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March 1, 2024

The First Wall Feels The Tallest

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When you want to change your life, it could feel daunting. There’s a big gap between where you are and where you want to be, and you don’t know what happens in between. Our minds create resistance because there’s so much uncertainty, fear, and unfamiliarity that paralyzes your action. The longer you acclimate to that state, the more resistance that’s generated to keep you in that state, creating an overwhelming battle to fight in order to get started.

Let’s make this concept a bit more concrete by using the metaphor of a man standing at the foot of a big wall. He believes that on the other side of the wall could be everything he’s wanted in life - peace, fulfillment, and success. But equally on the other side of the wall could be things that make his life worse - stress, anxiety, and danger.

Due to this uncertainty, his mind convinces him of reasons why he shouldn’t climb over the wall and begin his journey: 

“You don’t know how to climb the wall.” 

“This time next year, you’ll be stronger and better prepared to climb the wall.” 

“What if it isn’t worth it to climb the wall?” 

“What if you struggle and look stupid trying to climb this wall?”

This is the default program in all of our minds. This is our mind’s natural state. And what it does is it keeps us in the familiarity of how things are right now, safe in everything that we can already see, rather than exploring the uncertainty of what’s on the other side of the wall.

Having climbed over a few walls in my career and personal life, and having spoken with many people who’ve climbed over big walls, here are two perspectives I want to share.

#1 - The first wall feels the tallest. It might not be the tallest, but it feels the tallest. Why? Because you’re getting started. You’re going from something to nothing, which is when the resistance is the strongest. Once you climb over one wall and see the next one is taller, you’ll be less hesitant to climb over that one too because you already got started.

#2 - The people who are the fastest at trying to climb the wall after deciding they want to are the most successful. You don’t learn anything, get strong, or earn more experience while you’re waiting. You stay stalled and stuck where you currently are, doing the same things you’ve been doing the same way you’ve been doing them. But those who go for it, who try, who take risks and make commitments, they end up getting further on the journey.

Coming back to how I started… The idea of changing your life can feel overwhelming. 

Shifting big things in your career, relationships, and lifestyle… Or small things in your daily choices, interactions, and routines.

But that first wall in front of you, the one you’ve been looking at this whole time wondering when it’s time to finally commit to climbing it, it feels taller than it actually is. And the fastest way to create the changes you want in your life isn’t to keep preparing to climb over it but to start climbing immediately.

The first wall is actually internal. It’s just getting started. It’s just the first thing you can do to illuminate the path for what comes next. But you can’t see that path because there’s a big internal wall in the way. 

If you need a place to start in getting more structured with your self-improvement, and prove to yourself that you’re capable of getting over any obstacle, once a month I host a 21 Day Super Habits Challenge that helps you build momentum and confidence that you can do whatever you set your mind to (all while creating the infrastructure for becoming the healthiest, most productive, most disciplined version of yourself).

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