Starting is hard work.
I mean really hard.
And I don’t mean “starting a million-dollar startup” is hard, or “starting a best-selling book” is hard…I mean STARTING is hard.
The act of starting – of initiating a project on your own accord, with the expectation to finish, that no one told you to start, with no map to follow – is HARD.
It’s hard because it means, by its very nature, that we lead.
And when we lead, we can’t hide behind the boss or coworkers. You’re in front and people are watching.
It’s hard because it means we need to figure out where to go.
Choosing a direction isn’t easy.
What if you choose the wrong path (and never get there)? What if there’s a faster way to get to your destination and you waste days (or months, or years)? What if you put it all on the line for years and the destination isn’t what you expected?
That’s on you.
It’s hard because it means we have to figure out why we’re doing it.
In the beginning, “just because” works.
After months of travel, when you’ve experienced setbacks, injury, and loss – when the fatigue sets in to cloud your judgment – and the break in the jungle isn’t a quiet river but a monstrous ravine with an abyss below and nothing but more jungle beyond…
“Just because” doesn’t work so well.
It’s hard because it means we have total control (and therefore, complete responsibility).
Where will you go? What will you do? How will you get there? Who will you bring?
When you decide to instigate, the success and failure of your project is firmly in your hands. You decide the direction, the gear, and the company you bring. You set the pace, manage the resources, and decide the path.
If you succeed, good work. If you fail (or worse, let your team fail) that’s on you – no one else.
It’s hard because it means we need to make a conscious choice to do something that other people aren’t doing.
Going against the grain is not a survival mechanism. Society only exists because people follow, stick close together, and don’t stray from the pack.
When you instigate, you’re literally fighting thousands of years of biology. When you initiate, you’re fighting your very nature down to the molecular level of your being.
You think war is hell? Try starting something.
It’s hard because you wouldn’t be doing it if you didn’t care.
And when you care, and you instigate, and you put yourself out there, you expose yourself to criticism.
And how many great things fail before they even start because of that most insidious critic of all (the one in our heads)?
Do me a favor: start something today.
And if that voice starts to creep in to let you know it’s just a pipe dream, or it can’t happen, or you must be mad to try something so bold or unreasonable, remember this:
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” – George Bernard Shaw
Progress depends on it.
p.s. please leave a comment below and tell me what you’ve started in the last 1 to 3 weeks. If you haven’t started anything yet, what do you plan on starting in the next three weeks?
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