It Feels Impossible Until You do it!!

Feb 5, 2010 by

I just finished listening to an hour long podcast on The Third Tribe between Johnny Truant and Sonia Simone about what it’s like to get started in business and more specifically, how to make money online with little to no knowledge or resources.

About a third of the way through the session, something occurred to me:  with almost everything new, the hardest part is getting started.

I routinely give advice about blogging.  I’ve encountered numerous people who want to start a blog, or a business, or take up a new activity, or any number of challenging courses of action about which they know next to nothing about.

But the path to taking action is filled with self imposed roadblocks.  In an attempt to educate themselves about whatever it is they’re considering, too much information can be a destroyer of dreams.  With Information Overload, there’s a cycle that occurs.  Enthusiasm becomes overpowered by intimidation, which in turn causes petrification, leading to apprehension and ultimately ends with inaction.  In other words, the task seems so daunting that the first step is never taken.

How many times have you thought about starting a blog, or learning to roller-blade, or taking a cooking class?  Why haven’t you done it yet?

The reality of the whole situation is this:  you absolutely know one thing, and that one thing is enough to get you started in literally any challenge you wish to undertake.  And, it isn’t nearly as mysterious as it may seem.  That one thing is the fact that you know that you want to do it.

The problem is, society as a whole discourages risk-taking inherently.  We’re acutely aware of the direst consequences before we do anything that is off the beaten path.  Tell 10 people about your unique idea that is radical and daring, and six of them will tell you you’re nuts, three more won’t say anything out loud but they’ll secretly believe that you’re nuts, and only one out of those 10 people might offer encouragement.  We’ve become conditioned to choose the path of least resistance.  Play if safe and you’ll never have to worry.  We’re taught that the path to security lies in working hard through the best years of our lives; living within the means we’re able to secure while we try to save in order to survive after we’ve no more good years left to sell.

There’s something you have the desire to do, but you’re not doing it.  Why?  Don’t have the time?  The money?  Are you afraid of what will happen if you break from the status quo?  Tim Ferriss of The 4-Hour Workweek fame advises us to ask the simple question: “What’s the WORST thing that can happen?”

I once heard a motivational speaker hypothesize that the worst case scenario, as you’ve defined it in your mind, never has more than a 3-5% chance of actually coming to fruition.  Why is this?  Because things are usually not as bad as they seem.  While the risk of losing money or resources is legitimate, there’s a greater element at play.  Time is the only finite resource you have.  Money, influence and people are ALL renewable resources.  But the amount of time you have is limited, and you never know how much more of it you have remaining.  So the question is this:  Consider the time you spend doing something safe in return for whatever compensation you receive for doing so.  Is it possible that the risk of wasting your time is a much greater threat to your happiness than what you gain for do so justifies?

“It’s better to regret something you did, than something you didn’t do.”

6 Comments

  1. I totally agree, Mike! One of our members shared a quote with me the other day that knocked me out. “If you can move it an inch, you can move it a mile.”

    Getting started is so much harder than keeping going.

  2. ayo

    hi mike,
    how are you?
    loved this post.
    can i add to this from my experience;
    it feels impossible until you do it and once you’ve done it, you build confidence, gain knowledge, derive satisfaction, find fulfilment and is ready to take the next step bearing in mind several hurdles to be scaled.
    take care

  3. Mike, I love it! This line especially struck a chord with me, “With Information Overload, there’s a cycle that occurs. Enthusiasm becomes overpowered by intimidation, which in turn causes petrification, leading to apprehension and ultimately ends with inaction.”

    This may be my ego speaking, but I feel like your post here is an indirect response to my “Mindful Risk-Taking” article that you commented on. Could it be that I had some influence in your discussion about risk-taking?

    Either way, the value of this post is something I will take with me. I think you brought up some really crucial points, and I am glad that you sided with me on the risk debate…our time on this earth is too limited and precious to worry about all the things we can’t do.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Hey Guys,

    Thanks for the comments. Steven, yeah I guess your post was somewhere in my head when I wrote that – it was largely inspired by the seminar I was listening to at the time on thirdtribemarketing.com. My premise isn’t necessarily as much about risk-taking as it is about the paralysis of inaction as a whole.

    MJ

  5. Man, I felt like you were writing this directly to me. I’ve been paralyzed for so long it felt nice and comfortable, like a cocoon, but it’s time to emerge. Okay, sorry for the butterfly metaphor. 🙂

    Joining the Third Tribe group set off a huge panic attack. I had to run away for a couple of weeks before deciding to dip my toe back in to decide whether to cancel or not. I just found your link in the forums, and I’m glad I did. Found a lot of other encouraging support there too, and I’ll stick around, but this really speaks to me. Thank you.

  6. LaVonne,

    Thank you for the kind words. Good luck and stay in touch.

    Mike