How do you start over?
How do you start again? How do you make another attempt to do something that you didn’t follow through with the first time?
How do you fight that battle in your mind that you didn’t finish it the first time? Well, let’s start there: let’s take a good look at “finishing.” What exactly does that mean to you; where is the finish line? Is there one, concrete moment of this goal’s accomplishment that is finite and then ends, or is your goal a less-tangible upkeep of a particular way of life. It’s important to take a good look - right now - at exactly what you want. Define the details of it, the taste and smell and moment(s) of it. Is it a tangible point or a long-term feeling?
Then, the way you begin again is simply that you don’t let yourself get bogged down with the fact that you didn’t follow through previously and you give it another shot right now. Right now, just a shot. Not a perfect one. Not the best, life-changing one you’ve ever made. Just one. Just an attempt. A half-ass one will do. One.
For me, it’s this blog. I’ve been writing my whole life, almost every day. But I never put my writing out into the world. I always dreamed of writing my thoughts for the world to see, but actually chasing my dream? Woah, that’s a crazy idea! Discovering and chasing your dream is a whole other battle we face due to the unfortunate structures of many schools and the teachings of many parents and other advisors with diminished dreams themselves. Well, a few years ago I realized the importance of separation from those mentalities and began my blog with serious intent - and anonymously, to take the edge off of the weight, judgement, potential failure and embarrassment of my words.
And then I didn’t follow through with it. I put out ten posts over the course of a year. Eeek, that’s not my most proudly written sentence.
When you begin again, you fight the psychological battle of knowing you didn’t follow through before. That battle makes it mentally more challenging than having just kept going the first time. Okay, ouch. But acknowledge that. Know it. Know what’s going on and that it’s going to feel this way. And make your additional attempt with all that in your head anyway. What about having that battle in your head makes the actual task less doable? Analyze that question. Because nothing does. There is nothing less feasible about making the attempt with insecurity.
The only failure is ceasing - that is, if you don’t want to cease. So regardless of the amount of days or years between attempts, the insecurities in your mind, try again. Try again and you have just won. Because accomplishing the goal is in the doing. All you need to do now is keep doing. What you’re doing right now (assuming you’ve started doing it).
What does this mean for you? Is this referring to speaking up in a hard situation, working on a strained relationship, going to the gym, continuing your education, challenging your suddenly short-term memory, or finally going after what you truly want for your life? Create that portfolio, that business, that application, that blog.
And know, there are invaluable things you pick up from having already tried and given up a first time. Valuable things that wouldn’t be known if you hadn’t given up. So you have that in your corner.
Three years after surrendering that blog of mine and agonizing over it, on a random Tuesday evening I decided to give myself the one-hour window my roommate was gone to create a post. I let go. I let go of the perfect and contrived “first post.” I wrote this. Kinda with the hope that no one sees this one and that eventually I develop the confidence and the strength and the skill to keep writing more and better.
What’s going to make mine so much better than everyone else’s? There are thousands of blogs out there. Are there millions, even (Instagram profiles are blogs these days, aren’t they)? I don’t know. All those people with their established blogs, established identities, millions of followers, their credentials, their perfectly pretentious “CVs.” I’m not a good enough writer, right? I’ve had no schooling for it. I just love it. I just want to make something of it.
And so it goes in your life, you can continually be told and continually ask yourself “What if it doesn’t work out? What if I make a fool of myself? What if I’m no good? What if there’s no victory on the other side? What if there’s nothing?”
Yet, like the untainted little girl in this clip from Disney’s Tomorrowland, if we have the capacity to ask ourselves “What if there’s nothing?” we should also have the objectivity and respect for our lives to ask ourselves “What if there’s everything?”