We have all been there, the start of something we have been meaning to do for a while. We dive head first with all the good intentions and plans in the world, and a sense of blissful naivety embodies us. Then you get punched in the mouth and things don’t go as you expect. The 5 options you had are now 3, then 2, then 1 and you’re sitting there thinking – what happened?
When you start, what you think and what actually is are different
There is a lot of ego in the things we do whether we like to believe it or not. This creates a reality distortion that shows us something different from what is really happening. As beginners, we have literally zero experience in the field and as a result our expectations are generally far off from reality so when we are setting plans and expectations, they are not grounded in anything logical but rather fantasy and good intentions. It is only through the cuts, bruises, sweat, tears or in others words, experience, that we close the gap between reality and our current expectations. For example, we think that high salary jobs are the end goal but what we don’t see is the non-stop hours of work taking phone calls, answering emails and countless cups of coffee.
When good intentions aren’t enough, what can you do?
So we have established that we don’t know much about what we’re doing, that’s fine. So what now? Really, there are 2 choices, keep going or stop? Or, would you prefer to struggle forward and potentially do something meaningful or stop and go back to where you were before you started? I’ve found that framing things into specific questions enables me to think through the decision rationale. I didn’t like the position I was in before which is why I started this in the first place so if I have a choice of going back versus struggling forward, I’m picking the latter.
What does struggling forward look like?
We all have problems, big ones, small ones. The problems we have require solving and in order to do that, we need knowledge or a ‘how’ to do so. How do we get this knowledge? Enter, the beauty of the internet. Knowledge is everywhere, we just need to be looking in the right places AND we need to be asking the right questions. Knowledge is information so what information can we find on the internet? All of it. Even more specific? Knowledge comes in the form of: other peoples experiences (interviews, podcasts, YouTube videos, documentaries), books, articles, blog posts, and most likely so many others I can’t think of. So it boils down to:
- Just try a bunch of stuff. Browse people in the industry, read random articles, just do stuff related to fields or things that peak your interest.
- Ask questions. The questions at the beginning will most likely be MORE wrong than right but each question answered will move you closer to asking the right questions.
- Start asking better questions. If you imagine at the beginning of your journey, you’re entering a jungle. You get lost (step 2) and now we have an idea of what the ‘right’ questions are, this is a clearing in the jungle to get our bearings.
- Start looking for answers. Have you looked into people in the industry? What are other people doing in this space that is working that you might be able to use? Exhaust your options and understand the rules of the game.
Response and stimuli, you choose the response but not the stimuli
What I outlined before is a really logical and rational approach but that’s not how it goes in the moment. When the moment happens, its an emotional stimuli. Psychologically, it feels like you are not getting anywhere. Progress is slow or non-existent and it sucks. We can’t choose what events trigger this type of feeling but we can try and control how we respond to them. Introspecting and asking, where are these feelings coming from? Am I comparing my journey’s step 1 to someone else’s step 1000? Where was I last week or last month compared to today? Right, I was literally at zero but now I’ve written 20+ blog posts about things I care about, I’ve designed my corner of the internet to my liking, I enjoy the process of introspecting and writing posts, what more can I ask for?
Note to self: Another topic for the future: living in the moment or living for the future?