Is ‘What’ Stopping you from Making a Start?

The only thing that counts when it comes to doing that thing you’ve been wanting or meaning to do, is to start. ‘That’ is much more important than ‘what’. If you want to be a writer then what you write about is not nearly as important as THAT you write. If you want to make music then what you play is secondary to the fact THAT you play. If you want to be a photographer then please, take some photos! Just start.

It might sound stupid and obvious but for most of us it’s not. We can get so hung up on what people will think of the content of the thing that we do, that we never even do the thing in the first place.

The other day I clicked on a link to an article by a friend that had been published on a pretty big internationally reaching website. I questioned a fair bit of what was written. But what I realised was that it didn’t matter. My over-riding thought was ‘fair play, you managed to land a great writing gig there’ and I felt a huge wave of respect wash over me for the fact that he had pinned his balls to the wall and gone for it. It didn’t matter what he wrote (and that I didn’t agree), what mattered was THAT he wrote. He made a start, and then he carried on.

This is the same for so many things. We can be so safely theoretical (and critical), and live our lives outside of the experiences that are waiting for us to enjoy them.

1. I should get some exercise

Do it then. Walk around the block now. Run if you’re in a rush. This blog post will still be here when you get back. You don’t need the perfect gym, official outfit, latest workout anthems. Walk in your jeans and coat and we’ll go from there.

2. I should help the homeless, poor and vulnerable

Do it then. Don’t spend time researching what you should and shouldn’t do. Next time your heart is broken by the sight of a stranger go and ‘be you’ with them. Go and say hello. Don’t worry about ‘doing’ anything, or messing up. Just be. You’ll work out what you would do. The rest will take care of itself. Just start.

You will realise that everyone has a unique story to tell and everyone else is available to have a place in that story.

3. I’d love to do what you do

Do it then. I was speaking to a friend a few weeks back who gets this one a lot too, and we shared our frustrations. Both of us live and work in ways beyond the traditional 9-5 paradigm, which can be scary, unpredictable and a little bit close to the edge at times. But it is also liberating, exciting and brings space for ridiculous opportunities. We wouldn’t change it for the world.

If you want to change the way you live, your priorities and your day to day structure, you generally have the power to do so. It just takes some sacrifices. How important is money to you? Make it YOUR slave and you can do amazing things.

4. Imagine what it must be like to be him

I can’t. You can’t. You are imagining what it would be like to be you with his stuff. Imagine what it would be like to be YOU, and then do it the very best you can. You’ll be amazed at how fun it is. But you’ve got to accept yourself first and not dream of being them. Start being you.


5. I’m not as good as them

People get good, they aren’t just good. According to Malcolm Gladwell, the key to success is the 10,000 hour rule – most successful people have put in 10,000 hours of practice to get to where they get to. No wonder you’re not as good as them… What are you doing with your hours? That’s about a solid year and a half. It’s time we all have.

And remember, every person you’re not as good as is thinking the same thing about someone else. Use them to be inspired, not to be deflated and defeated. Do it. Crack on. Start now.

Over to You:

Is there something you want to do but get distracted by the methods, the hows and the rules? Do you have a way of breaking through that or are you still at the stage where you are waiting to start? Please do share your answers in the comments below, don’t worry about what you’re going to say, just say something! You never know, you might well inspire someone else with exactly what they need to hear.

  1. Good article Andy. I think the biggest hindrance to me achieving what I want is time management and ill-discipline. Add up the hours I’ve spent on Amazon or Youtube instead of writing and recording, reading BBC News articles instead of getting college work wrapped up and it soon becomes clear there’s a lot of wasted time right there. Even more frustrating is that that’s time that could be spent with the children, being outdoors, getting inspiration from the genuine artistic creativity of others, and so on.

    I’m starting to make peace with the ‘I’m not as good as them’ thing. Seeing someone better than you at work can either a) spur you on to better things or b) cripple you and make you want to give up. More and more now I lean towards ‘a)’ – letting the talent of others inspire you – not to copy or want to be like them, but to do your best at what you do. Cheers for the ideas. Now for that walk…

    1. Thanks, Ewan. Yeah I know that feeling. I’m really trying to be a lot more intentional with my time in that sense now because I’m desperate to create freedom to hangout with other people, read for pleasure, be a decent friend/family member. But it’s just so hard to shift thinking because I’m so easily distractable and so prone to the ‘i have more important things I need to be doing’ mindset that can make me not very ‘present’ in social situations.

      Yeah, that’s good. Another one I’m trying – when I feel myself looking at others with a spot of the green eye monster I pull myself up on it (when I realise at least). Hope the walk was good!

  2. I keep trying to make a start at some kind of meditation discipline. I think it would be beneficial to be able stop taking on noise and information and clear the head but I never seem to be able to sit still and do it other than when I go for a long walk. It seems like we’re always referring to phones and computers and televisions for stimulation, info or the time. Anybody else?

    1. Yeah absolutely with you. It’s really hard to find the right time and place for that kind of thing. I always feel like there’s something else I need to be doing. I try and take a few minutes each morning when I get up, before I start writing, just to sit and be still. It makes such a difference to my whole day when I manage it. Just find an inner peace and a better, more open approach to life when I manage to force myself to do it.

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