Normally when I’m about write another entry here on this blog, it is because during the day something that has made me think of an idea that I feel would be of interest to you, the readers.
I plunk myself down in front of the computer screen and start typing away.
I start with my titles and then make a few notes of what I want to include, sort of like an outline but with no set order.
In essence I’m brainstorming.
Then once I’ve got enough ideas down I get started but as I go through the process of writing one entry I hit on another idea so I flip open another window and jot it down. Always linking it to a new title so I can come back to it later.
There are days when I start writing 5 or 6 new entries.
One of the benefits of doing things this way is I’ve found I can avoid the dreaded writer’s block. Writer’s block is caused by our minds limiting our thoughts to focus on one single topic. By flipping back and forth between ideas I’m able to keep my mind fresh.
And it’s not uncommon for me to get so excited about a new idea that I end up leaving my original thought for another night.
The reason for this is because it’s important to use passion when we write. Passion are the creative juices that allow us to capture our message more easily. More importantly, passion is felt by our audience.
Today nothing felt right so I decided to try something different.
I just decided to start typing and see where it leads me.
I honestly have no idea where this post will go but what I have found is that if you get started on something an amazing thing happens; things start coming together and before you know it you’re done.
It’s like looking at a jigsaw puzzle when you open the box – hundreds of little pieces are just staring at you waiting for us to do something with them.
Personally I never had the patience for jigsaws so despite getting some as X-Mas presents from relatives I never finished one.
I would simply lose interest and give up.
But when I was about to move into my first apartment I was looking for things to spruce up the place and came across a jigsaw that was just what I was looking for.
Up close you’d see that each piece was a different frame from a Disney cartoon. Take a few steps back it created a single picture of Mickey Mouse. A stunning mosaic.
Only one problem? 1000 pieces.
But I made up my mind – I would get it done so I set aside 4 hours a day each day for a week and somehow come Friday the puzzle was complete.
20 hours of hard, mind numbing trying and retrying piece after piece. But the hard work paid off…and that piece of artwork took its place on the wall across from my bed for 3 years. (here in Japan they sell frames specifically made for different jigsaw puzzles so we can display our masterpieces)
Looking back at some of the challenges I have set for myself this has to rank up there as one of my greatest accomplishments.
It might not compare to being a father or writing a book but for me this was a personal challenge.
Before we take the first step to overcoming our fears, writing a book, performing in front of hundreds, running a marathon or simply making a jigsaw we must first DECIDE.
Then comes ACTION.
Some goals are more difficult than others. Some may take us a few hours, others a few years.
But no matter what the goal may be, each goal consists of small steps.
Rather than thinking of how we will be able to get from A to Z, we should be thinking of how we can get from A to B.
In the case of my jigsaw puzzle this is how I broke it down:
- Separate the pieces with a straight edge from all the others.
- Create the border.
- Separate the remaining pieces into colors. (the first three steps took 4 hours alone)
- Work on one certain color area that seemed the easiest.
- Work on another area.
- Then once all the easier areas are done, start work on the more challenging areas.
- Completion (and me jumping up and down)
I could hardly believe how tedious the whole process was. But what kept me going was seeing that picture on my wall.
Each day, even if I didn’t make as much progress as I had hoped (especially the first day), I could see that something had been done. This was key. There’s nothing worse than working hard for hours with nothing to show for it. We need to feel as if things are getting done, no matter how small.
In life though sometimes even our best efforts end in failure.
But failure is simply an opportunity from which we can learn from to apply in our future endeavors.
Speaking from experience I can say that my greatest failures have become some of my most valuable lessons.
Tony Robbins, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Michael Jordan, Walt Disney, Akio Morita (Sony founder), Albert Einstein, and Winston Churchill all had their failures. And yet today not one of these men is associated with failure but rather incredible success.
Failure can make us stronger if we let it.
So there you have it. A simple formula for success.
- Decide – Start – Break Things Down Into Manageable Goals – Persevere – (Fail – Try Again – Persevere – Fail – Try Again – Persevere) = Success
And with that, I’ll end today’s entry.
I started with no particular idea in mind other than writing but simply getting started I compelled myself to finish it.
It’s the starting that’s always the hard part.
So whatever you want, get started.