The “just get started” divide

Early in my career as a creator, I heard the same advice over and over again. It seems there was no end to the number of books I could read, podcasts I could listen to, or talks I could watch that all said the same thing: Just get started.

Just get started is excellent advice — if you can follow it. For many people, you may as well be telling them to just wake up at 4am, just to to the gym for three hours a day, or just float in the air while meditating.

I was one of those people for whom the advice just get started was hard to follow. I was always left wondering, “yeah, but how do I get started?” It seemed there was no limit to the obstacles my mind could create to keep me from getting started.

Why do some people say just get started, while countless others are left wondering, “yeah, but how?” When I interviewed James Altucher for my podcast, it all started to make sense.

I wanted to understand how James became such a starter. He’s started countless companies, written well over a dozen books, and even created a television show for HBO. How did he get that way?

He told me this: “I always thought I could do anything. I was in second grade writing books that I thought were going to be published and be best-sellers. I always thought that nothing stood in my way.”

That’s when it dawned on me: Those who are saying to just get started are born starters. Whether it’s through upbringing or the genetic lottery, they believe they can succeed — or, at the very least, they’re unafraid of failure.

Getting started was never easy for me. I was nearly fainting when we had to sing Christmas carols in front of the school each year. Even as an adult, I nearly had a nervous breakdown at the airport before my first mini-life.

Whether it’s a company, a blog post, or a trip to a foreign land, whenever I think of starting my head is quickly filled with what-ifs, yeah-buts, and ultimately, an I’m-not-ready.

I’ve come to realize that just get started is good advice in theory, but hard advice to follow in practice. That’s because there’s a just get started divide. Those who can just get started have no problem doing so. Those who struggle with starting don’t know where to begin.

What about you? What side of the divide are you on?

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Written by

Bestselling author of “Mind Management, Not Time Management”

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