Dan Cumberland: Something Is Better Than Nothing

By Dan Cumberland, The Meaning Movement

When it comes to pursuing our goals, finding a deeper sense of purpose, or mastering a skill, doing something and taking some action is always better than doing nothing.

That is until we set a goal that is too far out of reach or our ideals gets in the way. Then our pursuit of continued action is replaced by the realization of how far we have to go to get to where we want to be.

It’s then that nothing instead of something seems justifiable.

Let me give you an example: let’s say you set the goal of practicing your art every day for a month. Three days in, you have extra meetings before and after work, and then a friend needs help moving. Before you know it, you’re waking up the next day and realizing that you won’t meet your goal this month because you missed a day.

What do you do next? Most people would quit. Why bother fighting for a goal that’s already gone?

The month passes and you only practiced a total of two times.

It’s easy to idealize an all or nothing mindset, when something is usually better than nothing.

Or let’s say you have a side business you work on daily. You hope to create a good income that you can eventually scale up and go full time. Today you only have 15 minutes instead of your usual two hours. What do you do? It’s easy to skip it because it’s not long enough to get any real work done.

But something is better than nothing.

Let’s say you want to go back to school but need to take the GRE before you apply. You set the goal of spending some time studying every day for three month until the test, but then you have a busy first week. It’s easy to postpone the test and tell yourself you need more time. But you’ve already done that twice.

Your fear of not scoring well keeps you from taking the test at all. But the truth is that a pretty good test score is better than no test score. 

Something is better than nothing.

Let’s say you want to start a blog. You start playing with WordPress or Squarespace but it’s confusing. You spent all day on Saturday trying to make it look right, but now you’re just frustrated.

It’s easy to quit there. Or you can choose to start writing, even though it’s not perfect.

Something is better than nothing.

Let’s say you’re trying to learn app development. You start in and feel so excited about the things you’re going to make. A couple days later you feel overwhelmed by how little you know. You could quit now and say that it’s not your thing, or you could keep chipping away at it.

Something is better than nothing.

Maybe you want to call a friend and say hi, but don’t have enough time to really catch up. It’s easy not to call.

But something is better than nothing.
Next time you’re faced with the choice between doing something less than your ideal and doing nothing, choose action.

Choose to do something.

 

This article originally appeared at The Meaning Movement.  Reposted with permission.

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