“There’s a path through the world with your name on it. It winds curiously through the distant recesses of your mind and body, rolling around the physical and mental strata of your being…caring not for the age or wisdom that you’ve achieved. It yearns to branch out into the world…to guide your fulfillment through the sureness of active experience or the uncertainty of passive meandering, one and the same. In one instant clear and in the next shrouded by the fog of resistance, faith alone in the path is enough to guarantee its riches. Will you have the courage to stake your claim? Or will you let it languish unexplored, lamenting its unworn state as the vitality of your body yields to time. What holds you back? A step is all it takes. Just a step.” – Me
Why is it so difficult to take the first step? How can I think about accomplishing or exploring something for days, weeks, months, or years without ever taking any tangible steps to bridge the gap between thought and action? It can be something as simple as wanting to take a writing class or something as multi-faceted and complex as switching careers. In fact, this very blog is a perfect example of something that took forever to materialize! I must have told myself 14,043 times over the years that I’d like to find time to read and write for enjoyment. But days turned into months, which turned into years and still no writing, blog or otherwise.
Fear, apathy, discomfort and a whole host of cleverly concocted excuses are the usual suspects. But I’m not typically prone to excuses nor would most describe me as fearful, apathetic, or lazy. Likely, it’s a combination of two or more of the above conspiring to keep me safe and warm in my comfort zone…most people have some degree of aversion to change and I’m no different. What I can say is that, in those instances where I’ve been successful in moving beyond ground zero, I’ve done one or more of the following:
- Employed To-do Lists – For me, what makes it onto my to-do list gets done…simple as that. I keep a list of the things that I need and/or want to accomplish, both personally and professionally, and I check-in with those lists regularly. Tasks are not allowed to loiter on my to-do list…move along!
- Voiced Intentions – Nothing keeps you honest like the fear of somebody calling you out on your empty, lingering promises. Put it in writing or tell somebody about it and your chances of following through are immediately improved.
- Made Commitments – Commit to situations involving others or make financial investments that make backing out more difficult to accept. The fear of loss/downside very often can outweigh the fear of the upside.
- Took Baby Steps – No need to over commit. Sometimes it’s just getting the ball in motion. Momentum has a way of working its magic. You don’t have to sign-up for a year-long gym membership…just decide to walk around the block today. Then tomorrow. After that maybe you jog a little.
- Berated Myself – Yup. Sometimes you just have to tell yourself to “Cut the Shit.” Stop making excuses. Get out there and get it done! No more dicking around…enough is enough!
I don’t know if any of this has been helpful for you. But as for me, I’ve accomplished “just a step” along my path by sitting down and choosing to write rather than to watch the TV, surf the internet, or otherwise. And it feels great…just as it always does when you overcome the forces conspiring to keep you off the path. Remain vigilant my friends.