Start. It’s an interesting word.
Say it quickly. “Start, start, start, start, start, start.”
As humans, we’ve been fascinated by starting since the beginning of time. The start of a new season meant new weather. The start of a new year meant a new chance to achieve goals. The start of a race said the opportunity to compete, to become the best at something. Starting has always meant the opportunity for something new. But what does ‘starting’ really mean?
There are quite a few definitions of the word start. Google it, you’ll see. My favourite is; to cause to leave a place of concealment, to bring into being. The reason I love that is that that’s what starting should do. It should cause you to leave a place of concealment, whether physical or mental. It should bring something into being, like perhaps a goal of sorts.
In itself ‘starting’ sounds quite easy, but you and I both know that if it were that easy, you would’ve stopped reading this post already and naturally started whatever it is that you’ve wanted to for so long. In fact, starting is sometimes the most difficult thing to do. It’s the reason why most people don’t feel like they’re living because they’re terrible at starting.
Why are we so bad at starting? Because it’s counterintuitive, it’s risky; it’s even uncomfortable. Starting means leaving something else behind. Maybe leaving a comfort zone behind? Maybe fear is a reason not to start? Steven Pressfield in his book ‘The War of Art’ mentions that resistance is the ultimate enemy. He says that resistance is the enemy of all artists, it’s what stops us from achieving any and everything. Resistance is a force; it’s a universal element.
What resistance are you feeling? What’s acting against your start?
There was a boy who attended a primary school in Johannesburg South Africa. He had an older sister who was two years ahead of him at the same school. She was brilliant, smart, a teacher’s dream. When the boy graduated to the classes that his sister attended two years ahead of him, the teachers would say “Oh, you’re [insert sister’s name] brother”. The expectation bar was high. But the teachers soon found out that the boy was a bit slow, not as brilliant as his sister. His teachers compared him and coined ‘not as good’.
Then the boy attended high school, every report card he received would say that he’s average, or that he needed to try harder. The boy never thought of himself as unique or exemplary. He thought of himself as just another boy. This boy would grow up to understand that it’s ok to not be as smart academically as his peers and that it’s OK not to be noticeably unique. He would come to realise that being himself is the best chance that he has at actually living.
This boy started a business.
That boy is me.
When are you going to stop making excuses and START?