This article is about why it’s easier to get started something new, than restarted something that already lose momentum. However, restarting the old things could be actually better than just start another new one.

I guess everybody already experience this at various stage of life – maybe more often than they want. Consciously, you did not want to lose any momentum of something that you really wanted to do, but it has happened and usually you thought you were strong enough to prevent it from happening, but it is not always true, isn’t it?

Learning Something New: Full of Energy!

Yes, I am talking about anything at all,it could be learning a new habit, learning how to make additional income, learning a new skill, starting a new business, a new career and anything else in between.

If you are keen about it, learning something new is awfully excited. (well, especially true when you pay thousands of dollar learning it from the “guru” – I did buy few “programs” from expert at premium price – that will qualify me as “sucker”, but I would prefer more polite term “urgent practical education”). In general, this is because people has already set an open their mind and ready to receive new stuffs, plus it got more excited because of curiousness and possibility that one can get  from the result/specific expectation.

But, to be fair, I cannot say the same treatment with school curriculum at the primary or even high school. Why? Because the student is not always keen to learn the pre-defined subject. I remember vividly in my primary school, there is one subject called “Family Welfare”, basically teach you from fixing broken shirt button to state-driven contraception program – I could not care less, but have to just do it….

Life Stuffs

Keep It Going: Persistence

So, if you want to learn new thing, you will likely to find the energy to kick it started. Let’s go a notch harder: how to keep it going or being persistence to success?

To be considered “success” on anything, one will go trough some long winding journey and have to pass this “magic” threshold before everything that they told you at the beginning become reality. Success will be meaningless if you did not overcome some burdens. Overcoming the burden is where most people will be unsuccessful.  They do not have patience, the expectation is too high, the reward is too litlle,  the requirement is too demanding, require too much time, do not have capital to start, too much social pressure, and all other 1001 excuses. And what they need is a beautiful word called “Persistence.”

Persistence” (the action of persisting: to go on resolutely or stubbornly in spite of opposition, importunity, or warning :Merriam-Webster) can only exist if you know “WHY” you want to do it. The education, the seminar, the bootcamp, the book, the video,  the training will only give you “HOW” to do it, it will never give you the “Why” part. The stronger the reason of “Why” question, the longer that you will go.

Example: you want to learn how to make money from stock market. The “guru” will tell you “how”, but you need to have a strong answer of “why” you want to do it. If your answer is “just to get more income” – I would say you will fail sooner than later. Compare that answer with this: “I want to make my mom happy – she always dream about spending her old time on the beach until her time up- so I will use the profit from this stock trading to buy her a beach house”. Who do you think that will likely to keep on going no matter what happen?

A burning passion will keep the fire flaming…..

Restarted Old Things: Oh My God!

And from time to time, you caught yourself  in situation that your persistence get interrupted – temporarily or otherwise. But you then say you still want to do it and still have a strong reason to do it again.

I would say to restart the old thing is quite hard. You will think that you “know all bout it”, you know you are not as successful as you want it to be (or in more elegant words: you know your expectation), you pretty much know what will happen and then “OMG, why I am doing it again!??”

To make the matter worst, sometimes external barrier: physical, financial or additional “problem” also making it even harder to restart. For example: when you started to take $200,000 of equity from the house to start the stock trading, it’s not that difficult. But now, with the $200,000 has gone, you got that additional $200k debt compare to the first time you start and now you need to take some more?

I recently experience this myself where my physical well-being prevent me to restart the old things that I need to do.

On April 2012, the company I work for have some litigation problem, hundreds of people was forced to be on leave with no certainty of the future. Before this happen, my average 24 hours will be: 6 hours sleep, 11 hours work (8 hours work time, plus 1 hour travel each side, plus 1 hour buffer), 2 hours regulars (3 meals, brush teeth, toilets, grooming, bath, etc) and leave me with 5 hours discretionary time. After pretty much 2.5 months “holiday” (got “holiday” pay just minus proper planning and minus peace of mind and with bonus: stress), I cannot do 6 hours sleep any more. My body demanded 8 – 10 hours. This will make my discretionary time become only 1-3 hours only and all the plan/habit was in tater. It took another 4 weeks to make me “back to normal”. What happen during that 2.5 months holiday is probably for another story :-)

So, what should make people come back and re-started the old things that were not ongoing for a while?

  1. It always came back to the motivation. The answer to the WHY question. The stronger it is , the easier you get back. Remember: “WHY” always trump “HOW”.
  2. The chance of doing it better: find the things that you do it wrong or can be done better. And remember the definition of “stupidity” by Einstein: keep doing the same thing and expecting different result. Of course, “Don’t be stupid!
  3. “It’s not the club!” If you are golfer you will be familiar with this anecdote: golfer usually think, the more sophisticated and cool his clubs are, the more successful he will become as golfer. Of course this is not true, because if Tiger Wood plays your worst club (yes, Tiger, even after all the scandal) and you play the most sophisticated custom clubs you can get, he will beat you outright. (unless you are Phil Mickelson – “thanks for reading, Phil!“) – This actually quite important concept: people abandoned something because they think there is a better alternative newer version – this is usually not true unless it is really revolutionary (e.g: digital photography vs film photography – but even revolutionary, there will be very log lagging time). So, stick with your gun, it still kills !

So, today, as I am off work to care for my sick son, while sipping a cup of beautiful warm Nepali tea in cold winter day and while the London Olympic coverage is on break, I wrote this physiological-mambo-jumbo-but-should-be-inspirational posting for all to see – just to say I’m still here, gaining my momentum back for whatever reason the universe wants me to contribute!

And so should you ! Let’s do it again! Take care !

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