November 3

On Getting Started


As the first post for this blog, this one is a little different. While 80% or more of the post will be about a particular book and/or software, this one is about how I FINALLY got started after years of “learning”. My hope is that it will help you get started if that something you’re struggling with.

Making It Easy Waking up At 6:00 AM

The year I turned 12, I moved from VT to CA and I started getting up on my own at six or seven, I can’t remember the exact time but it was early for me. At the time I wanted to get up to finish all my schoolwork – I was homeschooled so I had a certain amount of things to do each day rather than an amount of time to be in school.

There’s a good chance you have at least one of three thoughts right now: Good for you, you started getting up at six and now it’s easy for you. What does this have to do with making it easy?  This guy was homeschooled he’s probably a little weird (this part is true, but according to Daniel Tosh it also means statistically I’m smarter than you. Although my grammar would suggest otherwise).

To address these respectively…

I don’t actually remember my reason or “why” for starting to get up early. And therein lies the point. We don’t always need a reason; in fact, looking for a reason can cause us to come up with stories that can actually prevent us from doing the thing. At that time, I didn’t spend any time thinking about a grandiose “why” or what I wanted out of life, I just wanted to be done with my homework ASAP and I didn’t think about whether I could or couldn’t get it done early, I just did it because I wanted to.

Did I continue to wake up early? No, I only did that for maybe that school year at best. I quickly got distracted by other things. But in my early twenties, I wanted to be productive, successful etc. so I started watching videos and dabbling in books and learned how to be motivated and productive and now I get up early every day with ease… Just kidding, it got way worse.

I started over analyzing and trying to use every technique I learned. I tried to do everything logically and listened to people that I saw as smarter than me – even when I believed what they were doing wouldn’t work for me. I ended up borderline depressed for a few months, and then hating my work for 3 years. Instead of waking up early and getting stuff done I was waking up late and angry and pretty much accomplishing nothing.

Finally, I decided I didn’t want to wake up angry 5-6 days a week. While the reasons for this are obvious, I didn’t justify my reasons and certainly didn’t have a very grandiose “why”. I also didn’t immediately start getting up earlier or waking up happy every day (in truth, I still have a day here and there when I’ll wake up angry). All I did was take the first possible route out, get a job doing something I enjoyed a bit, didn’t need to love it, didn’t need to be crazy passionate about it, just knew I enjoyed it. For me that was software.

It took me one year and two months to get my software job, the one I have now. I believe there are two reasons I was able to make this career change. One, I started telling everyone I knew and met that I was looking for software developer work before I was ready, so I started doing the thing before I over planned it. Two, and this is the much more important one, no person, book, or video suggested this was the thing to do; I believed that it was the solution to my problem.

Finally, we get to making it easy and waking up at 6:00 am.

As I mentioned before, I believed working in software was the solution to my problem. We act based on our beliefs not what we know. We believe what think, and know what we learn. This is why you can know how and what to do but still not do it.

A few months ago I was still struggling with waking up early. I was told by a coach that I was lazy. He put it very simply, and my thought was that I am not lazy, only last summer I worked 48 hours strait once a week almost every week on top of working 8-10 hours the rest of the week. So I then thought, I must be acting lazy because I’m not. Now, I usually get up at about 6:00 am and it’s pretty easy because I believe that I’m not lazy so getting up early is not hard for me and I don’t analyze it beyond that.

How this got me started

I sort of wish I had more to write in this part of the post, but at the moment it’s pretty simple. Finally getting up at 6:00 am almost every week day gave me more time to do stuff like write this blog.

Yes, the goal of the blog is to earn money by getting more clients and selling some books and software that I like. And, yes, I have a “why” that is pretty grandiose – to be to be influential, free and (to use Gary V’s word), provide a “fancy” life for me and my family.

But, I want to re-iterate that stopping the analyzing and looking for my “why” was the biggest jump start. In fact, when I first started getting up earlier, I wasn’t being productive, most of the time I was just watching YouTube or planning out things. And the only reason I was getting up early was because I wanted to be disciplined.

It’s been about two months and only this week have I finally actually started creating and publishing content (like this blog) when I get up. Next I’ll be doing client work and editing posts on the blog – I’m well aware that this post can (and will) be written much better.

In summary, you don’t need a big “why” to get started. It actually hurt me looking for a big why because I was looking for a reason to do what I wanted, I was looking for justification. When I finally figured I’m gonna do what I want to do simply because I want to, I was able to start.

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