“Always think with your stick forward.”
These were the words Amelia Earhart painted on the side of the plane she flew across the Atlantic, and their message is clear: above all, you have to maintain speed or you’re going to crash.
We often wait too long to take action when we’re not faced with outside threats or pressure. We can always find excuses to wait until the next day or week or month or to just give up altogether.
Don’t feel like you’re ready yet? Who cares–feelings are fickle and irrelevant. Disregard them and just jam the stick forward.
Waiting for inspiration? “Inspiration” is just an excuse for people that aren’t doing anything. Punch the throttle.
Think it’s going to be too hard or that you don’t have what it takes? Stop thinking and just do something. Give yourself the chance to prove yourself wrong.
It’s going to be a bumpy ride at first. Your engines are going to sputter and stall. You’re going to wonder if you’re headed in the right direction. You’re going to realize how little you know about the journey ahead.
But all that doesn’t matter. All that matters is you’re building airspeed. So long as you maintain it, you’ll eventually get into flight. And so long as you can stay in the air, you can buy time to correct your course.
Dropping the aeronautical metaphor for a minute, here’s the crux of this article: lack of progress is anathema to anyone with aspirations.
Just one step in the right direction can crack the panic and despair that sets in when you get nothing meaningful done day after day. All it takes is one effective action to show yourself you can do the work.
Progress, no matter how minor, is reassuring. It teaches us that the way to do anything is the way to do everything.
When I first decided to write and publish my first book, Bigger Leaner Stronger, I had plenty of reasons to procrastinate. I had no Website, no following, no connections or expertise in the fitness or publishing industries, no marketing plan, and, quite frankly, no particular reason to expect much success.
I didn’t care about any of that, though. Here’s what I knew: I’m good at getting into motion and building momentum and I’m good at figuring things out.
That was two years ago, and I’ve since sold nearly 80,000 copies of Bigger Leaner Stronger and now have one of the largest publishers in the world chomping at the bit to buy the rights to the second edition (which I’m almost done writing!).
This website, Muscle for Life, is more of the same. When my business partner Jeremy and I launched it in March of last year, we had no experience building a blog and nobody to help us.
No matter. We spent a few weeks reading up on best practices, decided on a reasonable strategy of just creating a lot of valuable, SEO-friendly content and being as helpful as possible, had the Website built, and got going.
Now, just 1.5 years later, MFL is receiving over 700,000 visits per month and will break 1mm per month by the end of the year. Not bad for a couple of amateurs.
I could give more examples–Legion, my other writing endeavors, hell, even my recent foray into golf–but I think you get the idea:
When it comes to making stuff happen, the absolute worst thing to do is nothing.
Don’t let the big picture overwhelm and paralyze you. Just get moving and trust in the process instead.