Conventional wisdom tells us that to know where we want to go and how to get there, we must first understand where we are.
We must love ourselves before we can properly love others. We need to take care of ourselves before we can provide for anyone else.
And yet, when you want to make more in your life — be it through money, work, or art — you must start before you’re ready to go.
This is a huge challenge, to start before you know who you are, what you’re doing, where you really stand, or where you want to put yourself in the future.
Who are you, really? Why are you that person? It’s an impossible question, because as we’ve already learned, “human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.” Dealing with so many questions without answers makes it that much harder to start before you’re ready to begin creating and making.
But need to work and create without knowing why — or at least, without knowing beyond we simply have to.
(Think about it. If you feel called or compelled to do something, it’s not a question of whether or not you will or won’t. That’s not a choice you made. You must do the thing and you’ll keep circling back to that feeling until you take action. And in the meantime you’ll feel dissatisfied and unfulfilled without the thing in your life.)
If you spend time and energy asking why and needing an answer before you start, you’ll never do. There will be a lot of talk. And probably a lot of angst. But there won’t be any action. In fact, the more you talk about something before you just get started, the more likely it is that you’ll never just get started.
Asking questions like “why” sets off a chain reaction of thoughts, and eventually they’ll terminate at one question above all others: what is the point? Why do this? What’s the purpose or meaning of trying to make and create?
You can’t start before you’re ready if you’re hung up here. While these may sound like important questions, they’re useless to the person who prioritizes doing. You can’t see the future. Things that exist on that plane are only revealed one step at a time. The only way to know them is to keep walking.
Put one foot in front of the other. Keep trying, keep working, keep making, keep doing.
While you’re at it, go ahead and accept you will fail. You’ll be wrong, you’ll embarrass yourself, you’ll get rejected, you’ll excitedly show what you made to the world and it will respond with the chirping of crickets.
But it doesn’t matter. Because you’ll also start understanding what you want to accomplish. You’ll practice, you’ll sharpen your skills, you’ll hone your craft, and you’ll find yourself getting better at what it is you do.
You may even find a little community of people who appreciates what you make and create. They might want to enjoy it, or they may want to understand how you did it.
At the very least, your soul will feel joyful and fulfilled because you’re doing the thing you just gotta do — and that’s reason enough to start, even if you’re not really sure of what you’re doing yet.
The world turns forward; time marches on. Why not march boldy forward with it? The answers you think you need now exist in a place you can reach only by continuing down the path that you make second by second via the decisions you make and the actions you take.
That path doesn’t exist until you pick one foot up and swing it forward to land ahead of the other, and in the moment your foot makes contact with what was once before nothing — you find that you’ve made something. Eventually, you’ll start finding your answers on this path that’s not a path until you walk it.
But you’ll never reach them unless you trust that you’re actually traveling somewhere worth going. You’ll never get to where you want to be unless you start before you’re ready.
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