How many times have you had ideas, thoughts, or grand dreams that you never took action on. There is something to be said for having the discipline to say “No” to the majority of the flood of things that pop into your head and to focus on the few that have personal meaning for you. On the other hand, there are many things we know we should be doing, but taking that first step forward is our challenge. “Most of us have two lives. The life we live and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands resistance. Are you a writer who doesn’t write, a painter who doesn’t paint, an entrepreneur who has never started a venture? Resistance has no strength of its own, we feed it with power by our fear” -Stephen Pressfield
You can study and study and learn and learn and with all that education, if you haven’t done anything with it, it was all wasted. Get started, get started, get started… again, start, gooooo! “It is one thing to study war and another to live the warrior’s life” -Telamon of Arcadia
Those that have amassed great bodies of work didn’t do it in a single day, but that first day was critical. “Amassing a body of work is about the slow accumulation of little bits of effort over time”, Austin Kleon, “one page a day equals one book a year”.
You may say I know I have to start but I have no idea where to begin or I have never done this before… I am embarrassed, my work sucks, etc. Zig Ziglar, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great”. Here are some ideas on how to approach it:
- I really love this thought from the Director of Rounders, Brian Koppelman…”Lower your standards enough to get started on whatever you want to do but have been waiting for the perfect time/idea, etc. Then be willing to work hard enough to honestly look at what you did and do it over and over until you are pleased. Be ruthless in making it better”.
- Another idea is from James Altucher… start with good information. Break down tasks into smaller denominations, then work at it every day. Try to get 1% better every day (after one year you will be 38 times better).
For some, the biggest obstacle is their current safety net… job, money, etc
- One other path forward, although bold, is to do as Sun Tzu states in the Art of War and move to “Death Ground”… place a raging river at your back, smash your cooking pots, and burn your boats… you have nowhere to go but forward. Burn all bridges where you can escape.
- Find the intersection of what you are passionate about and what you are good at… start there (actually put your passions on the X axis and what you are good at on the Y axis and find meeting points!)
Here is a great book on the subject: