What are you thinking of doing? What has been on your mind, that thing you want to change in your life? That dream you have, that project you keep putting off? Whatever it is, get moving.
Thinking about it more won’t get you there. Thinking has given you a direction in which to move. Thinking has done it’s job. Now is the time for action.
Start with a simple, obvious, direct action. Start with some action, anything, then adapt. The thing is you must begin. Start, then learn what’s necessary as you do things. Knowing does not come from thinking. Knowing comes from taking action. Act, then you’ll know.
You don’t need a perfect start. Start messy. Start while feeling unprepared. Start with all the fear of failure, with any imaginings of the struggle and hardship you’ll need to endure, with any voices in your head saying, “You’re not ready yet. You’ve gotta have all your ducks in a row first! Just think about it one more day, just one more day. Then you’ll succeed for sure.”
Start and it will change. It will all change. Your meticulously detailed plans? You’ll need to alter them. Your grandiose visions of a straight shot to achievement? Shattered by your first engagement with reality.
You don’t need to know what you can’t know, you’ll discover as you move. You don’t need to have all the answers, you’ll learn as you act. You don’t need to have all the resources, you’ll gather them along the way. You don’t even need to have the strength to get where you want to go, you’ll build that strength as you move.
I’ll go further and say this is the only way to build the strength you’ll need. You must begin knowing full well you’re too weak to make the journey. Everybody starts when they’re too weak. The strength cannot be achieved beforehand.
There’s no hack, no shortcut, no way to game the system. The only way to gain the strength you need is by putting yourself in the circumstances that require more strength than you currently have.
That’s how you condition the body. That’s also how you train the mind.
Start moving and become stronger as you go. Improve as you move.
This is how Epictetus described Heracles gaining his strength:
“What kind of a man do you suppose Heracles would have become if it hadn’t been for the famous lion, and the hydra, the stag, the boar, and the wicked and brutal men whom he drove away and cleared from the earth? What would he have turned his hand to if nothing like that had existed? Isn’t it plain that he would have wrapped himself up in a blanket and gone to sleep? First of all, then, he would surely never have become a Heracles if he had slumbered the whole of his life away in such luxury and tranquility; and even if he had, what good would that have been to him? What would have been the use of his arms and of all his strength, endurance, and nobility of mind if such circumstances and opportunities hadn’t been there to rouse him and exercise him?” (Epictetus, Discourses, 1.6.32-34, trans. Robin Hard, 2014)
The effort you make with every step you take builds the strength you need to arrive at your destination. So get moving. There’s no other way. The issues you must address will reveal themselves as you confront the circumstances along the way. The obstacles will crop up, your unhelpful beliefs will take centre stage, the necessary steps and knowledge you only now assume you’ll need will become plain.
Conversely, obstacles, challenges, and problems you are worried about now may not even show up. Many things you imagined you’d need to overcome before starting may never make an appearance. As Mark Twain said, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” You’ll never know if what you imagine now is actually real if you continue trying to think yourself to achievement.
Just start. Start right now. What’s one small, obvious, direct PHYSICAL action you can take in this moment that will move you in the direction of your goal? It has to be physical action. Get out of your head and into action.