The Power of Beginning: Three Thoughts from the Last 2400 Years

Image: / CC BY-SA 2.0

“All glory comes from daring to begin.”
Eugene F. Ware

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

A few days ago I wrote about how to make that change you really want to stick this year. Today I’d like to continue on the theme of newness and fresh changes with this companion piece.

1. There is always a new beginning.

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.”

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”
Helen Keller

How often do we not miss the window of opportunity in a new situation just because we are still angry, sad or frustrated about that other door that just closed?

To me this is another powerful reason to remind myself to stay in the present. To not get stuck and hung up on missed opportunities. When you are living in the present – which is a way to live on the positive and open part of the emotional scale too – and not stuck in the past I have found that it is a lot easier to find the hidden opportunities in any situation.

So whenever you see a door closing, take your eyes off it at least pretty shortly after. And instead of letting your awareness linger on what is in the past, use your time and focus to find the new opportunity that lets you continue the unpredictable adventure that is life.

2. Just get started.

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
Lao Tzu

“So many fail because they don't get started – they don't go. They don't overcome inertia. They don't begin.”
W. Clement Stone

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”
Mark Twain

Sitting at home on your hands and thinking about something or hoping will not get you far. To get something out of life you have to get going. It’s not always easy though as fear and inner resistance and simple inertia holds you in your place. So how can you make it easier?

Well, you can certainly do what Mark Twain recommended, it works very well. You can also:

  • Ask yourself: What is the worst that could happen? A lot of the fear we feel before getting started comes from fuzzy and foggy thoughts about what could happen. But if you actually imagine the worst scenario then it’s often not as frightening as you thought. You won’t die or anything. And it won’t ruin the rest of your life. Imagine the worst scenario and then try to create a plan focused on how you could get on your feet again if that scenario, against all probability, should happen. You’ll realize that whatever your fear is you could probably get back on your feet and back to normal life pretty quickly once again.
  • Make a list of the reasons to get started. Do it on paper, on your computer or just in your head. When you stuck in fear and inaction it’s very easy to just focus on the negative aspects such as it being hard work or the risk of pain or failure. So you need to change what you are focusing on to motivate yourself to take action. Making a list of positives like benefits and possible opportunities can be very effective for turning your focus around.

3. The beginning doesn’t have to be perfect.

“Beginnings are always messy”
John Galsworth

“All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. Great works are often born on a street corner or in a restaurant's revolving door.”
Albert Camus

When you read personal development blogs or books it’s easy to be lulled into a feeling of enthusiasm where everything will go smoothly if you just stick to the plan.

But reality is a bit more messy. Plans go out the window or may need to be modified as soon as you put them into action. That’s OK. That’s normal. Be prepared for that. It doesn’t mean that what you learned won’t work. It just means that a book or article can’t explain all the intricacies of your life and situation. There will always be a bit of simplification and things that piece of text could not predict.

So don’t go looking for perfect beginnings (or situations in general). Such hopes just tend to disappoint you since nothing or no one can live up to such unrealistic expectations. Instead, accept that this is how life is.

This is also why perseverance, patience and going after what you really, really want is essential. Without those things you’ll fold and give up when you hit a snag, bump or fall flat on your face.

Also, always keep a pen and paper – or a cellphone – nearby to write down all the great ideas that come to you in the strangest places.

Free Exclusive Happiness Tips

Subscribe to The Positivity Newsletter and get weekly tips on happiness, self-esteem and plenty more.

You’ll also get three free guides on how to stop being lazy, what to do when life sucks and 21 things I wish they’d taught me in school.

100% privacy and no spam. You can unsubscribe anytime.

About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.