Why You Shouldn’t Get Started

Another perspective on the homily “Just get started.” Cal Newport argues that not starting drives success. Stop distracting yourself, and focus on what it is that’s important to you: business or personal, skill or endeavour.

Focus is key. It works for resumes, for hiring, and for driving business results.

4 thoughts on “Why You Shouldn’t Get Started

  1. It’s a very interesting article. One of the key elements in any new endeavor, is that at some point you will fail, and you may even fail repeatedly. What is crucial to any possible future success is how one reacts to that failure. Do you give up and forget about it? Do you try and try again? Or do you take a cold hard look at the reasons for failure, investigate alternatives and then adjust your approach. Failure can be very hard to take, especially if you’ve given the venture everything you had. If you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try a different approach, based on what you’ve just learned then you chances of success have just improved, perhaps slightly but improved nevertheless. You may still fail, but if you simply give up, nothing of consequence can ever be accomplished.

    In a sense I don’t entirely agree with the post on not starting, but the point is that we often seriously underestimate what it takes to be successful in any new venture.


    1. I get what you’re saying. I just took a different message away from the article (Maybe this is the sign of a good article – it means different things to different people.) The message I got was: “Finish what you started before starting something new.” The author makes the point that successful people are successful because of their focus on success and mastery in their field to the exclusion of anything else. What do you think?


  2. I re-read the article and my initial criticism stands. In the pursuit of any venture it is important to get started. One cannot know everything at the outset or what it would take to succeed and perhaps if one did, then one might be dissuaded from even trying. Any new venture or direction in life is fraught with uncertainty, and we just do not know what problems we will encounter. The point here is that we do not have perfect knowledge of what lies ahead, but that shouldn’t be a barrier to trying. After a while and maybe more than a few failures, the person simply decides that the potential gain is not worth the effort and gives up. So be it.

    On the other hand, failure, while a hard and rather unforgiving teacher, will give you the knowledge and experience that no book, seminar or training course can ever give you. Since entrepreneurs are often charting a new course, they will encounter failure repeatedly. It’s hard to continue after you fall flat on your face. Many people simply chose to take a somewhat easier route. School and a subsequent career, while not easy does not compare to the uncharted waters an entrepreneur must sail. What many of the entrepreneurial speakers fail to mention is that while you MUST get started if you want to succeed, they don’t tell you of mind numbing uncertainty, the enormous self-sacrifice and incredible hard work that go along with any new venture.


    1. No argument from me. Yes, to accomplish anything one must get started . . . and once started, don’t get distracted by starting *something else*. If you’re going to start a company, learning to play the guitar and start a band might have to wait. Yes, you’re going to have to do many things to start a company, but doing them one at a time is the most likely to succeed.


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