“Don’t worry about the output when you’re trying to build momentum. Instead, just get yourself to do whatever you feel you need to do.” -Benjamin Hardy
Today is the first day I’ve written in about a month. I was very consistent before that, but traveling and moving and being sick have left me away from writing.
Today was the first day in about a month where I woke up early before work, made some coffee, and did my prayer/journaling/writing morning routine.
The thing is, I wasn’t that concerned with waking up early (which wasn’t necessarily easy after all this time). I was preoccupied about building momentum again.
I’ll tell you a story.
When I was in high school, I was in drum line. It greatly accelerated my drumming ability and skills — the endless rudiments, daily practice, playing the same piece over and over again. I eventually got to me 2nd snare, which was the second most skilled position in the entire line.
During the off season, I would play drums here and there, just fiddling around and not practicing seriously. During this time, I received an invitation to audition for my church’s band. The church was huge, and I was told the drum set cost over $13,000 dollars.
I auditioned. I didn’t think it went perfectly, but I felt good about it. After all, I was really skilled, right? Tons of practice.
To their credit, they told me immediately without making me wait — they were going to pass on me. I remember one of the guys making a remark about my drum line experience. “When you’re practicing during marching season, I’d bet you’d be able to hit a bird with your drumstick from 50 yards away,” he said. “We need you at that level again.”
It was true, and the same is true for every position or profession — sports, education, fitness, business, etc. Athletes have a term called “midseason form”: it means you’ve reached the point in the season where you’re so used to playing the game, your skills and actions are polished and automatic. You’ve built momentum; now you execute, constantly and flawlessly.
The same can be said about my writing and routines. And just like that church audition, I’m rusty. Out of shape. “Mid-season-form” Anthony would dance circles around me.
The principle I’m clinging to is this — I know I’m not a gifted “genius” who can pick up exactly where they left off without warming up (I’m getting more and more convinced there’s no one like that). My initial work is probably not gonna be that great. It’ll flounder a little. There will be mistakes. Missed shots. Blown plays. Rookie mistakes.
But eventually, I’ll get to mid season form again. Everyone struggles at the beginning, so stop putting off starting because you’re afraid you’re gonna suck. Of course you will. The only way forward is through practice, making mistakes, and facing my fears. Why wait? It’s immature and fearful to not build momentum because you’re afraid you’ll look foolish, or you won’t be as “great” as you once were. Of course you won’t! Not at first.
Here’s the first day of building momentum. I’m not concerned with the output — I’m concerned with doing what I need to do, today and right now. Tomorrow will probably be a little better.