We’ve heard the phrase, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher, wrote those words in his Republic.
They are correct, but I would like to suggest a corollary.
On March 13, 2020, life lurched to a full stop. It felt like going 60 mph and shifting into reverse. You can imagine what that is like in an automobile. It’s worse in life.
COVID-19 stopped being a news story and started affecting everyone’s life. Now, I was working from home. We restricted ourselves from human contact. Shelter-at-home became a mandate, not a suggestion.
Something unanticipated happened.
For several months (dare I say, years), I toyed with the idea of getting into podcasting. But I never pulled the trigger.
Barriers popped up. None were physical, but the self-created mental ones that shoo away progress.
Here were my barriers.
I don’t know enough. This is a specialized field requiring vast knowledge.
I don’t have the right equipment. I needed a studio with professional microphones and recording equipment. That was out of reach.
I didn’t have the time. I toyed with the need to get 3 weeks worth of programs written before I would even start.
I needed to investigate formats. I listen to a fair amount of podcasts, so I knew there were many options.
I am untrained. I listened to professionals who had written books. Experts spoke with mellow baritone sounds. They had knowledge beyond my sphere. I did not have those kinds of credentials.
I was afraid. What if it flopped and no one listened? No one likes to have the “L” sign for “Loser” tattooed on their psyche.
So, I said, “Later.” When I had more time, more experience, more training, or more knowledge I could begin.
I was the proverbial person who was “commencing to start to begin.”
Then came COVID-19. With semi-hibernation and a load of boredom, I searched for something to do. In my church, I was teaching a virtual Bible class. I was recording video, editing, and posting. I learned I could use my phone and my Airpods. I did not need an expensive studio. I had a small $15 tripod with a camera attachment on top of an Amazon box.
I decided to branch out. With people disconnected, I knew people who needed something. They needed something to pull them together. With busted routines, they needed something regular. News depressed, so they needed something to encourage.
I decided on a single concept. It was a Facebook Live morning program at 7 am, on weekday mornings.
So Morning Coffee was born.
Which gives rise to an alteration of Plato’s saying:
Necessity is the mother of motivation.
Until the need was clear in my mind, it was easy to put off. I had good reasons for the delay. When I sensed the pressing need, my mental barriers collapsed like falling dominoes.
I started and never looked back.
Here is what I learned in the process.
Start small. I had it built up a daily to be expensive, time-consuming, and difficult. Could I do 5 or 10 minutes in the morning with nothing but a box and my phone? Sure. It’s not elegant but it works. It got me started.
The hardest thing to do is to overcome inertia. Start and you have something to test. Life is ready, fire, aim.
Make it easy to do. For me, three months of programs were over the top for sure. I decided to make it as easy as possible. (Most of us, including me, are lazy and looking for shortcuts.) I sit down on a Friday and choose five topic keywords. I put them in my planner. I had a road map.
After dinner, I took a single sheet of paper each night and made notes of what I wanted to say. I then transferred those notes into a simple outlining program. Before bed, I set up my tripod on an Amazon box, put out my Airpods and iPad (which I used for notes), and got ready.
In the morning, I got up, started my coffee, and sat down to do the program. I turned on Facebook Live, did the video, and I was done.
Meet a need. It has been successful with over 150 views a day. I’m not Malcolm Gladwell but feel gratified by the response. I have contributed to the lives of others. If you don’t serve an audience, you parade your ego.
This morning, I sat before my box, tapped “live” on the screen, and spoke for 8 minutes. What I planned I was now accomplishing.
Without COVID-19, I would still be reading articles, making plans, and postponing the “never-going-to-happen.” But with the trouble, it kicked me into the right gear.
As Plato said, necessity might be the mother of invention, but it is also the mother of motivation. What have you waited to do that you need to do?