I’m starting a journal; an online journal, and like so many things I’ve begun in my life I’m finding the beginning to be difficult. I have pondered with great effort where I should start and what I should talk about, but I worry about sounding both pretentious and self-important. Do I start with an introduction? Would anyone want to hear about my age, my job, my hobbies, in a simple dish-it-out, me-on-a-cracker type of format? I wouldn’t. So, we’ll skip the boring play-by-play of who I am and move forward.
Beginnings are scary, I think for most people, because you can rarely, if ever, change them. For example, I can’t eliminate from your mind the very first impression of me you have after reading that opening paragraph. That opportunity has flown the coup. Sure, I could go back and delete it now, but you would have already seen it and thus formed a perfectly natural judgement of what kind of person I am that nothing but your own thought processes can change. Similarly, if I were to open a business and I invested everything I had into the venture including my house, my life-savings (neither of which I have right now) and incurred a serious amount of debt, I would be unable to un-start the project. If half-way through I find my invention of a radio-pencil isn’t selling, and the radio-pencil emporium is quickly losing my money, I could not (short of a time machine) go back and decide to not begin the project safe with the knowledge of knowing what would happen if I did. And so, starting is hard, because without clairvoyance the risk factors involved are relatively unpredictable. After all, if everyone had loved my radio-pencils, despite the prediction that they wouldn’t, my beginning a business would have had a more positive outcome.
Unless you are one of the few lucky people in the world who enjoy an enormous freedom of complete spontaneity, chances are the question “should I?” enters your mind several times a day. Subsequently, if you’re anything like me, you probably analyze everything involved, like how much you stand to lose if the thing you are starting fails to have the outcome you desire. However, the truth of the matter is, if you don’t start you don’t know. I mentioned earlier that humans do not possess a third-sight which will allow them to predict their futures, and so while you will be unaware as to whether a venture won’t result in what you want, you are also unaware as to whether it will. Perhaps what we should start concentrating on is whether or not that knurling feeling of never knowing is easier to bear than failure. In my experience I have regretted the advantages I didn’t take more than the ones I have which haven’t gone the way I imagined they would.
In ten years I could be in a number of different scenarios, but let’s focus on just a few for the moment, one where I have started and then lost my enthusiasm, and a future in which this post never happened at all. In the first instance, perhaps I might not have achieved what I wanted, like my radio-pencil venture, but I will know I didn’t let the ship sail on without me, and I have much more life-experience than the second me who was too afraid to even start what she might not finish. The me who was afraid of failure and let it keep her from trying will be stuck with the constant “what ifs” of hind sight.
If we never execute our ideas or try for what we want then we’ll never get it. Like many an early morning so competition we have to be “in-it-to-win-it”. Someone who has tried an idea and failed has still gained more than the one who never bothered at all, and no matter how long you may ponder and wait, eventually you have to do something for the first time in order to get it done.
As John Henry Cardinal once said: “Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning.”
Kudos if you got here, dear hypothetical reader, by actually reading all of the above. I must say I didn’t expect to go so long. I promise not all posts (assuming I stick to this) will be this long and convoluted. Moreover, some of this was inspired by Zefrank:
and if any of you are more than hypothetical you should go and check him out.