From Zero to One

The power of creation.

I’m not talking about let there be light, creating the earth in seven days kind of creation. I’m talking about coming up with an idea, executing on it and following it through to completion. We all have that power within us from the moment we’re born until the day we die. So why is it that creation is such a rare occurrence? It all comes down to getting started, to taking that first step. The most important part of creating is just going from zero to one.

Take this blog for example, last week it was just an idea and I had zero posts. Then made the decision to write down my thoughts and experiences and now it’s a reality. The hardest part really was just to start and write the first post, now that it’s up and running I’ve got momentum to keep it going. My intent is to write a post every day and keep the snowball rolling.

 

How do we get started?

When the pain of doing nothing is greater than the pain of change, that’s when innovation is born. You’ve heard the anecdote of putting a frog in a pot of water and slowly heating it up until the frog gets cooked? Well that’s a hoax, the frog will jump out when it gets too hot.

Just like the frog, we too have a tendency to maintain the status quo until there’s a need to change. Fortunately as intelligent beings we can control our own perception of pain, we can include our own mental state in the equation. We can make a conscious decision to view our current environment as a boiling pot of water and try to jump out for better surroundings.

However just making a decision doesn’t get the ball rolling, we need to internalize the need for change or the need to create before we are fully committed to it. If you feel the need and you’ve made the choice, then there’s really no other option other than to get started doing whatever it is you need to do to turn your thoughts or ideas into reality.

 

What keeps us from starting?

I’m certain there are copious volumes of self help books written on the subject of inner demons and the tricks we play on ourselves that limit our potential. So I’m not going to go into any detail about those. I’ll just summarize them into two different groups: internal and external factors.

Internal factors that keep us from starting mainly boil down to our own fears and self doubts. These can be tremendously difficult to overcome, but fortunately they are the things that you have direct control over. Your fears are totally just in your head, no one gives them any power but you. Yes it takes a certain amount of will power to overcome your fears, but it’s completely within your control.

I personally found a very useful trick while listening to the everyday is Saturday pod cast. It’s very simple, when you make a decision and you get your first idea about how to get started, all you do is say “1… 2… 3… GO!” and you take your first step. It’s a rule you impose upon yourself to keep from second guessing your decision. This tricks your brain into not giving your inner fears a chance to take hold.

External factors that can keep you from starting are things like a lack of money or skills to follow through on your ideas. Guess what? That’s no excuse either! If you don’t have the skills to do what you need to do then step one is to learn those new skills. If you don’t have the money to get started there are loads of options for you. Do some odd jobs, get a loan, sell some of your stuff. The only thing stopping you from getting started is you.

 

If it’s important you’ll find a way, if it’s not you’ll find an excuse.

 

Make sure you keep going

Once you’ve taken that first step to bringing your awesome idea to life, don’t let it die in vain. The next step will be much easier, all you have to do it keep going. If you keep making small steps towards your dream, you’ll start seeing results sooner than you think.

If you’ve decided to write a blog, make sure you do it every day. If you’re working on some new software that will change the world, work on it every day. If you’ve decided to get into shape, go for a run every day. Once you’ve started you’ve got to keep the momentum going.

The alternative is doing nothing and being in exactly the same place as that poor frog who’s going to boil to death.