Just get started ❎
how to do hard things
Written by jack friks
Last Updated: Sep 12, 2023
In life, hard things are inevitable. For each of us, what constitutes as a “hard thing” may be very different things. For some of us it’s getting out of bed, for others it’s walking up to a stranger and starting a conversation, for you maybe it’s that you just can’t start that project you’ve been meaning to for weeks now.
Luckily for us, I don’t think life is really about being a master at doing hard things, rather it's more about being a master at just getting started.
Before we dive in, if you want daily posts about these sorts of thing: to help you create more cool sh*t, follow your curiosity, & live a better life… then make sure you’re following my new twitter account! (the old one was starting to smell)
Begin now, worry later
Getting past the massive amount of resistance that stands between you and the thing you ought to be doing. This is what life is about mastering, which turns out to be something like: you, giving it a go even if just for a mere minute.
I’ll discuss in a minute: the value of doing hard things, even when they don’t yield tangible results. First though I want to further discuss the possibilities behind getting started, how one may go about doing so for specific tasks, what you stand to gain from just getting started, & why getting started is the hardest part of doing anything even though it requires no more effort to continue than it does to just to start. Note: If we can understand how something works & why it is this way then we will be much more likely to overcome any obstacles it lays in our path: i.e. Getting started on our “hard things".
How to “just get started”
As I mentioned above: getting started is the hardest part of doing the hard things in your life. How one may go about tackling this task of getting started can differ from person to person or thing to thing… With that being said I’de like to offer some practical examples for getting started on a few hard things, most of which contain telling oneself a little lie.
For example, let’s say you are having trouble tackling a project that you’ve been wanting to do for some time now but you can’t seem to pick it back up. You know it will take considerable effort or discomfort to get your brain back on the right track, the track that the project needs you to be on. In your head this is a monumental blockade just to start. If you had less of a brain perhaps it would be easier, but you have your brain in its entirety for better or worse, so we need to trick it. Instead of thinking about how daunting this task is, tell yourself you are just going to revise what your project’s goal is, or something miniscule in relation to kinda working on the project without fully telling yourself you’re going to work on it. A little white lie perhaps, because in reality you usually end up just getting started and now you can just keep going because you’ve come to realize the effort to keep going is not any higher than the effort you’ve already expended.
This doesn’t always work, but it works a lot of the time. Even someone who knows that it takes no more effort to start than it does to keep going will fight this same battle consistently. Whatever your task, do the bare minimum of the hard & see where that takes you. If you need to tell yourself small white lies about what you are about to do to make it easier for you to just get started, then do so.
Why is it important to get started?
Although it may be obvious as to why it is important to “just get started”, seemingly most of us don’t take it seriously to do so. Honestly I’m not entirely sure why this is, maybe it’s because of the news, or social media, or too much processed foods. Nonetheless I suspect the reason why people don't take getting started seriously is not because they are oblivious to its importance. Rather it’s because they would rather be subject to stay exactly where they are than experience any “unnecessary” discomfort.
A common question people ask the people who drink coffee black or without sweetener: “Why do you like to drink something that tastes so bad?” The answer, at least for me, is because: if you start your day off with something that’s bad, or makes you a little bit “uncomfortable” then your day can only get better from there. Better in the sense that the hard things to come will be easier now because of that cup of bitter swamp water you just drank. This is also known as “eating the frog”.
But why is it important to get started? Why should you take your first lick of that frog leg, or drink that first sip of bitter swamp water? Well, because, as you already know, getting started is the hardest thing for our brain to overcome. So if one can just get started, then there’s no telling where they will find themselves next (usually in a much more favorable place). It is critical for anyone looking to create something great or really anything at all that they just get started, and the sooner the better.
Corny but exceptionally accurate quote: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." - Chinese Proverb
Why is getting started the hardest part?
Getting started is the hardest part because our brains like to make things seem harder than they are. This may not be true for all hard things, but for most modern dilemmas like “I can’t get out of bed”, or “I can’t get in the habit of going to the gym” this applies well. Even for harder things that are really hard our brain will build up so much pressure that it seems impossible to just get started. You’ve been thinking about the pain of getting started all day long, of doing the whole task, rather than just taking the first step. This is why getting started is so hard: because most of the time our focus is not just on getting started, it’s on step 1,2, 3 and all the way to step 54 before we’ve even gotten out of bed, we are worrying about the effort it’s going to take to make dinner later. No wonder just getting started is so hard, we naturally are not taking it 1 step at a time, and as a result we are overwhelmed with all the frogs we are going to need to swallow throughout the day ahead.
This way of thinking gets us paralyzed in thought. To attempt to reverse this: read again what I’ve written above. Or if you can reverse engineer a way to trick your brian into only focusing on the 1st step (just getting started), then continue with that.
At the end of the day, all you need to really worry about is just getting started. Even then though, you need not worry too much, because once you are started you will find it easy to keep going. One step at a time.
Too Long Didnt Read
Life's about tackling hard stuff. Start with small lies to trick your brain, to get you to begin as beginning is the toughest part. It's vital because our brains overcomplicate things. Just get started; the best time is now.
this piece is taken from my upcoming book “We are built to create” (title still pending), if you enjoyed this article and want to show your support than consider clicking one of the buttons under this message.
anyways, thank you so much for reading, it means more than you know.
still in his mom’s basement,