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It’s interesting how when we were children, the world was filled with endless possibilities. We grew up thinking – no, knowing – that someday we would be famous and rich, with the world at our feet. We weren’t sure of the steps that it would take, but somehow it would happen eventually.
Maybe it was in the form of being an astronaut flying to outer space, a revered actor starring in action flicks, or a beautiful model whose picture was in every top magazine. The world would be our oyster. Our parents supported our beliefs and nurtured them, similar to how one would believe in the Easter bunny or Santa Claus. It was harmless fun to entertain your child to believe anything was possible, after all.
Then, as we grow older, we start to realize that life isn’t like the movies. Our parents begin to tell us that it’s time to “buckle down” or to “grow up.” We encounter more and more difficulties as we compete against everyone else for the same things and face rejections. It wasn’t as simple as being scouted, or plucked from obscurity to arise to greatness.
Around us, we see that people are starting to get serious about things in their twenties, and we’re told it’s best to play things safe. It’s time to get a stable job, or a profession, so that we don’t end up like “that guy”, the guy who dabbled in one thing after another and ended up not doing anything productive with his life.
Enter the fear of failure. We used to jump blindly into things, not thinking seriously of the consequences. The thought of failure didn’t occur; after all, even if things didn’t work out, whether it was a new venture, relationship or trying something new, somehow things would work out after all the hard work and obstacles.
After awhile though, we start to get tired of trying new things. Maybe it isn’t because of the failure itself, but because of the time and the energy we’re afraid of wasting in the process. We don’t want people thinking, “Oh, there she goes again! Trying something new and falling flat.”
Isn’t it fascinating to see how different our minds worked as a child compared to when we become adults? Anytime we think about taking up a new project or trying something new, the whole thing becomes daunting because we don’t know where to begin.
You’ve probably heard of the proverb: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
I want to ask you a question: have you ever looked at someone and thought, “I could never do what he or she does”? Or look at someone and wonder how they got something done that you couldn’t?
After awhile, you might have just thrown your hands in the air and thought, “Ah! It’s impossible,” or put the blame on something outside of your control.
The truth is, there is a difference in the mindset between those who get something done, and those who don’t. Let’s say you have a brilliant idea that will earn you millions. Guess what? So do most people!
The number of people who actually take hold of the idea and have it come to fruition is less than 1%. After the initial moment of inspiration, most people shake their heads and think it’s too daunting, or that ugly thing called self-doubt begins to creep in.
Do you see where I’m going here? Most people would rather dream of embarking on a great journey, than to actually take the first step! So then what separates people who take action and succeed, and those who dream of great things, but don’t want to do anything?
The truth is, the gap between those who achieve and those who don’t isn’t as great as you think. People whose accomplishments seem out of our grasp aren’t superhuman. Do you know what it comes down to?
People who go on to be successful didn’t start off that way. They start off doing something small, and then once they achieve that milestone, they then move onto doing something bigger.
Think of when you were in grade five, and you took a peek at your older sibling’s study materials. You see the Pythagorean theorem and think to yourself, “What the heck is this?!” It seemed so daunting at the time. You could never learn to understand that. But then, you successfully complete grade five, and your knowledge of math grows a little bit more. A few years pass by, and you learn about the Pythagorean theorem and how to use it. You think to yourself that it wasn’t too bad after all, and ten years later, it’s almost laughable how easy it turned out to be.
Same thing here. Don’t just think of doing everything at once and achieving world-level mastery. Just do something small. Maybe you want to get in shape and drive by that fit woman jogging everyday. Instead of driving by and always wondering how she did it, just do something simple yourself. Try doing a few stretches and walk to begin.
Or, you want to write a book. With self-publishing available, this option has never been easier. Yet still, people resist actually going through with it because writing an entire book would be too daunting.
Just start with something simple. If you walk by something on the street or in the mall and notice something interesting relating to a topic you want to write about, jot it down.
Jot down small things and new concepts everyday and thoughts will eventually begin to flow from all the ideas and concepts floating on the page. What started off as a bunch of ideas and thoughts will start to come together.
Action Step #1
Think of something you’ve always wanted to do and jot down one thing that would guide you in that direction. It could be anything, such as home designing, teaching others a skill, or even writing and self-publishing a book. You could stick it onto the wall, or whatever works for you and helps you to get started.
Action Step #2
Set up 20 minutes in your calendar to begin your task. Hint: An easy way to get started is to do research on your interest by reading a book by someone noteable in your field of interest and taking notes.
Are you going to read this today and nod your head, thinking, “Yeah, I should do that,” or are you going to take one small step today?