On getting started
Taking the first step on a journey is perhaps, the most challenging part.
when a train is about to start, if you put a stone below each of the wheels, the train wont start. The same train, going 60 mph can smash into a concrete wall 5 meters thick! Thats the power of momentum.
The amount of energy a space vehicle spends to get out of the gravitational orbit of the earth is much more than the energy required for the entire remaining trip!
There are so many things on your 'to do' list that you are just not being able to get started on.You're waiting for the right time, the right condition, the right resources, the right people, the right everything - before you start. And you keep planning to start. But nothing happens.
What is really happening here?
There are so many ways you try and push yourself to do things.So there is mental dialogue. "I should do this. I need to do this. Let me get motivated to do this. Yes I am motivated to do this".The other way is to do some self bashing "You better do this or else..."
This is an attempt to generate a lot of motivation to do, at a feeling level. You might even get started taking a few steps in the euphoria. But then, the entire effort fizzles. There are so many blogs that start with a lot of zest and then fizzle. Its like taking the first step with all your strength, doing a 100 meter sprint and then falling down.
The other way you cope with this procrastination is to think through the first step. You think through mentally the benefits of what will happen if your write. You try and summon up your discipline to write. You think through how will you go about writing. You try and park your emotions of laziness and resistence and go about writing. And you get started.
Yet another way is the NLP-Tony Robbins way. You associate 'massive pain' with not writing and a lot of 'pleasure' with writing. You get leverage on yourself by magnifiying your pain of not writing - running the most terrible images in your mind for not writing. You could also try to think of a time when you were actually in the 'flow' and try and recreate that feeling...
So what is the approach that works? I think the final combination of what works is this : It is a mix of ALL of these methods, customized to what works for you. Which means, you try all of these, not one at a time but together. This maximises thier impact.
Its like at a war, you first send out everything - your foot soldiers, your tanks, your airforce. Then you assess whats working the best - and then send more of it.
So you try everything and be very sensitized to whats working best for you - and then do it even more till the pattern gets totally reinforced for you.
Here is what I do when I want to get started with writing.
I have a small notepad file that I go through each time I am about to start writing. It reads something like this :
"Why am I not motivated enuff to write
I think I must wait for ideas before I writeI am scared of being bored
I have left so many books incomplete that I think that’s what will happen to these as well
Deep within I perhaps believe that I have nothing of value to shareIt’s a delayed gratification without instant resultsI don’t keep the end picture in mind
I am scared of breaking the discipline – because if I start in enthu once again and break the discipline (a pattern that has repeated) then all the time spent in the writing will be a waste ?"
This is no rocket science. Most of the times we know the answers - the obvious ones to why we are procrastinating. Then there are other hidden answers - new ones that will pop up. These are answers that have come out of genuine retrospection. very often we try to gloss over them i.e. try and avoid thinking through them. They keep working at the subconscious level. Try instead, to acknowledge them.
I take the next step by going into this:
" What should I think before I write
+ I will be helping people through my work+ It is self expression+ It will bring me more opportunities to speak and hence sharpen my talents and share even more+ I will love the fame and attention that will come from being an author of like 10 books! Yeah that will truly rock :D"
I think focussing on these two aspects : What is blocking you and what will inspire you, together should get you moving.
The final step thats so cliched in writing is "Just go do it" - but guess what? It works!
Dont wait for inspiration. Dont wait for ideas or thoughts. Realise that there is just no 'right time' to get started!
Just open your word processor and start typing. Before you know it you will be in the "flow". Very similar to swimming - you jump in the water, and soon you learn to float your body...
So now that we have discussed some of these techniques, its time for you to test these! So, I challenge you to get started - RIGHT NOW! Take some action and reinforce what we have just discussed.
See what works for you - and share with me how it worked.
How to make this sustain? Thats another question altogether, and I'll save it for another article.
Tell then, action first. Fire.Ready.Aim.Repeat!