The best time to start from scratch is to get started before you have to start from scratch...
I love to wait for things to just happen.
I love putting things off.
I was even putting off writing this for a couple of days.
I even started writing this yesterday and then for whatever reason I just stopped.
So just the other day I was reading on Facebook about someone talking about starting all over again. From scratch.
And of course I thought I could write about it.
I don't know.
But probably because I don't know a lot about starting from scratch.
So I was wondering what I’d do if I found myself in a situation where I wanted or had to start from scratch again.
What would I do..?
Now over the years I’ve done a little bit of reinvention.
But I never really had to start totally from scratch.
After all, you’re never really starting totally from scratch.
You're still the exact same person you were before.
Just a little different.
But you still have all the skills you've learned.
All the experiences you've made.
The good ones and the bad ones.
All the memories you've made.
The good ones and the bad ones.
So essentially you'll still be the person you are right now.
Maybe you'll do something else.
Maybe you'll learn something new.
Maybe you upgrade your set of values.
Maybe you become a better person.
Maybe you somehow turn the bad experiences into some weird lessons life wanted to teach you.
Or maybe there are no lessons. No one really knows...
But the things that define you are still there.
They will always be there.
No matter what you're doing, where you live or what your goals are.
So I think, at the end of the day we never really have to start totally from scratch again.
Even if we move to a new location.
Or do something totally new.
Of course if you’re just coming out of jail or something like that it's a whole different story.
But essentially we’re still the exact same person
And I think that's whats holding most of us back from reinventing ourselves.
From starting from scratch again.
Because we think that everything will change.
But at the end of the day not a lot will actually change.
You don't have to give up your identity.
Essentially it's still all the same...
So here's what I’d do if I was thinking about or was forced to reinvent myself...
# BEING FORCED
The best time to reinvent yourself is when you don't have to reinvent yourself.
Before you have to reinvent yourself.
Before you're forced to start all over again.
Because it takes time.
Reinvention takes time.
And it doesn't happen overnight.
And whenever you do something because you have to, it's usually already too late.
Or you don't give it all you got.
Or it'll be a lot harder because you have a lot more pressure.
And spiritual pressure.
So reinvent yourself before you have to reinvent yourself.
Yes, I’m talking to you.
And to myself.
Mostly to myself...
We usually know when it’s about to happen.
We know when that relationship is about to fall apart.
We know when that job is likely going to disappear.
We know when that run we've been on lately is about to end.
And if we don't know it, we usually feel it.
Or at least I usually know it. Or feel it.
I knew almost every single time when a relationship was about to end.
Sometimes I already knew it years before it actually really ended.
Sometimes even before it really started.
I always knew when a project was most likely going to fail.
But I kept waiting. I kept doing it. For way longer than I should have.
Every single time….
We try to ignore the clues.
As long as we can.
As well as we can…
Ignorance is good.
I’m a very ignorant person.
I ignore almost everybody and everything.
But sometimes ignorance can be a bad thing.
Especially when you're trying to ignore yourself.
When you're trying to ignore what your gut is trying to tell you.
What your body is trying to tell you.
You can ignore a lot of people and a lot of things, but you should never ignore yourself….
"It's never too late to be who you say you are!"
Then I went to being an author and blogger. And then back to being an entrepreneur and public speaker.
And now I do all of it at the same time.
All while living out of a carry-on backpack with just three outfits in it. At one point I've decided to I write a book about what I've learned.
And today you can get a free copy of it.
Click here to claim your copy now (it's free, for now)...
So how do you know when you should listen to your gut and when you shouldn't?
I don't know. I really don't know.
But here's what I try to do…
I do the grandpa test .
It's very simple…
Whenever I have difficult decisions to make I imagine my 80 year old self.
I imagine my 80 year old self reflecting about life.
Reflecting about the things I've done and the things I haven't done.
And whenever my 80 year old self tells me that this is something he now regrets not having explored more, I just do it.
No matter the consequences. No matter the risk...
Because the only person I want to please is my 80 year old self. And no one else...
There's no such thing as overnight reinvention.
Just like there's no such thing as overnight success.
Every single day you reinvent yourself just a tiny little bit.
And then the next day you reinvent a tiny little bit more. And then more. And then more.
Until you've reinvented yourself in a way that you never even thought possible.
But it takes time. A lot of time. It's hard. Really hard. And it doesn't work overnight.
You reinvent yourself one day at a time. One minute at a time.
Facebook wasn't built overnight.
Just like Google wasn't built overnight.
Just like Michael Jackson didn't learn how to sing overnight.
Just like Picasso didn't learn how to paint overnight.
As a matter of fact he painted thousands of pictures before anybody even knew who he was.
And even today there are just a few dozen pictures of him that we now talk about.
One stroke at a time.
One painting at a time.
So maybe on day one you sketch a little drawing for a postcard.
Then on the second day you add some colors to it.
Then you keep repeating the same thing over the next couple of days.
Then you go outside and give those postcards to people walking on the streets.
Then one day you try to figure out how to get those postcards on your computer.
Then on the weekend you try to figure out how to get those postcards onto a website.
