How to Stop Being Afraid of Starting Something

How to Stop Being Afraid of Starting Something

We’ve all been there — wanting to improve a skill, wanting to start one, and feeling overwhelmed. The amount of mental effort required and the oncoming anticipation of the future hardships, struggles, and failure associated with this new journey build up into fear that stops you in your tracks. That might be an overdramatization, but that’s exactly how I used to (and still) feel almost every day. But I’ve found a way to make starting a little less difficult and scary, and want to share this method that has been an everyday mantra for me since.

Set the bar lower.

To explain what I mean, I’d like to take you back with me about half a year ago when I suddenly became very interested in learning how to produce hip-hop music. I knew nothing about music composition and theory outside of basic classical music knowledge from my high school’s orchestra. How was I supposed to start learning something so different like modern hip-hop music from my position? I have played instruments for most of my life, but transitioning from a physical violin to a computer with insane amount of extra equipment I didn’t understand is a daunting task. Regardless, my goal was to release one song I was happy with to share with my friends and family, but I was scared. How am I supposed to start something like that?


I needed to set the bar lower.

“Today, I’ll make a portion of a song”, I told myself. Too much, I’m still scared. Set the bar lower.

“Today, I’ll make the base of a melody”, I told myself. Too much, I’m still scared. Set the bar lower.

“Today, I’ll open the software and try to see what each button does…”, Bingo. I can do that.

And I did just that. The next day, I set a similar goal in difficulty of putting a single sound in the software and trying to learn how to read the audio properties in the software. From there, I tried exporting the sound to learn what different options there are. These baby steps continued for weeks and I found myself learning more than ever before. Now, I am by no means a music producing master, but I’ve come a long way from where I started. I’ve been able to made a small library of song samples that I both love and hate and am still looking forward to learning more every day. If something gets difficult, I’ll remind myself to I can set the bar a little lower.

The bar being set this low can come off as a little silly, but the main idea behind this is making the mental effort of starting something as easy as possible. Once something has started, it makes entering a flow state much easier where the real journey begins.

There’s a common saying from where this method stems from, the one that goes “Everyone starts somewhere”. That “somewhere” is up to you, so take advantage of deciding where you want to begin.


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