When we are thinking of doing something new, we often consider RESEARCH to be the starting point. One of our favorite things to do when approaching a new space is to ask someone else what they did and then ask them what they think we should do.
After all, we’re not looking to reinvent the wheel, right? So, we conduct informational interviews and troll Youtubers telling us of their paths to fame. We seek to find the expert, that person who has been there already.
This is a great idea, save for one simple thing: you are not that person.
As Morpheus said to Neo in the Matrix, “There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”
RESEARCH helps us to reveal paths that were already there. And that may be enough for some, but what I’ve noticed in working with people, and in my own ventures, is that seeing someone else’s well-cleared path is usually not sufficient to get us started. Indeed, it can have the opposite effect: the path becomes both necessary and unappealing and therefore turns into a roadblock. Ironically, KNOWING the path can prevent us from WALKING the path.
It doesn’t matter how gorgeous, safe, proven, or celebrated that path is, if you’re not walking it, it ain’t the path for you.
With new adventures, the most important tenet is forward motion, not smart planning, so think about what you most want to do, shave off a little piece of that thing, and do it. If you follow your own curiosity and not someone else’ “tired and true” instructions, it is inevitable that you will move forward. And, although it’s uncomfortable walking knee-deep in weeds and barbs unsure of what lies ahead, it beats the heck out of standing still.