It’s amazing the power and creativity that’s unleashed when you simply START something. It’s like writing essays (or at least the way I write essays). You gather your information, plan what you are going to say and then simply start – get it all out on the page, and then go back and tidy it up and add what’s missing. And although (in my experience) significant editing still has to occur, it’s surprising how much of the original words and paragraphs find themselves in the final essay. That’s the power of simply starting.
It appears to be the case with this blog. A few times already (I know it’s early days yet) I’ve started the blog not knowing what I was going to say, only to find that once I get rolling ideas and opinions come thick and fast. I just start and within a few lines I’m up and running. Now, sure, I’ve gone back and edited some of that stuff to get it more cohesive, but the point is still the same. You start – and away you go.
I wonder how much this can be applied to everyday life. I’m guessing that a lot of it can. For example, I’m learning Cantonese, and it’s not easy. One thing I need to do, and I’m dreading it, is to start talking in Cantonese to someone else. I can say things in Cantonese to myself, in a somewhat stilted manner, but I know that when I speak to someone else I will be much more self conscious and it will make it very difficult. But it has to be done. Otherwise I’ll never get beyond the basics.
This might be one case where the idea “just start” may not work as well as I am suggesting. I mean, I do need to just start, there’s no other way around it. And I do expect that sooner or later it will get easier, but I must confess I am thinking it will be later than sooner. And I’ll soon know one way or the other as I’ve booked a session for this Sunday to speak with a Cantonese person for 5 minutes in Cantonese only, and I’m dreading it. But it’s the only way to prepare for our visit to Hong Kong in late July. If I can’t speak in a controlled environment among friends, then how will I be able to communicate when I’m over there? (I know I can get away without speaking Cantonese when I’m there, but that’s beside the point).
Nevertheless, it may get easier sooner than I think. Once I get over the self consciousness, I may just bowl in there and start saying things without fear of sounding foolish (because I certainly will sound foolish). I might get reasonably close to saying something correctly, and surely that’s the point. As long as they can broadly understand what I am getting at, they can correct me and away we go. Fingers crossed.
Hopefully, this idea of just getting started will help me in other things too. I struggle to write songs (and therefore haven’t tried for a very long time). I can come up with riffs and chords, but creating a melody and interesting words is usually where I come a cropper. And in the same way as learning Cantonese is difficult initially, I doubt whether just starting will be enough. There will be a “hump” to get over – that point where words and/or melody just don’t want to come. But perhaps if I just create “something”, some words, some melody, and don’t critique myself too harshly, that might pave the way to the next song or round of words or melody. Yes, that seems feasible.
In concluding, I suppose just starting isn’t quite all it takes. The writing of the essay needs research and planning, the speaking of Cantonese takes the learning of the words and grammar first, the writing of a song presupposes the ability to create chords and riffs etc, and some of these things have massive humps that have to be got over first. But starting once you have the prerequisite tools (however basic) can be as simple as that. The hard work comes in assembling those tools in the first place – the decision, the commitment, the learning. But in applying what you’ve learned – JUST START! And my guess is it will flow a lot easier than you (or I) thought 🙂