How to Start When You Don’t Know Where to Start

The best productivity advice I’ve ever heard, from How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living by Rob Bell.


Way too often, we don’t start things because we can’t get our minds round the WHOLE thing. We don’t take the first step because we can’t figure out the seventeenth step.


But you don’t need to know the seventeenth step. You only need to know the first step. Because the first number is always 1.


That’s where you start. With 1.


It’s too overwhelming otherwise. It’s too easy to be caught up in endless thoughts: what if step 4 doesn’t work? Or what if there isn’t money for step 11? What if people don’t like the results of step 6?


You have no idea what the answers are to any those questions . 


The only thing that wondering and speculating will do is separate you from the present moment. 


When you begin, the seventeenth step is sixteen steps away. You don’t have to know how to do it, or what it is, or even when it is.


Because the first number is always 1.


It’s not 5, then 8, then 24 then 62.7


It’s 1, then 2, then 3…


Your 1 may be making a phone call or an appointment or filling out a form — it may be a fairly simple task and yet it may seem like the biggest, most impossibly massive task in the world. This is totally normal.


To do anything new — to do the 1 — requires tremendous mental fortitude to not think about 2 or 7 yet.


That time will come. And it is not now.


Now is the time for 1.


So, when tackling a project or creative pursuit, break it down into the next step and ONLY the next step.


The next sentence.


The next phone call.


The next meeting.


The next email.


Some people are stuck, and they remain stuck because they can’t get their minds around the whole thing.


But you don’t have to get your mind around the whole thing. You only have to get your mind around the 1.


Start with 1.


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