This morning, I really didn’t want to wake up. When my alarm went off at 3:30 am, I just couldn’t find the strength to haul my aching bones and overworked sinews out of bed.
After snoozing my alarm twice, I realised the situation was desperate. I was at real risk of not making it to work on time. This was serious. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I pulled an old trick out of my hat.
It’s something I used to do when I was a kid. If I had to eat broccoli or some other vile-tasting food, if I had to scrub a particularly disgusting toilet, if I had to knock on the door of the house with the scary dog, if I had to get up in class and answer a tough maths question – anything difficult that I wish I didn’t have to do but just couldn’t talk my way out of, I would take a deep breath, count down from five, close my eyes and just do it.
Yeah. That’s it. Sounds rather simple and almost child-like, right?
Well, so I thought until I started to discover loads of ways in which it worked like a charm in my adult life too. When I was first diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 28, I was terrified of needles. Yet here I was, needing several injections a day, to stay alive. Each time I had to take my medication, I was gripped with fear. How was I expected to pierce my own skin with a sharp, pointy needle several times a day?
In the end, I just took a deep breath, counted down from five, and plunged it in. Worked every time since.
I used my little magic trick for all manner of things. When I have to speak in front of a crowd, when I have to break bad news to a bereaved family, when I have to suggest a radical idea at work, or even ask a pretty girl on a date, my little countdown gets me through it every time.
You see, for every great venture, for every tough choice, for every life-changing journey, the toughest part is usually the first step. That’s the bit that trips most of us up. But let’s be fair to ourselves; knowing what lies ahead, being aware of the pending hardships, the coming challenges, the potential rejection, the possible failure – that stuff can really dent the most steely of resolves.
Knowing the full extent of the task ahead can sometimes be the biggest demotivation. But here’s the truth: ninety per cent of failures occur because we never try in the first place. As they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
So my friend, whatever you dream of, whatever you aspire to, whatever your mission, your goal, your job, today, I want to motivate you to get started. It’s not easy, it’s daunting, it’s the last thing you want to do, but it’s the only way to success – the only way.
So no matter how daunting the task ahead may be, no matter how loudly every bone in your body screams at you to stay put and save yourself the aggravation, just do what I do; deep breath, countdown from five, close your eyes, and do it.
My name is Kojo Yankson, and I don’t always want to move, but I do it anyway. It’s the way forward.
GOOD MORNING, GHANAFO!