Why getting started is your biggest obstacle
Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something. Unless you live so cautiously, that you might as well not have lived at all. In which case, you’ve failed by default. -JK Rowling
“Where do I start?”
It’s the question that everyone with writer’s block faces. But this idea isn’t exclusive to writing. It takes place everywhere: building a business, creating a product, learning a new skill.
The trick? Just start.
Honestly I had no idea how this post would take shape when I began typing. In fact, I went through a few different topics and iterations before finally landing here. But I started, and that’s how I’ll finish.
Simply starting to type, code, design, whatever it is that you’re doing, is so powerful because it forces your brain to think. This condition we label “writer’s block” is only a block because your thought process continues to run into a wall. You’re not embarking on any exercise that pushes your mind to go beyond its initial set of thoughts. You’ve limited yourself.
The proposition of actually starting is so daunting for many people that, in the end, they never do. It remains an interesting thought or idea they once had but never pursued. This phenomena is similar to what Paul Graham describes as the “schlep filter” in his post How to Get Startup Ideas.
In short — many people don’t go after a market opportunity simply because they think it’s too hard.
But why? What’s the point? Anything worth pursuing in life is going to require effort. Once you face that inevitable reality, the prospect of rolling up your sleeves seems less like a giant task and more like a logical next step.
Getting started creates a waterfall effect in your brain that pushes you to keep at it and follow through with your ideas. Never doing so decreases the probability that you’ll succeed. Doing so and failing, or finding out it’s not worth taking further, leaves you exactly where you were before — but you’ve learned something that you can leverage the next time you start.
The often-used quote by Wayne Gretzky is, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. It’s incredibly simple and obvious, but powerful. Yet it’s amazing how many people don’t follow it. Force yourself to take that first step. To take that shot.
For me, I brought myself to start this post. And so here I am, finishing it. What are you doing still reading? Go… Get out of here.