When I was in school, we were taught an Urdu saying 'Ye Dunia Makafaat-e-amal hai'
The proverb literally means' The world is a consequence of your actions'
Like all school children who read fancy proverbs I remembered only the wording of the proverb. It wasn't after 3 decades that I finally understood the fundamental principle on which the world works: Action
Even before morality or productivity or efficiency, there is action. There is no ripple unless there is a drop. What the ripple is? How far it goes? That matters later.
No matter where you look, whether it is the self-help industry, the productivity hack industry, the dating industry, you break down their advice and the crux comes out to be action.
You want to be a writer? It doesn't matter if you have a the next 'War and Peace' in your head unless you put it down on paper. When you do it you will see it is nothing close to what you had it in your head. Act
You want to date someone? Better put your chin up and ask them. It doesn't matter how or what or where, these questions come after. It doesn't matter what thoughts you conjure up in your head. Act
You want to be rich? Start by putting any idea into reality. It does not matter if your idea is as valuable as the next iPhone unless you start putting it down into practice. It doesn't matter how, not at least in the start. Act
During my work, I'd often get paralyzed if got a new task. I'd stay frozen, squirm around the task. Try to find the best (or most efficient) way to do it. But eventually I just realized that results only mattered if I started to do something. Anything. The smallest possible thing that I can do, I would do. Then observe, improve on it and then iterate. Because we humans are much better at 'improving' rather than 'creating'. Which is why a good writing advice is to write a draft and finish it, no matter how bad it might be. Once its done, you can rewrite it again and again and again.
This paralysis or the inability to do something unless you find the 'right way' is a unique problem for humans, because since we are conscious we have a conception of the past and the future. No other animals plan their meals or their migrations, they have instincts that guide them or tell them what to do and how to do it. But because we developed our brains (specifically our prefrontal cortex's) , our thoughts became powerful. Quite often we take as much pleasure or pain from our thoughts than from the reality of what is happening.
But the fundamental rule of reality does not bend or change. Actions have consequences, but for there to be consequences there has to be actions. We get paralyzed because we don't trust the action, we jump ahead straight to the result in our thoughts. Not knowing that the action in itself is a teacher.
And I think that is the fundamental gift that we are given as human beings, the ability to take a thought and then take action.
That I can think of opening a door and then open the door. Regardless of whether it is determined or my own freewill. It does not change the rule, action matters.
And this is exactly the reason why mental health is so critical for the well-being of a human being, because its robs you of your ability to take action. The thoughts inside the head before so monstrous that they start shaping a future where your actions don't matter and hence you lose your interest in everything.
But actions matter, actions generate consequences, at a smallest level to the highest level. You create a ripple, even if you cannot see it.
If you could see it, if you were a god then you would know the consequences of smallest of actions, beyond your self, out stretching into the world.