Sometimes you run into a challenge that stops you in your tracks. And you have this voice in your head that says, “I NEED to solve this thing. Otherwise, I can’t move on.”
Remember when you had to take tests in school, and you would run into a question you didn’t have the answer to?
What do you do when you run into a challenge like that? Do you keep trying hard to remember the answer or to solve the problem?
Or do you skip the question and finish the test first before you come back to it? For many years, I did the former. I always assumed you needed to complete a test from start to finish.
I used to be pretty anxious before taking tests. But one time, a teacher told me, “Just skip a question you don’t have the answer to.” This advice was golden to me as a kid.
Previously, I thought things like, “What if I get stuck?”
Now, I think, “So what if I get stuck? I’ll just skip it!”
I still apply that advice in my adult life. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I get so much done.
Why momentum matters
If you want to accomplish anything in life, whether it’s acing a test, writing a book, or starting a business, momentum is everything.
We all know how good it feels to get excited about something new. Maybe you want to form a daily walking habit, or maybe you want to start writing articles after putting them off for many years.
You get started, and after a few weeks, you get stuck. You want to go for a walk, but you got in a fender bender on your way to the supermarket. Or you want to write, but you just can’t find a good way to end the story you’re working on.
What most people do is this: They give up on their goal. It takes something really small to stop your momentum. You just have to get emotional for a day. And then, you get inside your own head.
It’s just like taking that test in school. When your test has 20 questions and you only have 60 minutes to complete it, you don’t want to stop for 30 minutes at question 3.
You won’t only waste time when you stop for too long. What’s worse, you also waste energy when you struggle.
You want to make things effortless
Sometimes you just have to be strategic about skipping things. Especially if you want to make progress in life. Both our time and energy are limited, and it’s easy to lose sight of what really matters.
For example, if you want to build a career, you sometimes need to skip keeping your house spotless or cooking elaborate meals every single night. Or if you want to write consistently, you just have to delete some drafts that drain your energy.
Last year, I had the idea to write a book about staying centered. I started the book, but I soon got stuck. I just didn’t enjoy writing it at the time, so I got rid of it. I moved on to something else.
You want to skip some things because you don’t want to expend more energy on things than necessary.
Life and work are already hard. Why make it harder for yourself by being so rigid?
You want to be flexible and adapt to what comes your way. And sometimes, the best way to make progress is to decide NOT to do something.