The Hustler’s Playbook: Starting Is How You Get Ready

When I was a teenager, I started a rock-n-roll band. Like all new rock-n-roll bands, we were terrible. In fact, I would say that we were especially terrible. We could play so few songs that we had to write our own songs to be able to play them at all. That didn’t stop us from recording our songs, and it didn’t prevent us from playing live gigs way before we were good enough to play in front of a crowd. There is no point in being in a band if you don’t play for people, so that is what we did. Eventually, we improved (individually and collectively, even if unevenly).

You don’t become a better writer by waiting to write until you believe your writing is going to be good enough (a concept that doesn’t take into account the enormous variations in what people believe to be good). You get better at writing when you start writing.

You don’t get better at anything by waiting to do it until you believe you have the bona fides. You don’t get better at running a business by going to business school, even though doing so will help you better understand the principles of finance and accounting, marketing, and strategy. You get better by running some part of a business or starting your own business (something everyone in business should do as a way to really learn how to run a business). The certificate you get in some chosen endeavor doesn’t prepare you to do good work, even if it enables you to get a license or some other variation of permission.

You are better off starting than waiting. You are better off gaining experience, making distinctions, and finding your way than waiting until you believe you are perfectly ready. The mistakes, the missteps, the dead ends, and the time you spend on the plateau (the periods when you persist without progress), are what allow you to gain the competency to grow into what you will eventually become. Waiting not only steals time and pushes your goal into the future, it can also eliminate your drive and kill your goal completely.

Be what you are. Start now.

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