You know how sometimes you’re not really in the mood to do something until it starts and suddenly it’s great and you’re glad you pushed yourself?
- the meet-up you didn’t want to attend but ended up enjoying and even offering to help organize the next one
- the workout session that took all your willpower to begin but left you feeling more energized in the end
- the healthy recipe you tried to humor your best friend that helped spark ideas on how you can improve your own diet
The thing is, we never really know how we will feel when we do something until we actually do it, and this gap in knowledge oftentimes gets in the way of our progress, especially if it’s something new, or something difficult.
Because we’re afraid that we won’t like it, or that we will fail in our execution, we tend to overwhelm ourselves with questions and conditions, trying to figure everything out beforehand and guarantee that we will succeed before we even start.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit at home and think about it. Get out and get busy.” — Dale Carnegie
The only way to get the answers you seek, to know for sure if the idea you have is worth trying, is by actually trying it. If you can get yourself to start executing, you will naturally create momentum, which will move you forward and into completion.
The more you do something, the less afraid you are of it, the more expertise you’ll gain along the way, and ultimately, this expertise will help you make connections, have new ideas, and come up with innovative ways of solving the problems you face, also known as inspiration!
Your only responsibility is to get the ball rolling
No matter how daunting the task at hand, no matter how big the goal and no matter how unmotivated you feel, if you can figure out how to start, you’ll figure out how to finish.
Here are two principles you can apply to this end.
- Make it really easy to start: Break your goal down into the tiniest task you can accomplish, and then focus on that, rather than the bigger picture. For instance, you don’t need to know exactly which books you’ll have to read, to enroll in that course you’ve always been curious about. All you need to worry about is getting yourself into that class and when you do, you’ll probably find someone willing to show you around.
- Expect to fail: Because fear of failure is often the biggest obstacle to starting, you can choose to embrace it instead. Realistically, if you’re doing something for the first time, you’ll probably either fail completely or perform terribly at it anyway. Working with this knowledge, you’ll free your mind up from the pressure of having to be excellent on your first try, and instead open yourself up to curiosity and experimentation.
Challenge yourself to create the shortest, most horrible rough draft of whatever situation you’re trying to achieve, then build up from there and before you know it, you’ll have your masterpiece.
In the spirit of the famous Nike slogan, just do it!