If You Want To Beat Your Competition, You Just Have To Start

There is a sharp drop-off rate for everything in life.

But if you can push through this dip, you can achieve truly extraordinary goals.

As I’m writing this, I’m in week three of a four-week online course on growing your business. Every day, each student (there are 900+ in my class) is required to comment on a Facebook post and announce they’ve completed their daily homework.

Day 1 had over 500+ people declare they had completed their assignment.

But now, just 2 weeks later, and barely 50 people are completing their homework each day.

The work isn’t hard—the whole online class is about creating and selling your first product. But less than 90% of the students have even created their first draft. At this rate, they probably won’t.

If you can just complete and publish your first draft—of a business plan, an article, a podcast episode, a video training—you’re already ahead of 90% of the competition.

A Little Action Taken Today Will Create 10 Times More Motivation Tomorrow

Action brings motivation.

Most people are waiting to “feel ready” before they start. They’re waiting to feel motivated.

But if you want to succeed more than just about anybody, start before you’re ready.

Why? Because that action will bring motivation, clarity, and energy. In their book The Power of Full Engagement, authors Tony Schwartz and Jim Loehr wrote that by putting in the work, you actually experience renewed energy and focus. Putting in work actually gives you energy!

This is how anyone can start experiencing incredible motivation very quickly. Most people think the opposite is true—they’re wasting a ton of time waiting to feel motivated when the feeling never comes.

Instead, just focus on making a little progress every day. Doing the work when you don’t feel like doing the work—even just a little bit—will get results. It’s probably not going to feel like you’re making any progress, but that’s exactly how consistency feels.

A little action today gives you a shot of adrenaline. Just a small one, just a little boost. It’s enough to get the ball rolling.

Tomorrow, you’ll be a little more motivated to work; the ball’s already rolling, and it’s a little easier to push.

Do this every day.

Most people are terrible at consistent daily routines.

Daily engagement is the only way to become truly successful with a new skill.

For every day you keep going, hundreds of others quit.

The only reason—the only reason—I’m confident I’m going to be in the top 1% of writers in the world someday is because I know I’m going to write every day.

I’m going to read my books every day. I’m going to lift that heavy 25 lb dumbbell, attempt left-handed layups at pick-up games, and practice my Korean every day.

The day I stop practicing daily is the day I start to lose.

In the words of Ramit Sethi, “At the moment when we accept our weaknesses and stop deciding to grow, we’re the BEST we’re ever going to be. It’s all downhill from there.”

Turn Your General Idea Into A Laser-Focused Idea

No one wakes up, brushes their teeth, puffs out their chest with a confident smile, and yells, “Today is going to SUCK!

I mean, maybe some people do.

No, most people would claim they want to live exciting, extraordinary lives. They might even appear to work very hard at it. But they never really make any progress.

These people make up what author Hal Elrod once labeled the “Mediocre Majority.” These are people that, despite their good intentions, still end up settling for second best.

Their problem isn’t that they willingly and intentionally dive face-first into a brick wall of mediocrity. Their problem is that the path to mediocrity is simply more clear than the path to greatness.

You follow the path that is most clear.

And since most people have marked the path to mediocrity pretty well, that’s the one most people follow. It’s what they know.

If you want to live an extraordinary life, you need to develop clarity on exactly how to do that.

Extremely successful people have high levels of clarity on everything that is most important. These top-tier individuals know if you don’t know where you’re headed, there’s no telling where you’ll end up.

In the famous words of Bilbo Baggins, “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Finding clarity isn’t always easy. In the past 10 years, I’ve had at least a dozen different ideas for my life—a Navy SEAL, a novelist, a career coach, even a chef at a 5-star restaurant. Clarity was rarely available.

Yet clarity is exactly what you need if you want to end up settling for the mediocrity most people slowly slip into.

People Won’t Take You Seriously If You Don’t Take Yourself Seriously

When Arnold Schwarzenegger was just beginning his acting career, he received many offers for lesser roles—crude villains like Nazi officers, evil henchmen with no lines, and the like. All everyone saw was a foreigner with a thick accent and big muscles.

His agent begged him to take the roles. Schwarzenegger refused.

Despite being nearly broke and living on his friend’s couch, Schwarzenegger began taking expensive acting classes. He spent all his free time trying to meet other actors and actresses, producers, directors, and anyone in the film industry willing to talk with him.

Years after becoming the most famous and highest-paid leading man in Hollywood, he wrote, “The only way you become a leading man is to treat yourself like a leading man and work your ass off.”

Want to be taken seriously?

Then you need to start taking yourself seriously.

I’ve been writing about self-improvement for years. I’ve had conversations with literally thousands of people through my work—email, comments, conferences, coaching calls, online courses, etc.

One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people don’t ever really start.

I’ve helped people create plans, kept them accountable, developed new strategies to sit down, and just do the work.

Frankly, most people still haven’t started.

You have to do something regularly if you want to be successful. But before you do something regularly, you have to start.

Intentions don’t mean much—everyone intends to start, few rarely do. People look to you for help solving their problems, entertaining them, teaching them something useful. You can only provide that kind of value if you start things yourself and learn from the process.

No one cares about theory or ideas, they care about results. They care if you’ve actually done the work. I listened to a podcast by a millionaire entrepreneur who said he’s approached by his listeners all the time with ideas for businesses, but nothing actually specific or done.

He said these are lots of million-dollar ideas, but by itself, an idea is worthless. You need to actually do something with it.

Just put out your first draft, and you’ll instantly be ahead of 90% of your competition.

About the author
Driven. Passionate. Writer. Self-Improvement. Growth. Read more articles from Anthony on Thought Catalog.

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