Monday, July 9, 2012

We Have To Start

As a writer, there is nothing quite as frustrating as having a blank page and not knowing what to write. The cursor mocks you, just sitting there and blinking over and over again, but not contributing to the words that take up the space. The longer you sit without writing, the harder it gets to actually start.

I see our lives like this. We know there are things we want to do, but getting started is the hardest part. Making that one choice, doing that one thing to get the ball rolling helps us pick up momentum and pushes us forward. Newton's first law shows that a body at rest tends to stay at rest unless an outside force acts upon it. In life, we are the outside force. We have to start the process to get moving, otherwise we are going to continue to sit and only think about the things we want to do.

Why is getting started so difficult? Each of us has our own answer to this question, but for many, the answer lies in either being afraid of what will happen once we start moving or being unsure of what we actually want. Once we act and start moving down an uncharted path (at least for us) we can't see what is ahead. We know what we would like to happen, but we are unable to see if it will. This makes starting scary. Some people hesitate very little before starting, but others hesitate for so long they lose all courage to actually start.

Not only is starting scary because of this, but rarely do we know exactly what we want. We think we do, but we aren't sure. Instead of going after what we think we want, we look deeper and deeper inside, constantly questioning if this is the right thing to do. We see other people doing great things and wonder if we would be happy doing them too. We look at our own lives and come up with excuses on why it wouldn't work or figure out ways to convince ourselves that it isn't what we actually want. Staying at rest is much easier than summoning the courage to start. We don't want to step out of our comfort zone, but the great things are rarely found when we are comfortable.

How do we get better at starting? We have to force ourselves to start more. We have to sit down and just start writing and get the words on paper. We have to force ourselves to have the difficult conversation with a boss or loved one. We have to buy the plane ticket. We have to apply for the job we really want. We have to step out of our comfort zone and see what happens. Sometimes we are not going to get what we want, but even when this happens, we learn more about who we are and what we are capable of doing. We have to start.

It's going to be difficult. It's going to be scary. We are going to be unsure. We are going to want to hesitate. We are going to want to think about it more. We are going to want to make sure we are positive that this is what we want. All of this is okay to feel and think, but we can't let it stop us from doing. We have to throw caution to the wind and start. It's much easier to make adjustments as we are moving. The goal is to keep pushing forward, to keep doing, to keep being that outside force not letting our body stay at rest. We have to start.

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