Be Like the Succulent


There’s this succulent plant in my kitchen window, I don’t even know how it survives but it does. No, actually, it thrives! That bitch grows like crazy which is basically a small miracle. Plants and electronics have a tendency to die around me. It’s totally a thing.

Sometimes my brain goes crazy with ideas. Good ones too! It bounces around like the stereotypical ADHD kid who missed his Ritalin dose, leaving a wake of ideas strewn about the room. Ideas are great fun but the problem with this is that I want to implement them. ALL of them…okay, realistically maybe half of them. Still though, lots of ideas that could be put into action. Maybe some of them would even make me money, fund my rock and roll lifestyle (aka single parent/full time student existence), grow like the succulent. Thrive. They never do though. Because I never get around to converting ideas to action. I lack the confidence and know how to do so. Lacking know how is pretty much the lamest excuse possible in this day and age. Hello! Have you met the internet? It’s amazing!
So really what I lack is confidence and follow through. I’m too easily intimidated by the finished product to know where to start. This has been a thing for a while now. Years ago I had the idea of the toilet top dehumidifier/air purifier and didn’t even try to look into getting it made. Think of all those damp, gross bathrooms growing mold and harboring germs. I could be sitting on my first million by now if I had only known where to start.

I’ve been reading James Altucher’s book Choose Yourself. So far it’s been good but nothing mind blowing. Until page 141. James talks about an idea he had that, had he implemented, would have made him a small fortune. How does he know? Because a few years later his random idea was one of the biggest, most popular trends in recent TV viewing history. When he shared this idea with a  couple friends though they gave him the “You can’t do that, it’s a dumb idea” rhetoric that we hear so often. Altucher writes “So I never thought about it again. I put a up a fence around the idea and decided I would never be able to leap over that fence to execute on the idea. … My real problem was I didn’t have confidence. And I didn’t know what the next step was.” Yeah. that doesn’t sound familiar at all does it? One way the author suggests to combat this seemingly insurmountable hill of a new idea is to break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces. (Again, not at all familiar.) Instead of looking at something and thinking it’s just too big, instead ask yourself how you can cut it down into bite sized pieces. Stop looking at the forest for once and actually see the trees. Trees are much less intimidating than forests!

To put it in terms of chemical reactions, it’s a basic kinetics problem. I love chemistry kinetics. Thinking about the how and why of all those particles bouncing around, making shit happens just warms my heart. Strange, I know. Anyhow, you’re looking at a possibility, all the reactants are accessible (whether you realize it or not), but you have to overcome the required activation energy before the reaction can really go and equilibrium can be established.

Reactants are the ideas, activation energy is the start up of converting ideas into actions into products into profits into success…err, products. Looking at the whole thing as a sum of its parts then attacking the parts is the catalyst that lowers the activation energy and BOOM! Suddenly the idea is not too big. There’s a foot hold in sight. Once you start climbing momentum takes over (yeah, I know momentum is actually working against you when you’re climbing up something, it’s a general analogy) and before you know it you’ve conquered that seemingly insurmountable hill. You’re king of the mountain.

I was talking to a friend yesterday, he was telling me about a project he’s working on that’s in the beginning stages. He said he had read a bunch of stuff and was now a little intimidated by all the research, decisions, and preparation that needed to be done to get this project going. I get it. It’s a lot. Whether your project is a new business, a big presentation for work, something new that you want to make, writing a book, going back to school, taking a trip, applying to dental school, whatever. The start up is seemingly overwhelming. Lack of confidence. like rocks tied to our shoes, keeps us at the bottom of the lake.

So how does this relate to that succulent thriving on my windowsill?

That thing lives in an old jam jar, it’s got maybe ten ounces of soil space, it gets a splash of water once every couple weeks. That’s it. But apparently that’s enough. It uses what it has and just grows. It looks easy enough but all that growing from almost nothing is the result of hundreds of thousands of complex biochemical processes. Don’t think about that, think about what you have and use it. Being intimidated is actually a good thing. If you’re not a little bit scared you’re probably not doing it right. Use the fear, that intimidation, as a means to solve the problems instead of a barrier that prevents the process. Be like the succulent and make shit happen. Grow!



About nights7

A metamorphosis in progress...always.

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