Why is taking the first step so hard?

Taking the first step can seem scary. Take it anyway.If you’re anything like I used to be, you’ve been held back by your current problems for more than a matter of months. You’ve wanted to be taking the first step. But… How??

We do this for several reasons. Some more evident than others.

For example, if lack of confidence is holding you back, there’s probably several by-problems affecting your entire predicament.

You might feel too tired; stressed; hurt; overwhelmed; too frightened. Or your fear might be an inner, hidden one which manifests as apparent laziness and comfortability.

Maybe you don’t know how to plan your time. Maybe you prioritize wrongly. Or maybe you don’t feel comfortable in making the right choices.

The right choices are different from everyday ones like choosing what to wear, what to eat, when to sleep, what to read, etc.. For the most part, those make but small differences in our lives.

Conversely, making the right choice is the last thing anyone does before permanently changing their life for the better.

The right choice has will and focus behind it. A will to go in a certain direction; a focus on the direction itself.

Now, those things in themselves don’t make any choice “right”. (I’m sure a lot of murderers had will and focus too…) But any right choice will necessarily encompass will and focus.

Then, why is making the right choice so hard for people with low confidence?

I’d like to be able to present a simple, yet surprising reason here. But the fact is, people are different, and so are their sources of low confidence, respectively.

Some might not know what they want. Others might, but may then be too scared of failure and humiliation. – Or even of the responsibility and exposure following a successful completion.

Whatever it is, here’s the good news:

While taking the first step might seem hard, the first step matters less than you think.

So what really matters is that no matter how you feel, you go ahead and do it anyway.

Yes, it’s scary. But you can do it.

Consider how great musicians and speakers get nervous before going onstage. Hell, great artists are among the world’s most notoriously depressed people.* But they do it anyway.

I’m not making you feel bad about yourself. I’m saying, whatever you want to do CAN be done.

And if you don’t know what you want, you won’t find out by wallowing in inactivity, but by getting out and gathering new inspiration.

Remember: You can always change directions. If you’re stuck somewhere, you probably won’t evolve. But whatever new place you go, you’ll learn new things to help you further on.

All you gotta do is to be taking that first step to get going.

ACTION ITEM:

1) Write down your three biggest values, your three biggest strengths, and your three biggest interests.
2) Take the biggest one from each category, and write down three possible ways of combining the three into something you’d like to do.
3) Pick one.
4) Write down the three first things you can do to make this happen.
5) For the next three days, do one of these things.
6) Repeat point 4) to 5).

Congratulations: You’re taking the first step.


Sources:

* https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181877/; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10203964

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Wait for it… — On the virtue of patience

How do you expect to succeed at anything if you haven't got the patience?Building confidence takes patience. — In that it takes years.

Some people attract confidence naturally. But, unfairly as the world works, not everyone does.

If life’s truly got you down, turning it around is one of the bigger projects you’ll ever undergo. And even with a fairly normal life, rising above the average and becoming extraordinarily successful will also take years.

Trust me.

This is one of the major reasons that people get stuck in unsatisfying lives: We often end up settling for certain conditions because we think they’re inevitable. This can be because we’ve endured them for a certain period, and/or because we find ourselves coming back to them.

It’s all due to a lack of one little term, which means a world of difference between those who succeed and those who don’t…:

PATIENCE.

When someone settles for less, there’s necessarily a bi-sensation of giving up. And even though this might feel nice, it only does so because it’s comfortable. And, more often than not, comfort is what keeps us from getting where we want to be.

How many times have you planned to get up early only to snooze within the first millisecond of the alarm clock?

How many times have you wanted to lose weight only to keep gorging on junk food several times a week?

I could go on, but you get the point.

We settle for things by allowing them to happen. And by not being sufficiently patient we give way for allowing something to happen which we might end up settling for, even though initially we wouldn’t necessarily want to.

This is especially true for people of low confidence. When we’re not confident, we think unrealistically less of our abilities, therefore often not putting in the necessary work to succeed in whatever our pursuit, thereby getting used to failing.

And, in turn, we end up thinking of not only ourselves, but of everything we do, as a failure. — Which, in a classic example of downward spiralling, affects our patience negatively.

However, if one has enough patience to succeed, guess how that affects our confidence — and our patience? Yes, exactly.

Patience is crucial. Not only to succeed in any endeavours, but to a basic, good life. Think about it: If you want to achieve ANYHING worthwhile, how are you gonna do it if you deem failure in the midst of the process only because you get impatient??

I don’t want this for you. I don’t want any of you to settle for less than you truly want. Allow yourself to slowly build the patience of a saint, and you will be able to reap whatever tremendous benefits you want.

ACTION ITEM:

For 24 hours, turn off your phone, don’t go online, and don’t watch any TV or listen to any radio.

Why? Because we’ve gotten so used to these everyday distractions that our attention span, and, hence, our patience, suffers drastically. The longer you’re able to abstain from these kinds of instant gratification-kinda stimuli, the better your patience will be.

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Don’t be that guy…

Nobody likes someone who moans and bitches, be it online or IRL. So whatever you do, don't be that guy.You know how in every comment section online there’s always that one guy who’s bitchy and moany about whatever the subject matter? Yeah, don’t be that guy.

