My bedroom looked like a fortress with piles of Entrepreneur magazines stacked high against all four walls. With each month’s magazine, I would obsessively highlight and annotate articles that were inspiring or generated a business idea. I would research the hell out of any new business idea that I captured in the magazine.
And then I would research some more.
And then some more..
I became a victim of paralysis by analysis.
I would tell all of my friends about my next genius idea. I was all talk. I used to be a “wantrepreneur” always researching and talking but never executing.
It sounds so rudimentary, but the toughest part is always taking that first initial step to take action when creating something new, learning a new skill, changing careers, or starting a side project or new business. It’s so easy to get bogged down by the research and analysis of minor details that you can find yourself overanalyzing everything causing you to never begin anything at all.
Stephen King shares a lesson from On Writing on the importance of forcing yourself to start even in the face of adversity. King was nearly killed when struck by a van during an afternoon stroll along the shoulder of Route 5 in Lovell, Maine. The accident almost killed King’s career as it temporarily stripped away his writing ability. He suffered a shattered and nearly amputated lower leg, split right knee, an acetabula fracture of the right hip, chipped spine in eight places, four broken ribs, scalp laceration requiring thirty stitches, stripped off flesh above the right collarbone, and a collapsed lung. King reflects on picking up the pen again after nearly losing his life:
And the first five hundred words were uniquely terrifying—it was as if I’d never written anything before them in my life. All my old tricks seemed to have deserted me. I stepped from one word to the next like a very old man finding his way across a stream on a zigzag line of wet stones. There was no inspiration that first afternoon, only a kind of stubborn determination and the hope that things would get better if I kept at it.
And things did indeed get better for King. He spent the next hour and forty minutes writing and the next several days creating yet another best-selling book. King writes:
There was no miraculous breakthrough that afternoon, unless it was the ordinary miracle that comes with any attempt to create something. All I know is that the words started coming a little faster after a while, then a little faster still. My hip still hurt, my back still hurt, my leg too, but those hurts began to seem a little farther away. I started to get on top of them. There was no sense of exhilaration, no buzz—not that day—but there was sense of accomplishment. I’d gotten going, there was that much. The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.
King mentions his pain just started to whither away once he started cranking out the words and got into a rhythm. All it takes is to get the engine started.
Consistency is key and make sure to practice your craft every single day no matter if it’s for 20 minutes or five hours. The important thing is to establish a routine and find the time.
James Altucher has a “1% rule” in which he strives to improve physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually at least 1% each day. One-percent doesn’t seem like much at first, but accomplished every single day throughout a year, improves your well being by 365%.
All it takes is 1% of your time each and every day dedicated to the execution of your next great idea.
Photo by Max Mayorov