Sometimes wondering where to begin is worse than beginning. It’s like staring at a blank page, but a little bit different. When you look at a blank page you know the next step. Creation must occur to fill that white space with something. But, what about those other situations where you know an action must occur, but are unsure what that action is?
I’ve felt the weight of starting on many occasions. The task makes you so exhausted you want to shrug, look away, and distract yourself, maybe in a bit of t.v., maybe by eating some food, or maybe by just going to bed. But, if the problem is a good one, a challenge worth pursuing, your tension with taking action will return. Good objectives have a way of reminding you that they exist, at least for a bit. If you ignore them long enough, like any one else, they will just disappear from your life and you will never know what you missed out on.
On the other side, if you confront the hard task of starting you will find yourself facing a unique form of desperation. On the surface, you will be driven to believe that too many possibilities exist, but deep down, on a level that you fear even admitting to yourself, what stops you from acting is the thought that you cannot pull this off. This thought leaves you standing motionless, yearning to act, but bewildered in to paralysis by the self-knowledge that you are not 100% confident you can do this.
Failure to Motivate
We cannot decide how to start because we worry we are not good enough to start. Who am I to dream? Who am I to dare?
Who are you not to?
So many people succumb to the gnawing thoughts of doubt, and listen to the voice inside their head that tells them to “pass on this opportunity.” They cannot motivate themselves to act. That voice, that inner monologue, comes from a place of ancient history where taking chances meant enduring great pain and possible death. While death is often not imminent in most of the things you will take a chance at starting, the feeling of putting everything on the line is no less frightening.
In starting you must confront one very large question – “What if I fail?” You must find the stomach to be okay with failure, as failure is nothing more than an action that did not turn out the way you expected it would. Facing failure, however; takes a heaping amount of courage at the beginning. Our culture does not like failure. We hate it. Just as much as old age, and, when you get right down to it, old age is just another form of failure, of the body as you age.
The thing about failure is that there is failure on a micro level and failure on a macro level. Micro failures happen all the time. Those are the little things – the business you start that doesn’t work out, the relationship that collapses in on itself, the rift you create with a best friend. The macro is the guy living out in the woods searching for big foot. The macro failure is the giving up on life, cashing in your chips, calling your life over and retreating with resignation to whatever mindless pursuit and escape passes the time until you die. You can fail in the micro many times and still succeed in the macro if you understand that small failures don’t make your life a failure. What makes your life a failure is believing that a small failure, the micro, determines your life as being a failure or success.
How to Find Motivation
When you find the courage to start, what you learn is that the beginning of anything outside your comfort zone is a lot like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. That is the trouble with starting. After you open that box and dump the 500 pieces on the table, you start by finding all the corner and edge pieces, because those are easy. When you have the outside edge done you work your way inside, putting together the parts that make sense, and as you invest more time and energy in to the thing you start seeing the big picture. Many times you pick up the wrong piece, curse and believe without a doubt that a certain piece goes in a certain spot. But, you are wrong. You make many mistakes. Yet, you still complete the puzzle. What was once 500 individual pieces which you had no clue how to put together is now a completed image. You succeeded because you started with what you knew.
Starting anything new is like that. New represents something outside of your scope of understanding and normal patterns of behavior. You are not going to have all the answers. But, you don’t need them. Focus on what you know. Start there. Expand as you go, and eventually the whole picture will take shape.
Ultimately, those who fail to start just do not have the courage to try. They would rather keep a perfect record in life, devoid of any failure, than take a chance. The trouble with starting is that we never begin. That is the simple truth. So, what will you begin today?