If You Want a Better Outcome, Take Better Actions

There's only so much you can control, but it's how you act that usually determines your circumstances.

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By Matthew Toren

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It's great to have aspirations, but it's crucial to take great actions. If you want to have a better outcome in some area of life or business, guess what? You will have to hold yourself accountable to take greater actions.

As Einstein said, "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

Related: There Is No Magic Formula for Small-Business Success -- Only This

Instead of focusing solely on wishing for a better outcome, concentrate your efforts on a plan for taking better actions. Here are three ways to do that.

1. Change the way you respond to situations. Perhaps the most powerful thing you can do as an entrepreneur is deciding here and now that you are responsible for yourself. Your past isn't responsible for you. Events aren't responsible for you. Only you can claim total responsibility for what you choose to do.

By changing the way you look at and approach situations, you'll already be in a better place for taking action. You can decide to choose an empowering action.

Jack Canfield, the author and business force behind the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, has said, "You only have control over three things in your life -- the thoughts you think, the images you visualize and the actions you take. How you use these three things determines everything you experience."

When something bad happens, you can see it as bad and make it worse with poor actions or inaction. Conversely, you can choose to see what needs to be done to start transforming something bad into a new opportunity. You always have a choice.

2. Stop saying "should." When the word "should" starts to pop up in your vocabulary -- watch out. Treat it like a siren and stop the minute you hear yourself say it. Odds are good that something is either going astray or is about to go astray.

Related: The 6 Words That Are Holding You Back

Every time you say "should," you're either saying it about something that needs to be done but you're copping out of, or you're saying it about someone else's behavior or external events, in which case you're making someone else responsible for you.

"I should go to the gym, but I'm too tired." Red flag. You are skipping the gym and giving yourself an excuse to not take a better action that will lead to a better outcome, in this case, a better, healthier you.

"He should be here and start handling more work." Again, you're not taking an empowered action. You're complaining about someone's behavior and making them responsible for your poor outcome. If you're right and they do need to be working more, you need to talk to the person about what's excepted of them, not complaining about the behavior he should be exhibiting.

Shoulds are the way you know you aren't taking accountability.

3. Focus on your mission. What is the drive behind everything you do? Not just in entrepreneurship, but in life? Why are you here?

Ever notice that the entrepreneurs who make it are the ones who are deeply passionate about their mission in life? You take better action when you're clear about your mission. Focusing just on action doesn't necessarily lead you to a positive outcome -- it could just lead you in circles spinning your wheels.

Be clear about why you do what you do and then the actions you take will become incredibly powerful. It makes life clearer. It makes actions more direct and even though no less difficult, in some strange way they seem easier because you are focused on the mission.

Related: How You Give Back Provides Purpose to Your Personal Brand

Matthew Toren

Serial Entrepreneur, Mentor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.

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