From 0 to 1: The Incredible Impact of Taking the First Step

Before I first launched this site, I had already owned the URL for over two years. I had everything I needed to get started, but all you would have seen was a “coming soon” page if you came by during that time. I waited because I didn’t yet understand the incredible importance of taking the first step, or what I call going from 0 to 1.

I knew that I wanted to build this blog for over two years. I knew what I wanted to write about, and I knew what I wanted to call it. But I hesitated to take the first step. I fixated on all the reasons I wasn’t ready:

  • My writing wasn’t as good as it could be, yet
  • I didn’t know what I wanted the site to look like
  • I had no idea how to manage, market, or promote a website

In a sense, these reasons were all true. But they were still excuses, and I was letting those excuses define me. And, of course, waiting didn’t fix any of them. 

Everything started to change when I published my first blog post and started sharing it around. The blog began to grow, and I grew with it. Suddenly, I was constantly learning, building up new skills, reaching milestones, and discovering goals that lay ahead. But none of that would have been possible without taking the first step.

The Importance of Taking the First Step

After two years of waiting to be “ready” to launch my blog, I didn’t feel ready. My writing didn’t improve. I learned nothing about marketing, SEO, graphic design, or anything else to better prepare me.

None of that happened until I took a deep breath and went from 0 to 1. It wasn’t until I took that critical first step that I began my journey of learning, growing, and building this website from the ground up. It’s a journey that I’m delighted to say I’m still on.

Do you think this is the original version of this blog post you’re reading? You should have seen the first version I published; it was a mess!

I wrote this post in the first month after launching the site because even in those first couple of weeks, I saw the incredible importance of taking the first step.

Set Things in Motion

sunrise quote- not someday, today

What’s the next big thing in your life? Are you going to pick up some new healthy habits or pay off all your debt? What about advancing in your career or finally starting that side hustle?

Whatever it is, I promise you that you will not get there if you don’t start.

Stop shopping for running gear, looking at refinancing options, or planning your next move. Go from 0 to 1. Make that move:

  • Go for a run
  • Launch your side hustle
  • Write the first chapter of your book
  • Throw $100 in Sallie Mae’s smug face and say, “keep the change!”

The rest comes after, not before.

Let yesterday be your last day of saying “I’m going to do it,” and let today be your first day of saying “I’m doing it.”

It will probably be messy. You will make mistakes. You will stumble, you will learn, you will grow, and you will win. But not before you start. So start.

Live without Regret

What do people regret most when they look back on their lives? Do they regret what they went out and experienced, the things they tried, the lessons they learned, or the shots they took?

Absolutely not.

With the serene clarity of hindsight, we all come to realize that the greatest regrets all rhyme with “would”: 

  • The business you could have started
  • The experiences you would have tried
  • All the time you should have spent with loved ones

Pick up something you want to do someday, and tell yourself, “Not Someday. Today.” You will not regret starting. Fear tells you you will regret it, but fear is not in charge today. You are.

After you start, the only regret you will have is that you didn’t start sooner. So don’t delay.

No matter what your thing is, you don’t have to win it today. You don’t have to finish it. You don’t even have to do a perfect job. All you need to do is START. Going from 0 to 1 is the most crucial step of every journey. Taking the first step gives you every step that comes after it.

Starting the Journey

quote about taking the first step overlayed on sunny road

What Prevents Us from Taking the First Step?

Taking the first step toward a big goal or life change may sound easy to some, but those who have tried know it’s anything but easy.

Embarking on a new journey brews a delightful soup of fear, anxiety, and self-doubt because new things tend to make us uncomfortable. They can trigger any number of worries:

  • What if I fail?
  • What if I’m not good enough?
  • Am I ready?
  • Am I jumping the gun?
  • What else can I do to prepare?

Anxieties like these are healthy. These emotions are trying to protect us from failing at something that matters to us. The problem is that the only guaranteed way to fail at something is never to try at all.

This fear holds us back from starting big new things based on the false belief that there will be a better time when there is no risk. But there will be no perfect time. There is always a risk.

Fear, anxiety, and self-doubt are simply the keepers of the gate between you and your dreams. If you permit them to stop you, they will. So right now is the best time to push past the fear and take the first step.

Start Messy

You’ll never finish what you don’t start, and you can’t get better at something you haven’t tried.

Start messy, start ugly, start wobbly. Whatever it takes to get moving is worth it in the end. The learning, growing, and improving all kick into gear once you have made that leap.

You don’t have to be perfect to start, and no one is asking you to be. You’ll find everything you need as you go along.

Embrace the feeling of being messy and imperfect when you’re first getting started. There’s no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed. On the contrary, that moment should be a mark of pride. It is the moment you push past fear and go from 0 to 1. 

It’s time to reach the first milestone on your timeline. You’ll one day be able to look back on it and revel in how far you’ve come. So don’t rob yourself of that fantastic opportunity by holding off any longer.

Start messy. You’re ready.

Take the First Step Right Away

Going from 0 to 1 is the most crucial step in achieving your goals and fulfilling your dreams. Next to the incredible importance of taking the first step, nothing else matters. Until you cross the starting line, you will never be able to multiply your results because 0 multiplied by anything is still 0.

The first step enables every other step. Don’t listen to the voices that say you aren’t ready. I promise you, you are. Now get out of here and take that first step!

Avatar for Sam

Hey, I’m Sam. I created Smarter and Harder to explore big ideas, both old and new, about building a better life. My mission is to evolve the conversation about personal growth and have fun doing it.

8 thoughts on “From 0 to 1: The Incredible Impact of Taking the First Step”

  1. LOVE this. It’s sometimes so challenging to ‘take it on’, whatever ‘it’ is. The fear of rejection, failure, etc. can be so daunting that we allow them to stop us. The simple act of going from 0 to 1 is an amazingly forceful step towards breaking down that barriers we have created for ourselves. And I just learned that today 🙂

  2. Love the part on “going from 0 to 1 is how you live without regrets.” It’s such a good reminder to keep trying out the hard things, they’ll become more natural with time. Thanks for sharing your advice!

  3. Great stuff. The first step towards anything is always the hardest, but definitely the most rewarding. Thanks for such an interesting read.

    • Thanks, Graham! I think the first step always seems so hard, because we also associate it with the difficulty of every step that comes after it. Once we realize how small the first step can be, I find it a liberating motivator to get in there and get things going!


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