This Is How You ‘Just Do It’

Sah Kilic by Vladislav Muslakov on Unsplash

We all know that we “just have to start.” People will tell you that to achieve the thing; you have to “just do it.” A famous slogan, but fantastically shit advice.

It’s not inherently wrong. You do just have to start. You need to put away your fear, commitment issues, indecision, and just start — right?

But if you’re unhappy, you can’t just be happy. If you’re depressed, you can’t just be not depressed. It’s the equivalent of telling someone anxious to stop worrying — it’s a paradox and insensitive… you big jerk.

It takes time, it takes effort, and it takes incredible attention. So ‘just start’ or ‘just do it’ isn’t going to cut it when ‘just starting’ is the problem in the first place.

Starting your thing.

Your travels,

Your business,

Your career,

Your relationship.

Starting your journey, your life.

It takes grit, blood, sweat, tears, and a whole lot of failure. And yes, you’ve heard these before, we all have — but the severity never dawns on us; we never really expect it. We nod when someone says that it’s reality, but we never materialize it in our minds as being our reality.

But more so, leading up to the beginning of some endeavor, there’s always something present to compel you to start.

What Compels Us To Act?

The Human Action Model by Ludwig von Mises states that humans tend to act when 3 criteria are met.

  1. Dissatisfaction with the present state of affairs.
  2. A vision of a better state.
  3. The belief that we can reach that better state.

The majority of us are stuck at 3. We don’t believe we can reach that better state; we don’t truly believe. So we just don’t act — we don’t start.

People start pursuing their dreams out of frustration, motivation, a deep-seated need for self-actualization, and more forces than there are words to describe them.

Conversely, the things compelling us to start and commit to something that’s not fulfilling nearly always comes out on top.

Here’s a question: What compelled you to start and kept you on the path that currently doesn’t fulfill you?

I can wager it may have been a combination of survival, social pressure, fear of the unknown, and a sense of responsibility — but you also saw a path there; it wasn’t ambiguous, it was achievable, you believed in it.

Your vision for a better state is being clouded by what everyone around you has defined as a better state. The path you’re on now is working towards that vision — and you actually believe in it; it's your go-to definition of “realistic.”

But it’s not the place you truly want to be. It’s not truly what you consider your better state.

You wake up in the morning and start your day working a job you don’t find engaging, a class you couldn’t care less about, a relationship that’s ‘fine.’ It’s the passionless day-in-day out approach that leaves you with no room to pursue, and plenty of idle time to daydream.

And the more you daydream, the more you get used to the lifestyle. The more you get used to the lifestyle, the tighter your comfort zone becomes. Hell, I can’t blame you for not starting under those conditions.

But a silver lining presents itself in these times, as per Mises’ model, you’re now dissatisfied, your dissatisfaction has left you with a vision for a better state, or even better, your very best state starting hinges on you believing that you can get there.

You need to be able to see a path to that destination. Anything ambiguous will create doubt, and doubt will make you analyze yourself into inaction.

To start — you need to see the path, believe you can follow it, and walk that path to your destination. You changed what ‘realistic’ means in your mind.

Changing Your Definition of “Realistic”

You’ve done enough daydreaming to see your destination vividly. It’s that vivid daydreaming that shows you what life could be like, but it’s also what prevents it from happening — it prevents you from seeing a path.

  1. We focus on the potential destination, result, or lifestyle.
  2. We get an endorphin boost from this, subconsciously thinking we did something to achieve it.
  3. We completely omit the process of getting there and therefore have no idea on how to reach the goal.
Focus on the journey, not the destination — Greg Anderson

If the process is how we get there, and we don’t even know what that process is — we’re simply just not going to get there.

To start, you first need to map out the process.

You’re trying to achieve the thing most likely been achieved by many before you and will be achieved by many after you. It’s not unique, and you should find comfort in that. It’s the first step in making this real.

If you’ve been pushing back the urge to start a business for the safe bet of a full-time job — just thinking of the millions of business owners that are killing it out there might be enough to convince you that there is a path, it’s been walked many times, and this goal is achievable.

Find the people who are already doing it, and talk to them. Listen to their story, their struggles, and their journey. See how they did it. Take a step back and see how other people are doing it.

Real people — not some guy on the internet claiming an athlete's physique in 6 weeks or a $100k dropshipping business in a month. I mean:

  • People in your gym that have been at it for years
  • Local startups that are making waves
  • A friend of a friend who’s successfully opened a gallery
  • A content producer on your Linked In that hit 100k on YouTube
  • An old couple that seems to have the perfect relationship

Reach out to your network, attend events, and ask for introductions — the more you see people doing it, the more real it becomes.

You can start to literally map out the process with a pen and paper. You can list each step, break it down by monthly goals, quarterly goals, yearly goals. And at this point, you have a good estimate at where you should be at each step of the way — because you’ve talked to people that have done it.

You now know where things can be a struggle.

  • When your brand new blog is getting a measly 10 views a month.
  • When progress dips with strength training after the first 2 months.
  • When you walk out of the 12th meeting where your pitch didn’t land.

You’ve got a smile on your face — because you know you’re making progress, you know you’re getting better, you know it’s normal.

Setbacks or hiccups don’t matter because you’ve got a clear process, and you believe in it. You know it’s a slug, and you now fully expect the difficulties. You have fully materialized the potential for failure — you’ve got the structure you needed.

The fear is still there, but it’s very much a calculated risk now. You start to believe that what you’re setting out to do is very much achievable. You know it is because you’ve seen it with your very eyes. You see a path to get there, and it’s as clear as day.

The 3 requirements for human action are now fulfilled. You’ve got a path, and you believe that your best state is at the end.

If you’ve reached this point, it’s now impossible not to act.

It’s impossible not to do it.

It’s impossible not to start.

So you do just that, you start, and your journey begins.

Good luck,

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