Starting

Nike’s Just Do It slogan is beyond cliché but I really like that notion. Just doing something implies that it’s simpler than you think. You can stop thinking about it and just do the thing!

I know plenty of people who get stuck and can’t start. I’ve been known to get bogged down myself. It’s an awful place and I’ve been there. Here is a little technique to quell any fear and just begin.

There is something splendid about the process of just starting. No matter how awful it feels or how bad your project is, the process of starting sets things in motion. The act of starting forces your brain into a new state. Your brain transitions into the how can “I make this better” mode instead of the counterproductive anxiety based thinking that can prevent anything from even happening.

When did we become conditioned into being passive consumers? When did we accept that all we can do is buy things and be passive? Stop that and just start.

Been thinking about a new hobby, a new business, a new project? Just freaking start.

Keep this in mind when starting: NOBODY CARES. Nobody cares about your widget or your new project as much as you do. Nobody gives a rats ass about anything. Or rather, that’s a tool to keep in mind to quell the those negative thoughts in your mind that will prevent you from creating or doing.

We tend to overestimate other people’s interest in our stuff. Consider vacation photos. Nobody cares about your vacation photos as much as you do and yet we put on elaborate slideshows thinking people will actually care. To a certain extent they do care, just not as much as you think they do.

Nobody is going to judge you or think badly of you or your creation. If they do let them! They can judge you all they want it doesn’t change the fact that you’ve created something. Also if they’ve never created anything why should you care what they think anyway? If they have created anything they’ll know what that’s all about and probably be super supportive of you.

The point is, don’t get caught up in the minutia of over-thinking and just begin. Begin now.

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Counterintuitive: Fear, Run At It

Imagine you’re out in relatively shallow water in the ocean. The waves are breaking and everything is beautiful. All of a sudden there is an enormous set of waves coming in and they’ll be breaking right on you. What to do? Do you run in fear toward the shore or do you run right at the waves? If you run toward shore chances are you’ll get pummelled by the waves, if you run toward the waves you can easily just dive under them to calmer water beyond.

I’ve found this handy little analogy serves me well. It’s something I’ve been thinking about recently: running at fear.

Use that little voice in your mind that says you shouldn’t do something because you’re afraid as a guide. Don’t listen to it and simply do the opposite. Run toward what scares you at full speed and you will prosper. You will be totally alive and happy.

Whether it’s new experiences, new challenges, new opportunities, or just big risks, let your fear guide you. Fear is great, it tells you what you should be doing! It’s practically a compass.

I’m not talking about being reckless (like base jumping without a parachute or something) so don’t be an idiot. I’m talking about growing as a person. Act accordingly.

Update August 13 2012
See also: Push, push, push. Expanding your comfort zone. by Derek Sivers.