Often, there’s more than one. (Lookin’ at you, YouTube!) And of course, girls do it too, but they tend to be more passive-aggressive, whereas guys can be more up-front.

As far as I see there seems to be a strong connection between that type of behavior and low confidence/self-esteem.

This doesn’t mean that all of my readers are “moaners”, as it were. (Au contraire, I like to think that you’re smarter than that.) It’s simply a matter of how non-fident people tend to think, and how many people seem to use online comment fields as an outlet for all-round negativity.

You see, non-fidence and negative thinking go hand-in-hand. If you tend to have negative thoughts about yourself, you can’t very well have a positive outlook towards life in general, right?

And, conversely, if you tend to see flaws, ugliness and shortcomings everywhere, it would likely include yourself.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with questioning and critical thinking per se. But the line between critical and negative tends to be blurred, at best. And when you’re non-fident, it’s all too easy to let negativity take over.

I hereby implore of you…: Don’t be that guy.

Whether online or IRL, just don’t moan and bitch. Those people bring about nothing constructive. Their attitudes and choice of words are poisonous towards a normal, healthy environment.

But what if I’m being negative towards something that really deserves it, like racism, misogyny, corruption, global warming, or reality-TV??

Look. Sensible people know perfectly well that those things are messed up. But what matters isn’t how we talk about them; it’s how we act towards them.

If you really wanna solve a problem, do something constructive to solve it. You solve nothing by simply pointing out negative aspects.

Don’t be that guy who bitches and moans without bringing anything constructive to the table. Don’t be that guy who does nothing but increase our collective amount of verbal sewage.

If you bitch and moan about things, chances are you’ll not only look less cool to those who oppose you, but you’ll likely become ingrained in the very habit of negative thinking. And that’s tough to unravel when you need momentum, lemme tell ya.

So, am I not ALLOWED to speak my mind all of a sudden?!”

Yeah, notice how you’re still making negative assumptions rather than taking my words to heart. 😉

Bottom line: Yes, there’s a downside to everything. But we gotta ask ourselves: Which side would serve me best to focus on? Which side is more beneficial and constructive? Which side would be ideal working towards?

I wage that 99,99% of the time, it’s the positive side.

ACTION ITEM:

Note three things which you usually perceive negatively. For each of those, write three paragraphs of 50-100 words apiece, each concerning one positive aspect of that thing.

This exercise challenges our usual habits of thinking, and makes us see things from a different, positive perspective. It’ll probably surprise you how tricky — and beneficial — it is.

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We need a more nuanced way of saying “just do it”

Try telling someone with low confidence and/or depression to just do it. -- Actually, don't.People with low confidence and/or depression endure additional frustration when confronted with the attitude of just do it.

Popularized by an immense athletics corporation, it’s hard not to see the mass-appeal of this ubiquitous saying. — And of its more jaunty sibling: Nothing to it but to do it.

Ah, how quaintly it conveys confidence and a winning spirit.

Unfortunately, it’s hardly translatable into utility.

Two reasons for that:

    1) First of all, it only presents an attitude that, when paired with persistence, focus, and above all a crystal clear plan, will help you endure. But when you have neither, what good is a one-sentence peptalk in itself?

In other words: I should just do what, exactly?

And when? And how? For how many hours a day? What time of day? And until when? And succeeded by what?

     2) Second, depression and low confidence is impossible to understand unless you’ve been through it yourself. And the people who are keen on giving well-meant advice often have no clue what kind of situation they’re addressing…:

Feel depressed? Well, you just gotta pull yourself together!

Can’t lose weight? Well, you just gotta eat less and exercise more!

No luck with the ladies? Well, you just gotta be yourself!

Don’t have any friends? Well, you just gotta have more confidence!”

*SIGH*

Look: Building one’s confidence and/or breaking free of depression can be tough. Solving those issues can take months, or even years. And…

If you have neither confidence nor direction in life, being met with an attitude of just do it isn’t only inappropriate; it can seem downright insulting.

If we wanna carry something out, we gotta be specific about it. Only THEN does it make sense to talk about “just” doing something.

First, however, we gotta figure out what we’re gonna do. And for many people, this in itself is a biggie.

(Hell, it took me +33 years!)

Specifically, the best way to get started on this is to start walking one path. Plain and simple.

Pick it out of interest. If you don’t feel like you’re going anywhere, pretty much anything will do.

This isn’t a mandatory future career we’re embarking on here. We merely walk a path because any momentum is essential for any progress, and because standing still will only cause us to deteriorate.

Also, if at any point we feel like changing directions, we can always do that. And we will have gathered valuable experience for our onward journey.

ACTION ITEM:

Write down at least three things you’d like to answer the next time someone gives you the happy-go-lucky attitude of just do it.

No need to be belligerent. Just think about what you’d most of all want people to understand, and use that as a benchmark.

Optionally, if what you need might be direction, write down three things you’d might wanna pursue. List any pros and cons beneath each one. If you have no interests whatsoever, take comfort in the fact that you likely have worlds of undiscovered interests ahead.

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