Right Angles finale: Add “RADICAL Action” to your life

James Kellogg
James Kellogg

This is my last Right Angles column. I’m appreciative that my voice has been included in the Post Independent for the past seven years. Now it’s time to move forward with new endeavors that are part of my passion and purpose.

In parting, I want to share the approach I’ve developed to visualize and fulfill purpose. I call it “RADICAL Action.” In the United States, we all have freedom of choice and action. Nobody can stop you from pursuing your calling. I encourage you to add RADICAL Action to your life.

As a noun, “radical” means a root part, a basic principle or a foundation. When used as an adjective, “radical” refers to something fundamental that proceeds from the root with considerable departure from the usual. A definition of “action” is: the accomplishment of a thing, usually over a period of time. In essence, “RADICAL Action” is a fundamental and profound process that occurs incrementally due to purposeful and consistent action. The acronym “RADICAL” defines seven steps for principled action.

RADICAL Action begins with “R” for “Reflection.” The late Dr. Stephen Covey noted, “Humans are endowed with self-awareness, conscience, independent will and imagination. These give us the ultimate freedom … the power to choose, to respond, to change.” As a free and prosperous people, we have the means to address human issues beyond our own everyday needs. What were you put on this earth to do? How will you be remembered? Decide what you will change in your life and your community.

The next step is “Affirmation.” Increasingly, our society has delegated leadership and responsibility to government and settled for complacency. This irresponsible behavior is costing our liberty and prosperity. Our problems, and the solutions, lie within ourselves. You are in charge of your life, so take responsibility for making a positive impact. Constantly affirm your purpose and you will develop a hunger to make it a reality.

“Affirmation” is followed by “Definition.” With your purpose in mind, you must define principle-centered goals and a plan to attain them. Without specific goals and a timeline, your dream of fulfilling a purpose is only a fantasy. The Second Law of Thermodynamics says the universe spontaneously reconfigures to increase entropy (i.e., disorder) and minimize potentials. That applies to your potential, too. You will not reach your potential until you define it and a plan to attain it.

Next comes “Initiation” of the plan. It takes action to fulfill your RADICAL purpose. Too many Americans are reactive, failing to plan or act. The American spirit festers when government dependency suppresses responsible action of citizens. Failure to exercise the responsibility of freedom can only lead to cultural decay and death. It’s critical to move out of our comfort zones and cast fear aside. We must prioritize our lives to carry out our plans of action.

We must “Cultivate” our success through commitment. Our nation was founded by resolute people of faith who persevered, despite seemingly insurmountable odds. A plan of action launches a person on a trajectory toward success, but life continually knocks each of us off course. Be resolved to making constant course corrections. Remember, “goals are etched in stone, but plans are drawn in sand.” Every challenge we successfully confront cultivates faith and confidence.

The second “A” is for “Appreciation.” An attitude of gratitude is vital. We must each appreciate our journey and the fruits of our labor. The Declaration of Independence asserts that all people are endowed by God with “unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Take time to appreciate your relationships, talents, opportunities and circumstances. Savor your blessings and you will become happier. Happiness is the true catalyst of success.

The final RADICAL Action component is “Leading.” True leadership always begins from the inside and moves outward. Inside-out thinking begins with self-examination and self-understanding. Meeting self-expectations must precede setting expectations for others. As you accomplish goals and fulfill purpose, lead others who are learning to do the same. By learning to reflect, affirm, define, initiate, cultivate and appreciate, you will develop the skills of an effective leader.

Our nation’s founders valued the divine gift of free will to choose personal responsibility over dependency. Don’t delegate your freedom or surrender your purpose to anyone, including government. Reflect on your life’s purpose, affirm your dreams and goals, and define your plan to make them reality. Initiate your plan of action, cultivate success through commitment, and appreciate the people and progress in your life. Learn to lead from the inside-out. God bless you in a life of RADICAL Action!

James D. Kellogg is an engineering consultant, author, and business system advocate. He is the founder of and the author of “Radical Action: A Colt Kelley Thriller.” Look for the novel on and visit or email

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