Scaling Mountains

Mark Manson (one of my favorite writers) calls it the “do something principle”. Instead of waiting until you’re inspired and motivated to act on a goal, which probably won’t happen, just try doing some small thing–anything really–and see if doesn’t help you feel more confident about taking another step toward that goal.

Put another way, say you have writer’s block, which is a pretty common place to be for most writers.  Just make yourself write any random x number of words per day.  Don’t wait for inspiration.  Once you write those x words, you may find yourself writing more, like priming a pump.  In other words, AIM: action–>inspiration–>motivation–> action–>etc.  It’s counterintuitive, even backwards, but it seems to work.

You feel defeated, like a failure, so you procrastinate even more.  Or you fear something, because of past failures or defeats.  It’s a vicious cycle that feeds off itself, and crushes motivation.  The mountain of things you put off looks insurmountable.  The only way to tackle a mountain is to take a small first step.  Stop and breathe.  That wasn’t so painful, take another.  Breathe, repeat.  Don’t look down, and don’t look at the summit, just focus on the next step.

Each successful tiny step builds your confidence to take another.  Confidence in yourself gives you more incentive to try some more.  The action, however small, precedes the inspiration which leads to motivation to take more action, and so on.  Eventually you find yourself closer to the top of the mountain, or at least not as intimidated by the scale of the job.

I’ll never be a great writer, but I’ve made a commitment to myself to try to write something each day, just for the practice.  I love to write, and it’s therapeutic, but it intimidates me to read other much more articulate authors, knowing I’ll never achieve those heights.  Still, each day I look forward to seeing what simpleminded stuff I can come up with today.

It all starts with typing a word, or taking that step, and then another.  It challenges me to dig deeper into the dark recesses of my puny brain to come up with new, or at least recyclable, ideas.  If any of it helps, amuses, or at least distracts one of my 2.5 readers, then that’s a bonus.





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