August 29, 2015
When people talk about their origin stories, there’s one thread that seems to be relatively common, give or take a few creators. At some point, the creator “just finally did it.”
There’s a moment of — let’s call it “reckless abandon”, or as Ex Machina refers to it, a Pollock-ian moment of disregard or entropy or untargeted action — the moment where we say “I’m not sure if this step is perfect or calculated quite correctly, but I’m going to invest a little bit more than just thought.”
That moment seems to be such an important catalyst, and I don’t fully know why, but I have a guess.
I think that we have a very hard time as humans understanding our potential and our ability to accomplish things in the world until we accomplish the smallest part.
In the same way that water seems terrifying until you swim for the first time as a child, and in the same way that programming seems intimidating to those who have never been exposed to a single line of code - in the same way, anything we have on our list of “what I’d like to do with my life” can seem distant until we take the first step.
It’s not a hack. It’s just some basic psychology. Once something is quantified, it is no longer nearly as mysterious.
So - what exactly, specifically, and concretely, are you doing to accomplish the thing you want to accomplish? Are you acting, or are you thinking?
Think of it as a type of a meditation. When you simply sit in deep thought (NOT meditation), you lose sight of the reality of your goals much more easily. But, if you instead act in the world with slightly less value placed on intention and a bit more value placed on action, you’ll be surprised by what anchors you begin to drop into the ground, and how much easier it will become to imagine your aspirations, finally, as achievable.
Written by Jonathan Cutrell, engineer and podcast host amongst other things. You can follow him on Twitter at @jcutrell.