Wise Words – The Only Choice You Have Is to Begin

“The only choice you have is to begin. The only place to start is where you are.”

Seth Godin


Looking through one of my prior journals, I came across this bold statement, a quote from Seth Godin, that struck me enough to write it down. Reading it again causes the same stunning note to ring inside me, speaking directly to my spiritual life.

The first part of the quote is provocative. Is to begin really the only choice? Couldn’t I just as easily choose not to begin, maybe just sit this one out? But no sooner do those words float across my mind than I feel a resounding “No!” coming from my bones. To refuse to begin, to stand at the threshold and reject the invitation, is unthinkable.

And so I take the leap. I make the choice to begin. Begin what? Whatever is before me at this stage of the journey, today and each day forward. The choice

to spend the morning writing,

to sit on this cushion,

to stop and marvel at the colors of the sky,

to open the iron gate that shields my heart,

to feel the buried things I’ve tried so hard to forget,

to start the painful process of forgiving that one person,

to connect to my soul,

to move forward toward whatever is next for me. It is this that I begin.

But how can I begin if I don’t know how it will end, whether it’s too big, too grand, too much, too far? That’s the second part of the quote – the only place to start is where you are. It turns the overwhelm into something simple. The choice to begin doesn’t rest on the promise of an ending. Like everyone who begins, I choose to start not knowing where it goes.

For anything worthwhile, the choice to begin can’t contain the forecast of its full completion because the walking changes both the person walking and the road traveled. To choose something less is playing in your own backyard.

So I choose to begin regardless, starting here, because this is where I happened to be standing when I heard the call.

Photo by Carolina Pimenta on Unsplash

2 Replies to “Wise Words – The Only Choice You Have Is to Begin”

  1. Yes, very wise. Early in my professional career (early means, aloooong time ago) I attended an organizational development training program and written on the board was the statement “you cannot not not make a choice.” Although some of the choices I made turned out not so good, I realized that not making a choice left one rudderless. Often times that was not so good a choice. In my old age, I have painfully discovered a tendency to delay or put off making a choice. Not a good idea. Thank you for the reminder.

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