At one of my first jobs out of college, I worked at a very unique place where my employer was building a mono fin that strapped to your feet so you could swim like a dolphin. It was a pretty incredible manufacturing feat comprised of carbon fiber, CNC machined aluminum, and molded silicone rubber all working in concert to produce some serious underwater torque - enough to breach a human nearly completely out of the water.
Somehow the History Channel's show, Modern Marvels, caught wind and came out to the shop to film a segment on the underwater device. We were currently in the prototype stage and it wasn't 100% functional at the time.
My friend Nico, was swimming with it in the pool out back while the two man camera crew were trying to capture some footage of an actual swimmer using the thing. Nico would come out of the water telling me, and the crew, that the footplate was slipping, etc. and that it was difficult to get a proper stride going.
I knew that Modern Marvels wouldn't be coming back out to film if they didn't get what they needed during this trip, so I interrupted Nico, smiling and saying "Make it work!" "Just swim with it and make it work! They need the footage so make it work!" Nico glanced at me and sensed my motivation. With a quick smirk, he plunged back underwater and started swimming.
Ultimately they got the needed footage and the segment made it onto the show. Notice my sweet 15 seconds of fame at 1:50
My blogging streak was broken last week after a mere 3 days of consistent publishing. At first I felt justified since I left town for a funeral, but soon the feelings of failure crept in. If you're anything like me, you set out to do something, anything, and if you mess up a tiny portion of that thing, it feels like the whole endeavor is ruined. I had told myself that this wasn't going to work. I wouldn't be able to do it. All because of a minor setback like the footplate slipping on the mono fin during a camera shoot.
"I'm not good enough to do that. Maybe they can do that, but I can't because..." These are crippling thoughts and unless you cast them out quickly they'll cause the greatest of plans to shrivel up and die.
Here's a great quote from one of my favorite books, As a Man Thinketh:
"Having conceived of his purpose, a man should mentally mark out a straight pathway to its achievement, looking neither to the right nor the left. Doubts and fears should be rigorously excluded; they are disintegrating elements, which break up the straight line of effort, rendering it crooked, ineffectual, useless. Thoughts of doubt and fear never accomplished anything, and never can. They always lead to failure. Purpose, energy, power to do, and all strong thoughts cease when doubt and fear creep in."
Doubts and fears should be rigorously excluded. They are disintegrating elements. They break the straight line of effort. They accomplish nothing. Knowing this, why would anyone succumb to such a paralyzing state of mind. Because it's the easy way out.
It's easier to say, "Oh well I can't do that because [insert any statement here]." It takes virtually no effort whatsoever to be pessimistic and generate reasons why something can't work - why you can't wake up early, why you can't get that thing finished, why you can't start exercising, why you don't have time.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ― Henry Ford
Your mind has such incredible power over your actions, it's ridiculous. Over the weekend I was telling myself that I couldn't blog for 30 days straight - that I just wouldn't be able to make it work. To this I say, "poppycock." I will continue on and slay my fear and doubt.
The rest of the section in the book I mentioned early goes on to say:
The will to do springs from the knowledge that we can do. Doubt and fear are the great enemies of knowledge, and he who encourages them, who does not slay them, thwarts himself at every step.
He who has conquered doubt and fear has conquered failure. His every thought is allied with power, and all difficulties are bravely met and wisely overcome. His purposes are seasonably planted, and they bloom and bring forth fruit, which does not fall prematurely to the ground.
Thought allied fearlessly to purpose becomes creative force: he who knows this is ready to become something higher and stronger than a mere bundle of wavering thoughts and fluctuating sensations; he who does this has become the conscious and intelligent wielder of his mental powers.
What have lies have you told yourself that are keeping you from doing the thing that you really want to do? What's to stop you from getting started today?