I wrestle with beginnings. How do I begin? Where to begin? What if I fail? There is so much to do — where do I even start?
Beginnings are overwhelming. How often have I never even started a project because I was too afraid to fail? Or how often has the complexity of a goal overwhelmed me, turning me off to even trying?
Whether it is the beginning of a website or the start of my day, the choice to start a new job or to learn a new hobby, the question of beginnings pesters and demands answering.
There are these problems with beginnings. Not only do they overwhelm and instill me with fear, but they are supposed to be big, loud, ceremonious, impressive and purposeful. Races begin at gun shot. Boats begin with smashed bottles of champagne. We toast at the beginning of a banquet. There are groundbreaking ceremonies to mark beginnings. Perhaps one of the grandest, most elaborate beginnings we can experience is the ceremony of marriage.
Often there is such pomp and circumstance associated with beginnings that we miss the entire point, which is merely to begin.
I conclude that, ironically, beginnings are stumbling blocks. Pondering the beginning, planning for it or making it grand accomplishes little more than distracting from the task at hand, which is to act, to begin doing that which I want to do!
With these problems at the forefront of my mind, I’d like to offer up a few ideas on how to tackle beginnings head on:
- Identify a sub-task of the overall goal. Just pick something — anything. Once selected, do the task.
- Once 1., above, is complete, repeat. Continue to knock off sub-tasks so long as you are progressing towards accomplishing the greater goal.
- At some point, after repeating steps 1. and 2. enough times, a certain overall order will manifest itself. When this occurs, take the time to see the big picture, planning as much as necessary (but no more!) to continue accomplishing your goal.
- Remember: a goal is not accomplished merely at the end. It is achieved throughout. The only lasting failure is that which comes from not even trying.
Note that the above ideas are merely focused on the beginning. They have nothing to do with recharging once you’ve become exhausted or begin to experience malaise about your overall goal. However, I think its worth saying that perhaps the best thing to do when you feel yourself losing interest or momentum is to start back at Step 1., above. The key is not to dispense with distractions and other trivial matters.
As for my own beginning, so completes the start of this weblog/blog/journal, with as little pomp as I can manage.