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.