The Magic of Making a Start
To succeed, first you have to begin
This time last year, I was considering launching my own publication. I’d dabbled in blogs and freelance writing in the past, but a publication? That sounded far too big and scary.
Regardless, I took a leap and did it. Fast-forward twelve months and a lot has happened. My crazy little idea now attracts over 80K monthly viewers, employs five people and just hosted an event at Lush (you know, the bath bomb place.)
Everything fell into place, and in the past year, I’ve learned a little-known secret about life and creative pursuits. When we start something we’re passionate about, we set in motion a chain of strange events that enable us to make our dream a reality.
It’s exactly as Paulo Coelho said,
‘When you want something; all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.’
I don’t know why it happens. I don’t know how it happens. All I know is this: it just does. But for the universe to help us achieve our goals, we have to make a start.
As well as writing, I also have a failed career as a musician. I used to play drums in a pop-punk band that almost made it big but never quite did.
We managed to get to number nine in the iTunes chart, land a support slot for All Time Low and You Me At Six at their show in Birmingham and run a couple of UK tours. But eventually, we all crashed out and started pursuing other things.
It was a blast, but it also taught me something important about following your passion. When you’re on the right path, everything else starts to fall into place. We didn’t really try that hard, either. Opportunities just started cropping up out of nowhere.
W.H. Murray put it best.
‘Concerning all acts of initiative [and creation], there is one elementary truth…. the moment one definitly commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would not otherwise have occurred.’
Since I launched my publication, too, so many opportunities that I’d never anticipated have come my way. Thrive Global invited me to start writing for them, New York Times bestseller James Clear willingly submitted his articles to us and Lush offered us a slot to host an event last week.
I guess the universe started conspiring to help me. Perhaps you don’t believe in all that stuff, which is fine. I’m not sure if I do either. But the fact is that once we embark upon this quest, we start attracting all kinds of things towards us.
Maybe it’s just our attitude. Maybe it’s because we’re looking. Maybe it really is the angels of the universe. Whatever it is, it’s real. And it’s happening to me and thousands of others right now.
Get Out Of Your Own Way
When we make a start, we get out of our own way and allow other forces to come in and do their job.
Now I’m not saying it’s angels that are pulling the strings here. I’m an agnostic, and frankly, I don’t believe in angels.
But I’ve certainly found in my own life that each time I’ve initiated a new creative pursuit, it’s as though a cascade of connected events are set in motion — events that enable us to do what we set out to do.
It’s a well-known phenomenon. When we start on something new, all kinds of weird things and strange coincidences start to happen. Opportunities begin to crop up that we otherwise would have missed. People walk into our life that we might not have met had we not began our new venture.
Whether it’s music, writing or entrepreneurship, when we’re on the right path, we know. It just feels right. But none of these events or feelings can happen without one fundamental element: us making a start.
Be Cautious of Planning
I’m a firm believer in the idea that planning is dangerous. Planning often restricts action and prevents us from ever starting.
How do I know this? Because I’ve experienced it, time and again. When we spend three hours planning the launch of our business or drafting designs for our brand’s logo, we feel like we’ve achieved something. We feel like we’ve already completed a big chunk of our work.
In reality, we haven’t even started.
Planning is dangerous because it makes us feel like we’ve achieved something. Sure, planning is important. It’s necessary. But it isn’t really work.
As Ryan Holiday puts it,
“It’s a temptation that exists for everyone — for talk and hype to replace action.”
We can talk all day about our big plans and exciting ideas, but none of that matters unless we begin. Instead of discussing everything you do with everybody before you start, start now and keep your mouth closed.
The Source of Our Ideas
Once you begin, the stars start to align. Whether you interpret that spiritually or metaphorically doesn’t matter. Either way, a pathway opens up through which you can walk and begin your journey.
Every day, every minute, every second, new ideas come to us. They’re always floating around waiting to be caught.
For me, it’s usually when I’m at the gym or reading a book. All of these little thoughts and concepts start dropping into my awareness, ready for me to snatch up and convert into articles.
Where do they come from? I don’t know. But somehow, without even thinking about it, some voice in my head pipes up to offer guidance on how to do my work and what to write about.
We all have that voice, and it usually starts talking when we least expect it — like in bed or while we’re driving.
But who’s talking? Are they angels? Are they muses? Is it the subconscious? The true self?
Whatever it is, it’s smarter than we are — and we should listen to it. Whenever those ideas fall from the apple tree, we should take note. That way, when we’re sitting at our desks, desperately trying to squeeze some creative juice out of our brains, we have a resource to tap into.
Those voices don’t seem to be there before we begin our journey, though. It’s only really once we’re off the starting line and our endeavor is underway that we start tuning into those signals.
For us to tune in, though, we first have to overcome one key hurdle. You guessed it. We have to begin.
We’re All Creative
You might have an idea loaded up and ready to fire and just haven’t started yet. Alternatively, you might have nothing. I’ve been there, too — at the starting line with no idea how to stand up and start running.
Throughout my childhood years, I used to complain all the time that I wasn’t creative. My best friend Noah, on the other hand, would spend his time drawing all kinds of weird and wonderful creatures in his notebook and make up the wildest stories at sleepovers. But me? I had nothing.
I just wasn’t creative. Or at least, that’s what I kept telling myself.
Fast-forward fifteen years and here I am, writing about something new every single day, ideas coming to me quicker than I’m able to find the time to write about them.
Ironically, one of my friends stopped me the other day and asked me, ‘Adrian, how are you so creative?’ I couldn’t help but laugh. I’d gone full circle. I was Noah.
The thing is, I told him, that we’re all creative. Those that aren’t think that assume those that are are tapped into some gid of energy and inspiration that they themselves can’t connect with. But this is nonsense.
We’re all creative, really. It’s just that we’re all creative in different ways.
If I continued to measure my creativity in terms of my ability to draw four-headed monsters and tell stories about killer clowns like Noah, I’d have gone on believing I was useless. Hand me a pen and paper, however, and I’m creating things left, right and center.
To be creative, we have to find something that we’re able to be creative with. Something that we’re good at. Something that we’re passionate about.
And, once we begin creating in alignment with those passions, everything else starts to fall into place. The universe conspires to help us achieve our goals.
The magic of starting is initiated. But unless we muster up the nerve to begin in the first place, we’ll never get to experience it.
Before You Leave
I’m Adrian. If you’d like, I can send free daily tips about succeeding as a creative (and staying sane along the way) right to your inbox in bitesize chunks.
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