Nothing scares me more then How.
I look back at all of my failures, half completed projects and ideas that inspired me but not enough for me to take action; and the thing that ties them together is the ‘How‘
In my childhood years, how didn’t really exist. I’d see a tree, tell myself I’m getting to the top, things would just happen and I’d be making wolf howling sounds from the highest branch.
I saw people roller skating backwards and doing tricks, bought a pair of skates (or rather, begged my Dad to buy me a pair) and bruised/scraped my knees and elbows 200+ times until I could skate backwards and do tricks too.
I never stopped for a second to debate how I was getting to an end point before just getting started with it.
Sure, I got frustrated and failed, often painfully, a bunch of times. I still have old scar marks from when I tried spinning on my skates while going a little too fast, and from tree branches snapping under my chubby pre-teen frame.
I’d sometimes get wrapped up in little things that stopped progress too, like arguing with the neighbor girl over whether ‘blades’ or ‘quads’ were cooler. I appreciate both these days, although quads have the retro quality to them and are more comfortable 😉
But, despite the shiny, glittery things that distract the mind of a 10 year old (“ooh, new transformer toys”), I was accomplishing things at a rate that would make David Allen envious.
These days, as soon as I get a new idea or am presented with a cool concept or goal, my brain stops in it’s tracks and ponders “how the hell am I going to do that”.
The how is a trigger for the brain to start highlighting my fears. “Am I smart enough”, “what will happen if I don’t hit the mark”, “should I even try?” – all responses to the How question I instinctively ask myself when presented with a challenge.
My solution as of late has been to ignore the how, and focus instead on immediately assessing the value of overcoming a challenge when it’s presented. If it’s worth it – get started and the how will come; either I’ll dig in to that experience bank I’ve been building to guide me, or I end up just figuring it out/bluffing/mac-guyvering my way through it. Often the approach involves a lot of both.
The strange thing I’m noticing is that a lot of, if not all, people are doing exactly the same. That lad or ladette who you thought knew everything about the game, they’re likely stumbling their way through too – figuring out things as they go and drawing on experience when they can. They just started earlier, and probably had to get over their fear of how, just like you.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I just noticed a tree that looks ripe for climbing.