Put a fire in your belly: overcome inertia, forget fear and get things done

Posted on Oct 20th, 2009 | Planning

Is something holding you back? Are you contemplating change, but struggling to make the leap? I can’t tell you how to motivate yourself. But I can write about the things that help me get going

Grab life by the balls and enjoy yourself… while you can

Just do something

Do anything. You can only build momentum if you start pushing.

But you’ll be glad to hear that momentum will be kind to you. If you can just do one thing, one little thing, you’ll find that momentum starts nudging you along. And then you’ll be more energised and more able to drive yourself forward. All you need to do is to take that first step. You are a snowball waiting to happen.

Not working? Try making a list

Think about the steps you must take to achieve your goal. Write them down. Which step comes first? How hard is that first step? What risks are involved? What are you afraid of? How can you mitigate that fear? How can you accept the fear and do it anyway?

Everyone is terrified. It’s not just you

It’s good to remember that:

  • Most people get scared about making changes.
  • Most people get nervous (or excited) when trying new things.
  • Most people accept the fear, excitement and nerves that come with new challenges.
  • It’s natural to get nervous or scared when embracing change. It’s a healthy reaction, so don’t fear or resist it.

Scared of something?

Is there something that terrifies you? Is a fear of something or someone holding you back?

It seems that the one sure-fire way to beat fear is to embrace the thing that scares you. Don’t avoid the object of your fears; seek it out – get close to it. Pursue it.

Relentlessly hunt the things that scare you

Read this if you can’t even do just one thing.

Okay, so for whatever reason you just can’t get started. You’re dithering, gripped with fear, inertia, sheer laziness or a mixture of those things. Don’t worry – we’ve all been there. It’s frustrating, but you can get beyond this phase.

Here’s the nuclear option for overcoming inertia:

Consider your own mortality. You are going to die. I’m going to die. We’re all going to die. Think about what that really means. It means that your time here is limited. It could end tomorrow. You are not immortal, so you will definitely die. Your time in this world is very limited. Your days are numbered.

If you can bear to waste a moment of your limited days on fruitless pursuits or being bored, or inert, or lazy, then you should applaud the strength of whatever it is that’s holding you back.

Existential terror as a motivational device

Imagine that you live to be 99 years old. When you die you get the chance to talk to the you of today. What lessons or advice do you think the aged and exhausted you would have for the you of today? Imagine that you can look back over your entire life and see clearly the missed opportunities – what advice do you think your old self would have for your young self?

Life is slipping through your fingers. You may be afraid of getting things wrong, over-extending yourself, failing or being ridiculed, but you should be much more afraid of wasting your one chance to live


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Written by Lief Kendall

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