And then every single day for the next year or so you create one beautifully handwritten postcard and put them on your website and share them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Every single day for the next 365 days. If that seems too much start with 7 days. And then 30 days.
And before you know it you've done 365 days.
That's what I did.
Two years ago I decided to write one blog post every day for the next 30 days.
And those 30 days have now turned into more than 750 days...
But now back to the initial story...
So once you've figured out how to get your beautifully handwritten postcards onto a website, you put a tiny link below each and every postcard where people can buy those postcards.
Or a link where people can order a customized handmade postcard for birthdays, for weddings, for celebrations or whatever.
You go one day at a time.
One postcard at a time…
The problem when you're starting totally from scratch is that you basically have to unlearn everything you've learned so far.
You mostly gotta unlearn that you know what you’re talking about.
That you know what you're doing.
You've gotta be willing to go from expert to beginner.
You've gotta be willing to eat dirt.
You've gotta be willing to get down on your knees and do the really hard work.
But even more importantly you've gotta be willing to learn new things.
A ton of things.
More things than you ever thought possible.
Hundreds of micro skills that you never even knew existed.
Are you ready to do this?
I think one of the biggest reasons why reinvention or starting from scratch never really works out in the end is that we underestimate how much time it will take.
And because it will take a lot of time we will almost always reach a point where our bank accounts are sucked totally dry.
And when that happens the only thing to do is to go back to what you've done before to make a living and to make ends meet.
Because that’s what you’re good at. That's what people are willing to pay you for. That’s how you’re able to pay the bills.
That’s why I think that one of the most important things when reinventing yourself or starting from scratch is to have enough money in the bank.
Or else you'd have to go back to the things you've done before. The things you wanted to run away from. Sooner rather than later.
Or maybe it's just me. I don't know...
When I quit my job a couple of years ago I didn't have anything going for me.
I didn't know anything about anything. I was so clueless I didn't even know how to setup my own blog.
All of this FTP stuff, transferring files, domain registration and all of this was just way too complicated for me.
I just wanted to write. And get better at writing. Without all of this other stuff. Without all of these barriers.
So I just went ahead and signed up for a service called Typepad. I didn’t have any clue what I was doing.
So I just signed up for a service that someone used who seemed successful back in the days.
I started using it because I saw Seth Godin was using it and it looked very simple….
That's how clueless I was. The only tangible skill I had when I was getting started was writing. Not a very rare skill. Especially considering the fact that I wasn't particulary good at it...
So the only thing I really had when I was getting started was the willingness to learn new skills and some money in the bank.
Not a hell lot but enough money to cover my expenses for the next one or two years if I lived a very minimalist lifestyle. Which I did. Which I still try do by the way.
So where did all that money even come from?
I had saved up for times like these. I never really knew what I saved all of my income for.
I basically saved that money so I didn't have to save money when I didn't have money to save…
You know, for times where I wanted, no where I needed to buy myself some freedom to figure out how I could reinvent myself. Money to buy myself some freedom to learn new things and skills.
And I really needed that money. Because life is expensive. And it took way longer than I ever thought possible until I made about enough to cover my monthly expenses with money I made out there on my own..
But it’s not just money in the bank you need when you want to or have to reinvent yourself. It's also emotional stability. You need enough good emotions in the bank...
Reinvention or starting anything totally from scratch needs emotional stability and strength. And physical strength. And spiritual strength.
Simply because change is hard. Really, really hard. And going for change when you're weak is never a good idea.
Whatever you do, try to only go for change when you’re strong.
And not when you're weak.
Try to go for change before you have to go for a change.
Try to look for a new job before you need a new job.
Try to save money before you need money.
Try to reinvent yourself before you're forced to reinvent yourself…
Go for change when you’re strong.
Financially, emotionally, spiritually and physically…
# INSIDE OUT
Change never happens from the outside.
Changing your job, your location, finding new friends or a new boyfriend will only work for a while.
Until that feeling of excitement wears off and you get back to reality.
Change happens from within. It goes inside out. It rarely goes outside in.
So if you keep all your bad habits, if you keep eating crappy food, if you keep getting not enough sleep, if you keep hanging out with people who don't lift you up, if you keep doing what you've been doing before, nothing will ever change.
It'll turn into the exact same thing it was before.
Just a different background.
That's why you've gotta work on the foundation first.
Because without that foundation your house will just crash and burn.
Sooner or later.
If all you're doing is just painting the walls of a run down house without paying attention to the inside of your house, without renovating and dedicating time to the inside of your house, then you're still going to have the exact same run down house.
Just with a different color on the outside...
You've gotta get rid of all the dirt, all that garbage and all of that baggage that's deep down inside of you first before you paint those walls...
Reinvention and starting from scratch has nothing to do with failure.
As a matter of fact, failing to reinvent yourself every once in a while that’s what’s most likely going to lead to failure.
Reinvention isn't failure.
It's a necessity.
Even more so today than ever before.
So maybe one day when I’m forced to reinvent myself because I didn't listen to my own advice and didn't reinvent myself before I had to reinvent myself, I'll hopefully come back to this piece, read it and will hopefully get something out of it.
I hope you did...
[Related: I stopped giving a shit a long time ago]