The Importance Of Starting

The Importance Of Starting

Why we need to stop being afraid and start working towards the life we dream of.
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“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” ~Mark Twain

After realizing that we are not where we want to be in our lives, doing something about it tends to become an idea that is rarely followed up with action. Once we get caught up in a routine – whether we view it as a safety net or a rut – it is easy to keep going through the motions. Sure, we may daydream about what more we can do, or we end up moping about how we allowed our lives to become so monotonous. Either way, we stagnate. We remain still. We throw pity party after pity party for ourselves that no one would show up to even if we bothered to send out invitations. We do nothing and accept that this is our life now.

That alone is why starting is the biggest step we could take. The idea of doing something – anything – to improve our lives is better than sitting back, doing nothing, and being bitter about it. Even if it is as simple as altering the routine to incorporate more vegetables or as drastic as deciding on a new career, it is a new beginning.

So, if all we have to do to improve our lives is to start working towards our goals or making changes, why don’t we? The answer, unfortunately, has been with us for millions of years. We are humans, and we are afraid.

Fear is the underlying creature that prevents us from going forward. We are afraid of failure, having difficult discussions, rejection, getting our hearts broken, not being able to compete with our peers, becoming resentful of others, and the list goes on. The worries of negative outcomes are so overpowering that we do not consider the positives. Success, resolution, acceptance, finding happily-ever-after with the partner of our dreams, thriving, or finding a new love of humanity. Now, isn’t taking a chance of finding happiness or achieving all we dreamed worth the risk? The answer should be “yes, absolutely!”

But when fear makes a nice little home for itself in our heads, we reexamine our situation. We start defending our lifestyle, or else start convincing ourselves that it is not that bad.

Yeah, we may not have our dream job and we dread going to work every day, but it pays the bills.

Never mind the fact that the spark from a relationship is gone. We still like our partners enough, so why rock the boat?

Oh, an amazing opportunity to attend a distinguished university is knocking at the door . . . but it is too far from home. That’s okay, there are other schools.

You know, we always wanted to chase that one dream, but it is unrealistic that we will ever achieve it, so why try?

It is easier to put up with current circumstances than to make changes. We make excuses. We talk ourselves out of it. We can tell ourselves that we are being rational, realistic, or that we are overreacting about how bad things really are. The truth is that we are scared. Not to insinuate that being cautious is a bad thing. On the contrary, when we make drastic changes it is good to have a stable head on our shoulders. It is normal to doubt and second guess, but it should not be our kryptonite. We can weigh the pros and cons (in fact, we should), and explore all the options. One can say they want to be an actor/actress but should not necessarily go on the first thought of uplifting their family to Hollywood. Alternatively, they could enroll themselves in local theatre, learn about the industry, educate themselves on casting agents, and investigate any independent talent in the area. In short, there are numerous approaches to accomplishing goals. Look through them all, see which one seems to be the best fit, and go for it. Just do not be scared away because it seems daunting or impossible.

The reality is that very rarely does anything happen when we just sit and wait for something to happen. Okay, it is possible the we will fail . . . but it is equally possible that we will not. Amazingly, a lot of how our story ends will depend on us. The brilliant thing about failing is that it is not always the be-all, end-all of our lives. Rather, failure is a setback. We will have the opportunity to try again. Circumstances may vary, but the only time we completely fail is when we stop trying to reverse our setbacks. If we keep being resilient, keep working, keeping trying, and continue pushing ourselves forward, we will eventually get to where we want to be. The only time that stops becoming a possibility is when we stop trying.

Our future – the one of our dreams – is out there, but it will not get here with us sitting idly by. Our dream jobs are not going to fall into our laps, so we should start taking the steps to get it. We are not going to get an education by dreaming about it, so it’s time to take a trip to our local community college to explore the options. The attractive person we always see at the coffee shop may just be the person of our soulmate, but they are too shy to ask us out, so it is up to us to take the chance. Nothing is going to be accomplished with us wondering about what could happen. That will come with us doing. The procrastination, fears, and excuses stop here.

Challenge: Start the change. Let’s weigh the options and talk ourselves out of being afraid. If we do not take action and if we are discontent with our lives because of it, we have no one to blame but ourselves. On our marks . . . get set . . . START.

Cover Image Credit: Tara Barksdale

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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I Would Advise You To Keep My Name Out Of Your Mouth If You Have Never Met Me

College is hard enough without having to endure drama from people you've never met.

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The first year of college is one of the most trying times for anyone. It's the first time that you're fully independent of your parents, where you have to wake yourself up for your classes because your roommate probably doesn't have your exact schedule, you eat when the spirit moves you, and you prioritize your time in any way you want. College is a time of growth, where you leave behind your 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. high school experience and have to start over.

Yet, I've realized that some people can't leave high school behind, and bring with them the petty drama and unnecessary rumors that littered the halls of high school and spread like wildfire. There is a consistent stream of gossip and preconceived notions that ruin a potential future relationship between two people, all because someone decided that a rumor they heard about someone else was worth sharing.

I understand why people hold on to the drama that is caused when other people decide to gossip. But, for the people who learn about their reputation from their friends, because someone decided to share it with them and, being a good friend, they told them what someone had said, it's hard. College is the first time where you get to go out on your own and live life as a semi-functioning adult, and no one wants to be dragged back to their high school experience.

For the people who bring high school to college with them and the people who believe rumors about someone even if they haven't met that person, you need to get over yourself. It is not fair to the people about whom you're talking. Imagine if it happened to you. College is a challenging time, the coursework is more difficult and there is no one there to tell you what to do with your time. It is hard enough to balance academic coursework with a social life and extracurricular activities, not including being able to maintain strong mental health. Although it can be heartbreaking to hear rumors that have been said, it can show you who your true friends are. There are a lot of people you meet when starting college who seem like they could be your best friends, but as soon as you turn your back, they're whispering about you. There is no doubt in my mind that my close friends would be the first to speak up on my behalf if they heard something negative about me. And that means more to me than a reputation.

It's easier said than done not to let rumors and other people's perception affect you. The difference being let it hurt you and accepting that there's nothing you can do are two very separate things. But what other people think of you is something that is entirely outside of your control, and all that you can really do is decide not to let it be known that it bothers you. You have every right to be upset if you hear something negative about yourself, especially if it isn't true or something you did has been blown out of proportion. There is no definitive list of traits that a person can have to be strong, and there is not a list of actions that you can take in order to move on from being hurt by rumors. But the most important thing that you can do for yourself is to move on. To make sure that you are happy and comfortable in your own skin. It may seem like a burden to fully accept yourself and like every single thing about yourself. No one is perfect.

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