Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

The Hardest Part is Getting Started

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Now that the last mission has been flown, I regret not having watched, or should I say have felt, a space shuttle launch.

It must be just like seeing the grand canyon. Words are unable to adequately describe it. The only way to understand is to experience it.

The loud, deep rumble as the boosters first ignite. The vibrations felt as the shuttle seems to push down on the earth with its unmatched thrust. The mystery of watching tons of steel make its way up into the heavens, and then disappear from sight.

Have you ever thought about how much fuel it takes to get it off the ground?

The solid rocket boosters, the two white rockets on the side, contain 83% of the fuel needed for a mission. Once they are emptied, they are jettisoned and fall back to the earth, which takes 124 seconds exactly.

A 10 day mission uses 83% of the fuel in the first 2 minutes.

Empty the space shuttle weights 165,000 pounds. When the boosters are filled with the necessary propellants it weighs 4,400,000 pounds.

By weight, 96% of the space shuttle is there to get it off the ground.

The greatest resistance, which requires the greatest amount of energy to overcome, is met at the time of launch.

Want to go to space? The hardest part will be getting started.

(Solid Rocket Booster and Space Shuttle information provided by Wikipedia.)

Photo by Matthew Simantov (Creative Commons)

You and I are no different.

We know of projects we want to start. Habits that we want to add to our lives to make them better. We have ideas that we want to develop into something bigger.

  • The new exercise regimen.
  • The book you want to read.
  • The book you want to write.
  • The family project that would not only be a good thing to do, but would help with family togetherness.
  • The tree house in the backyard that needs to be built.
  • The education you want to pursue.
  • The significant other you want to love better.
  • That new business that might bring a sense of purpose and freedom.

But we sit on the launch pad. Waiting.

Because the hardest part of doing something worth doing is getting started.

What do you want to do, but struggle with getting started?

What has helped you the most to take that first step? Share in the comments.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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32 Replies

  1. That’s does put what I’m working on into perspective…especially when you said the space shuttle uses 83% of it’s fuel in the first 2 minutes! It certainly feels like I am using that much of my fuel as I am launching new 1st’s…like  finishing my novel and trying to figure out indie publishing:-) It’s scary, feels like a lot of risks, a lot of unknowns…and yet I feel compelled to keep moving forward!  Thanks for this Jeremy…needed to hear this today.

  2. I am not sure I struggle with getting started, because I love to start projects and really go for it, seeing them through to the end. 

    What I am currently learning but not struggling with is not taking too much on, not jumping into too many things at once.  Having recovered from an illness that took over most of my teens and twenties with clouds of pain. I am currently learning lots of new things about myself, my limits etc.  It is exciting. 

    I am really enjoying your blog this week Jeremy.

  3. He I sit on the launch pad waiting to take off but not finding the needed boost to get off the pad. Thanks for the perspective on the effort it takes to launch compared to the effort to keep things moving once launched. 
    About 18 years ago my wife and I toured the Kennedy Space Center and at the time a shuttle was sitting on the launch pad awaiting an upcoming mission. The shuttle would sit on the pad for many days making sure everything was in perfect order before being launched, because people would die if there was a failed launch. 
    Most of our projects do not require an extended time on the launch pad because no one will die if our launch fails. It’s time to launch, do not wait for everything to be in perfect order.

  4. I can TOTALLY connect with your post, Jeremy.  My wife and I have been ‘talking’ and ‘thinking’ about some semi-major home improvement projects. 

    We are finally moving on them and feels SO good.  The clutter is slowly going away, we’re getting new windows, and the master bedroom, family room and kitchen are going to loose the 80’s wallpaper and get a fresh coat of 21st century-ness.

    Love the post.  Thanks for sharing.

  5. TheyCallMeKeeks

    Dang. This post is all over me. I am never ready to begin on a project or dream, but if I just take one step – one word being written down, one cabinet being organized – I can build momentum. Sometimes I just have to shut down my brain and do. 

  6. Lorna, I feel exactly like you…I am in the same position trying to complete everything for publishing my own first book…scary and excited about the unknown! Takes lots of energy but the trhill  is unmachable!

    To answer your question, Jeremy, once I sent fear away and put everything on God’s hands, teachers appeared from everywhere teaching me what I needed to know. Knowledge is powerful energy that gives confidence. Confidence is the fuel or the spring to move me ahead.  Also, the fact that I don’t want to exit this world regreting not doing what I could have done that could have touched in some way even a  handful of people, gives me the boost shot to do it. Great posts, one after the other. Thanks Jeremy  for bringing me where I need to be!

