Starting or Stopping?

We need to start so that we can gain the momentum to win. But starting is the hardest part. Starting is more than pressing start to play a game. Starting is more than taking your first step in a journey of a thousand steps.

The first step is hard and necessary, like static friction, where it’s harder to move an object at rest than it is to move an object that is moving.

However, the first step isn’t everything like the Chinese baobab and farmer story where the farmer had to take care of the baobab daily with it barely growing for five years. Then it shot up fast after the 5th year.

We need to start accelerating to go faster and build the momentum to push through obstacles that try to slow us down. We need to start changing directions to get to our destination when the path we’re currently taking isn’t the best one. We need to start taking each step after the first step in the journey of a thousand steps; then begin the next adventure. We need to start getting up when we fall.

If we’re not starting to start, we’re beginning to stop. If we’re not starting, we’ve finished. An analogy is how to cook a frog story where a frog is in water that gradually increases in temperature. The frog doesn’t notice until it has been boiled. However, if the frog is placed directly in boiling water, it notices and jumps out. We need to see and act on what’s happening to us, especially the small changes over time.

Did you come this far only to come this far? Will you only start to try to pull it off or will you pull it off? In the end, the choice is yours.

There is always an opportunity to get better. Plateaus are opportunities to get to the next level. Once you achieve a goal set the next one and work towards it. We’re either climbing or falling. We need to overcome the inertia that prevents positive progress.

Action steps:

i) Have goals (SMART goals) and work towards them in the short run (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly, five years) to keep moving forward.

ii) Have an awareness of your progress towards the goals and the impact this may have in the long run.

iii) Based on your goals and development, adjust (improve systems, processes, e.t.c.) to get better.

Action & Identity

When choosing, it’s not about action. It’s about identity.

The impact of a decision on our future identity is a more significant guide in decision making than the effect of the decision on our planned activities. The prioritization of the impact on our future identities is because a character is long run and informs short-run actions.

There are many actions we can take, not all of them positive, thinking about identity reduces the number of activities to the ones positive for a character.

The argument isn’t we should spend all of our time thinking about identity and not living in the present at all. 20% on character and 80% on the action is the right mix. Choosing to learn from the short-run can help inform the long run. To change your results (activity), you need to change who you are (character). You change who you are through actions. Starting with who you are changing to helps you choose the actions that will improve who you are.

Action step:
i) Write a to be list before a to-do list. Why are you doing all those actions? Start with why. Start with what is essential.


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Identity is represented by blue, to represent water from sources such as rain (that contributes to groundwater). Action is represented by green, to represent life such as trees. In space, exploration, water is a popular proxy for life. Water (e.g. rain) influences life (e.g. trees) and trees (action) influence rain (identity).