People are constantly doing things, but usually only when they have to, under fire from themselves or others. They get no sense of winning or being in control or of cooperating amongst themselves or their world. People are starving for those experiences. The daily behaviors that define the things that are incomplete and the moves that are needed to complete them, must change. Getting things going of your own accord before your forced to by external pressure and internal stress builds a firm foundation of self worth that will spread into every aspect of your life. You are the captain of your own ship, the more you act from that perspective, the better things will go for you. Asking “what’s the next action?” undermines the victim mentality. It presupposes that there is a possibility of change, and that there is something you can do to make it happen. That is the assumed affirmation in the behavior. And these kind of assumed affirmations often work more fundamentally to build a positive self image than can repeating, “I am a power effective person that can make things happen,” a thousand times. Is there too much complaining in your culture? The next time someone moans about something try asking, “so what’s the next action?” People will complain only about something they assume can be better than it currently is. The action question forces the issue. If it can be changed, there is some action that will change it. If it can’t it must be considered part of the landscape to be incorporated into the strategy and tactics. Complaining is a sign that someone isn’t willing to risk moving on a changeable situation, or won’t consider the immutable circumstance in his or her plans. This is a temporary and hollow form of self-validation.
David Allen from, Getting Things Done.
Read this book.