Hedonic Treadmill Theory?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my musings on life and career success. 


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