Coming home from a recent trip, I thought about bringing flowers. Wouldn’t that be nice, I thought.

I imagined the flower buying, the flower delivery, the credit in the relationship account produced by my thoughtful action.

When I finally made it off the last flight and the train ride to the transit center, I was tired. I remembered the flowers, but then decided: I’ll do that another time.

Then the other day, I thought about something I had promised to do for someone else a while back. Several times I had thought about doing it; my intentions were good. But yet, nothing happened.

Last night I got the Inbox down to 15. I was too busy to reply to the last 15 people… but it’s the thought that counts, right?

I sent money for Haiti. Later I thought about sending more, but I didn’t do it. I’m sure everyone down there appreciates how much I thought about them while I was eating my pumpkin scone and reading the news at Starbucks.

Every day I think all kinds of nice things about people, and maybe 5% of them make the transition into something I actually do.

Thinking about someone doesn’t help them.

It’s only when our thoughts translate into actions that we reach out of ourselves and impact the life of another. @chrisguillebeau (Click to Tweet!)

That’s why action is so important. If you’re not sure whether you should reach out to someone or not, the answer is probably YES. Your action may help them and it may not, but if you don’t reach out, you certainly won’t help.

You have to check in, to fulfill commitments, to do whatever. You have to do.

Not just think. Thinking doesn’t help. What you don’t do doesn’t matter.

Chris Guillebeau is the New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness of PursuitThe $100 Startup, and other books. During a lifetime of self-employment, he visited every country in the world (193 in total) before his 35th birthday. Every summer in Portland, Oregon he hosts the World Domination Summit, a gathering of creative, remarkable people. His new book, Born for This, will help you find the work you were meant to do. Connect with Chris on Twitter, on his blog, or at your choice of worldwide airline lounge.

Image courtesy of Ishan Gupta.