What are you waiting for?

Reading time ~ 4 minutes

How many things are there that you would like to do, to learn or to change? And how often didn’t you start doing, learning or changing these things because you were waiting for something? Some reason to do it, some sign to start, some person to help, some weather to change, some magical future day to arrive?

There are dozens of things every one of us wants to do. Or skills we want to learn. Or parts of our life we want to change. And most of the time we don’t even start. Or we start for like a second, don’t get the desired result immediately and stop.

Is it because we are just all lazy people? Or because we aren’t smart enough to do it? Or because we aren’t talented enough? I don’t think so. Many people succeeded but weren’t initially particularly clever, talented or skilled.

I think there are two main reasons for not starting: we are afraid, and we don’t know why we are doing it. So let’s try to break it down.

Being afraid is a very natural and crucial human behaviour. Our mind wants us to survive, and so it is afraid of almost everything. This way we can react to danger and be safe. And that’s vital otherwise, we would take too many risks and eventually get hurt or die. And that’s not what we are striving for. So it is good that we are afraid, especially of new things. Because who knows what will happen, so it is for the best that we drive carefully with our new car or evaluate our steps while hiking. But it gets in our way when we want to learn a new language or want to perform our songs in front of people or want to change our job or our life or anything else, not particularly life threatening.

So how to solve this problem? The worst thing to do is to wait until you aren’t afraid anymore because that probably will never happen. So you have to learn to live with your fear. You even can appreciate your fear for what it is: the reason you are still alive. And in knowing, accepting and appreciating your fear you can start to decide if something is really dangerous or if it’s not that life threatening to start going to the yoga class, learn how to play the guitar, change your wardrobe or write and publish blog posts (yes, that’s me). The worst thing that could happen? You look kind of stupid the first few times you are trying to do yoga, you sound terrible when you start learning to play the guitar, people criticise your new clothes or nobody is reading your blog posts (Aaah). But that’s it. Nothing life threatening, nothing dangerous.

So let’s move on to the next point: the why in everything.

We often know what we want to do, learn or change. And from knowing the what we quickly can figure out how we can do, learn or change it. So with the what and the how we can get started. But still, we don’t get it done. And that’s when the why gets important. Because knowing what and how gets you nowhere when you don’t know why you are doing it.

With knowing why it becomes meaningful, it becomes important, it becomes doable, learnable, changeable.

Why? Because when you want to lose weight, you know what you want to do. And there are a lot of resources to find out how you can do it. But when there isn’t a good reason why you want to do it, there is only a slim chance to succeed. And if you want to learn a new language there are many possibilities to do so, but if you don’t know why you are doing it, the chances are that you stop after a few lessons. And if you want to write things and post them regularly, the chances are that you won’t do it often if there isn’t a reason why you are doing it.

There are countless things everyone wants to do, learn and change. But most people have no clue why they want that particular thing. And that’s ok. We don’t all need to become great poets, artist, learn Chinese, lose weight, travel the world, run 10k, and so on.

But there are some things we truly want to do, learn or change. And by evaluating everything we think we want, we can find the few, the important, the ones with the why. And when we find them we can appreciate our fear because it just wants to protect us. And then we can start doing, learning, changing and becoming the person we actually want to be.

So, what are you waiting for?!