  7. I find that taking that first step is what I need to actually know what I want to do. Is there some step you can take today?

  8. 80’s wallpaper? What took you so long?

  9. Great point. Shuttle launches require perfection. Most other things do not. In fact, the only way to get some things closer to perfect is to get them started.

  10. Sometimes bouncing from one project to another is really waiting to start as well. By “starting” but then moving on to another project, you may really be stalling.

  11. I’m excited about your novel. I don’t personally know, but I bet indie publishing is like anything else, it becomes whatever you make of it. I don’t think there are any right or wrong answers, except doing nothing.

  12. Fear is probably one of the most commons reasons we don’t start. Dealing with the fear might be the best way to get going.

  13. Oh, you had to ask, didn’t you?  Well…it’s not horribly horrible, so we’ve lived with it as other ‘stuff’ has taken priorities.

    Now, replacing it is in the project queue.  : – )

  14. 83% of fuel in the first 2 minutes, 96% of the shuttle to get it off the ground…Wow! Very informative! 

    I sometimes struggle to get started. But by far, my biggest challenge is staying on course once I have started.I like the new –  and the challenge and excitement that comes along with it. It feels like its more work sometimes, sticking to what i signed up for. So am  signed up for “The school of  Stick-to-it-vness” for life  – learning patience.

  15. TheyCallMeKeeks

     Yep! I edited some guest blog posts and I am tweaking my blog. I have a to-do list for this evening (action steps to break it down). Thanks for this post today, Jeremy!

  16. I think the hardest part for me is coming up with the idea, like, “hey I should go to space, that would be cool”

  17. The interesting thing about ideas is that I find that my best ones come after I get started. The ideas I begin with never look like anything worth finishing, but then they change.

  18. Michael Holmes

    The fear of meeting the standards, failures and the fear of lack of ability to finish what was started is the one that keeps me from starting.

  19. I feel both of those too.

  20. That is true Jeremy.  Thankfully, I am not starting lots of things, jumping from one thing to another.  Instead Iam selective in what I take on, because it is important to me to finish and see each thing through to conclusion.

  21. Tracy Pratt

    This post is so affirming. I’m working through “You Are a Writer” by Jeff Goins. Two days ago I read: “Imaginative ideas and potential projects are not creating but dreaming.” My mind is an archive of unlaunched ideas and  unshipped projects. One was launched yesterday, which gives me hope more will follow. I took an old 28×36 frame with glass.  Then I made a yearly calendar on matboard, fitted it under the glass and hung it above my computer.  Six dreams were assigned launch dates yesterday with a wet erase marker. Amazing the hope that one act creates. Who knows? Their launch dates may happen sooner!

  22. I can relate. I am a dreamer too. The ideas are plentiful, but the real work is sparse. I like the idea of the matboard. Can you send me a picture? You could post it here or email it to me.

  23. Tracykpratt

    How very true. I have an idea, write it down, then discover 4-5 different sheets of paper with the same idea on it (along with a pile of other ideas)

  24. I’m afraid to do that. The pile might be higher than I want to admit. : )

  25. Tracy Pratt

    “I can build momentum…shut down my brain and do.” I so struggle with the “do”. So right!!! Imagining is not the 83% fuel, it’s the courage to take move one step at a time. 

  26. Mike Zserdin

    Great post.

    Here’s 2 things that have helped me get started.

    First, knowing what to say to NO to. I have so many ideas that I can’t possibly do them all. I’m learning to discern what MUST be done vs. what’s a cool idea…

    Second, surrounding myself with people online and offline that are taking action to make the world better-including you Jeremy.

    Thank you. I’m going to SHIP a presentation today.



  27. Mike Zserdin

     That’s a good point Jeremy. Tyler, I think it was Donald Miller that said he writes his way into a story…in context, he starts writing and the storyline matures in the process. In my work, the idea starts action then the action shapes the idea.


  28. It’s amazing how much time and energy we can find when we focus on what is important and eliminate that which isn’t.

  29. Mike Zserdin


  30. I want to travel around the world, but always struggle with the practicality.  I know there is so much to learn about humanity from being in other cultures, and I want to broaden my perspective through experience.

  31. I didn’t travel that much when I was younger for the same reason. I focused on school. then marriage. Now I get to make up for it, but it still isn’t practical.

  32. I can relate. I am a dreamer too. The ideas are plentiful, but the real work is sparse. I like the idea of the matboard. Can you send me a picture? You could post it here or email it to me.

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