The Power of Getting Started

Discover what children know about the joy of doing. (Photo credit: Pixabay.)

A FASCINATING BLOG POST BY AUSTIN KLEON explains why it’s nearly impossible for adults to fake kids’ line drawings. He summarizes a child’s approach with this question: “What if that’s what a line looks like, not just when you’re getting an idea, but that the line itself is giving you an idea”?


Apparently, young children discover what they want to draw while they draw it. According to Kleon, they get their next idea from the line they’re drawing at the moment.*


Lining Up Your Life


When applied to your desire to do Different, this idea can be incredibly liberating. It might even make the difference between whether you remain stuck wherever you are versus heading out on your real vision for life.


What if you discover what matters most to you and how you want to do Different while you’re doing it?


“Going for it” and discovering along the way eliminates the potential paralysis of analysis that comes with stewing over how to make all the right plans to launch yourself (for more on this “ready-fire-aim” approach, see my post “Over-Planning = Under-Doing”).


The point is: Just get started.


Take a baby step toward Different, and then you’ll discover what to do next. The only obstacle is this: In order for that approach to work, you have to start. And here’s where chickens and turkeys are helpful.


Fear > Stupid


In our country living adventure, we’ve raised both chickens and turkeys and have become all-too-aware of the unimpressive intellectual capabilities of each.

Better to be a chicken than a turkey. (Photo by Anna Rose.)

Chickens run from you in fear, even if you bring good things to them, like food and water. It doesn’t matter if they’ve witnessed your kindness 400 times. They’re still afraid.


Turkeys aren’t much braver, but they might actually be a bit more stupid than chickens. I once tried to coax a turkey into the shelter he wanted to be in for the night, but as soon as he took a single step past the 3-foot-wide opening, he couldn’t figure out that the best way to get in was to turn around. Instead, I had to herd him all the way around the pen again to get back to the door.


So, if simply “going for it” scares you, take heart. It’s better to be a chicken than a turkey. Afraid is better than stupid, because it’s easier to overcome fear.


“You can’t fix stupid” is true. But you can learn quickly not to be afraid of new and Different.

Once you get started drawing the lines, the feeling of movement, of freedom, of progress toward a goal you really want to achieve will fuel your energy to keep going.

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* See Austin Kleon’s original post here: https://austinkleon.com/2019/11/04/why-its-hard-to-fake-kids-drawings/

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