“Heaven never helps the one who will not act.” – Sophocles
Certainly you’ve heard of analysis paralysis – that catatonic state your mind enters into when overthinking causes complete immobilization. Perhaps you’re visiting this post now in an attempt to flee the very action that you know you must take next.
Sooner or later, you’ll reach a point where no amount of strategizing, planning, or predicting can provide the informative results that a brave first step can bring. Maybe you’re at that point right now.
If you have arrived at that daunting impasse where further analysis will only lead to diminishing returns, then allow these great thinkers (and movers!) to help push your ideas into motion.
Move toward the unknown.
“Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started.” – Austin Kleon
Fearing embarrassment for being unsure of who we are and what we want can keep us stuck in the same place for months…or years. And while self-help books are great tools for introspection and self-understanding, there’s another teacher who delivers quickly and with unforgiving clarity: Experience. You can get to know this teacher right now just by starting whatever it is you’re afraid of.
“The best time to start was last year. The second best time to start is right now.” – Seth Godin
You know that great idea for that innovative product that you wanted to patent? Well, you’re not the only in the world who’s thought of it. But you could be the first in the world to do something about it. Kicking yourself for not having started sooner is a complete waste of energy. Meanwhile, somebody else is using that energy to move their ideas forward.
Move things off your calendar.
“Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.” – Tim Ferriss
We’ve all said it at least once in our lives: “There’s just not enough time in the day!” Truth is, we make time for the things we truly care about. Consult your bank account and your calendar, they’ll tell you how your resources are being spent. Adjust accordingly.
Move like you’re already in the game.
“Given I write several thousand words each day, there’s no room for ‘pre-gaming’. The ‘game’ is the ritual.” – Maria Popova
There are countless ways you can spend your time getting ready, but none are as valuable as simply getting started. Success and failure can only teach you when you engage with the work itself – when those concepts are no longer theoretical. Make action a part of your ritual and there won’t need to be any separation between hoping and living.
Move it before it’s perfect.
“Done is better than perfect.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Those responsible for launching products, companies, and movements all know that the greatest enemy to their ideas’ success is perfectionism. There’s only so much room on the drawing board for criticism and feedback. Though most everything in our lives could benefit from improvement, successful people know when it’s time to stop fine-tuning and start delivering.
“Start close in, don’t take the second step, or the third, start with the first thing close in, the step you don’t want to take.” – David Whyte
We tend to overcomplicate our lives and our dreams by thinking too much. Sometimes, very drastic steps must be taken to alter the undesired course our lives are taking. Other times, we need only take a tiny first step toward shifting a habit or changing a perspective. Transformation can begin happening right here and now, within a very small space.
Move beyond perfection.
“People who don’t know where to start are often perfectionists. It’s an honourable problem: you’re doing nothing not because you’re lazy but because you’re very ambitious.” – The Book of Life
A lot of energy is expended in a relentless pursuit of that very elusive “perfection.” Recognize how your perfectionism is preventing you from getting started and notice that there’s strength beneath it – a great ambition to do well. If you are getting lost in perfectionism, allow yourself to consider the possibility that you are afraid. There’s nothing wrong with your fear. Feel it. Face it. And don’t allow it to masquerade as perfectionism.
Move in the struggle.
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” – Brene Brown
If you choose to act in favor of your dream, there will inevitably be struggle. Hell, life brings struggle even when you’re not chasing your dream! Making choices to avoid or numb yourself to hardship will only postpone personal progress and growth. Through vulnerability – admitting what you can and cannot do, asking for help, expressing your fears – you transform yourself into a person who others can relate with, a person who is conscious enough to see what must change.
“When the ancients said a work well begun was half done, they meant to impress the importance of always endeavoring to make a good beginning.” – Polybius
How you begin today will serve as a foundation for all the work you do in the days ahead. You are responsible for setting the pace. Ask yourself what you can handle and start conservatively. You can always ramp up the speed later on.
Move for yourself.
“Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.” – J.K. Rowling
This is your life. You can spend it living up to other people’s expectations of you, or you can begin shedding that unnecessary baggage. The exorbitant amount of time and energy you spend being concerned about what other people think is stealing the vitality from your very life. Find what it is that you love and give it all you got.