Somewhere on the dusty workbench of your brain, there is a great project waiting. Maybe it’s an idea for a novel. Maybe it’s going pro with your photography. Maybe it’s an itch to start a private school.
Whatever the project is it’s huge. It’s overwhelming. It’s so enormous, you don’t have any idea how it will ever happen.
Which is exactly why you need to start that project right now.
Seeing the Way Forward
The reason we never begin these big projects is usually because we can’t see the way forward. We can envision the end of the project in great detail, but we can’t imagine how to get there from here.
And so we don’t even try.
We’re afraid we aren’t qualified. Or we don’t have enough talent. We think that if we don’t try, we can’t fail. Better to hold on to the dream than live with our failures, right?
Doing Things Badly
G.K. Chesterton once wrote, “A thing worth doing is worth doing badly.” If a project is worth dreaming about, it’s worth failing at. So what if you write half the novel and realize it’s junk? You now have three better story ideas, and some hard-won writing experience under your belt.
Maybe the private school you start has to close its doors two years later. So what? Now scores of people have a vision of what education could be like—what it should be like. Their thirst for knowledge will lead them to founts of wisdom.
Whatever that big dream is that you haven’t acted on, dust it off and get it started. Here’s what to expect as soon as you start:
- Nothing. Absolutely nothing happens at first. Did you think this was going to be easy? You can’t just have the dream, you have to act. Figure out what that action will be. As soon as you stop dreaming and start acting, your dream begins moving toward reality.
- The first step. The first step means that you’ve chosen a direction. It may be the wrong direction, as Chesterton warns, but at least you’re moving. Now take the next step.
- The path appears. As you keep moving forward, something remarkable will happen. The path you couldn’t see before begins to appear. The dense forest gives way to an open meadow. You haven’t finished your journey, but you can see the path clearly.
- Momentum. At this point, you will have gained momentum. You can see the way forward, and the destination is fast approaching. Keep this momentum going, but watch out!
- Resistance. Every big project, every dream worth pursuing eventually runs into resistance. You’ll be ambushed by doubt, blindsided by ridicule, robbed blind by fear. The resistance will steal your momentum and leave you longing to go back the way you came. But instead of giving up, just start again. Punch the resistance in the head, and start moving forward, one step at a time.
Because a thing worth doing is worth doing. So get started.
Question: What big project do you want to start?