What's Holding You Back Is Inspiring Your Competition
Yesterday, someone told me about the New York Times Bestselling novel they have brewing inside them. The only problem is, they can’t start working on it until they have a vintage mahogany table to write it on. And a new laptop. And can afford to move to the perfect house in the country because the city is too loud for beautiful writing.
Another friend pays a monthly storage fee for a busted-up classic car they plan to restore. Problem is, they can’t do the work unless they have a temperature-controlled garage. And top-of-the-line tools. And a special piece they need to order from eBay. So, it sits and sits, and they keep paying their storage bill.
You can exchange “writing” or “classic car” with pretty much anything. I have heard excuses for not going back to school, not applying to a new job, not moving to their dream city, not asking someone to grab lunch, not having kids, not starting a company, not uploading their music to SoundCloud, not saying “I’m sorry” to the one person who needs to hear it the most—the list goes on. If you wait until you have the perfect gear, the cleanest and most impressive office, the ideal number in your checking account, or “the right time”, you are focusing on the wrong thing. What’s stopping you from starting is what your competition calls inspiration.
In the early 1970s, George Lucas wrote drafts for all six Star Wars movies on a desk he made from three doors. Stephen King wrote his first novel, Carrie, in the back room of his trailer on a makeshift desk between the washing machine and dryer. The North Baltimore Aquatic Club, which could pass for an underfunded YMCA, has produced 10 Olympians, including Michael Phelps. Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Disney, and Hewlett-Packard (HP) were all started in garages, and WordPress, Yahoo!, Dell, Facebook, and Napster were started in dorm rooms.
You shouldn’t wait until you’re comfortable to start, because being comfortable isn’t going to make you successful. If anything, being a little uncomfortable will inspire you to work harder because you will want to get out of your trailer, basement, garage, dorm room, dim-lit office with the light that flickers, etc. There’s never going to be a single “right time” to start something new, because it’s always the right time to start doing something that matters (to you).
Andrew J. Wilt is the author of Age of Agility, a book that addresses the skill gap between school and work. He can be reached at Andrew.firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @andrewjwilt