Nothing Happens Until Something Happens


 “Nothing happens until something happens.”


A friend of mine used to tell me this all the time. I didn’t really have a clue what he was talking about. Of course nothing happens until something happens. What a ridiculous statement.

But I took it on board, and I sat tight and waited for something happen. For years. In fact I’d been waiting my whole life. I kept going through the motions, doing the same thing I’d always done, the thing I was supposed to do, and wondering why I always got the same crappy results.

Nothing ever happened.

Of course this didn’t necessarily disprove his statement. I would have to wait until the end of time until I could turn around and wag my finger at him, pointing out how he was wrong and I was right. But the thing is, I was stuck in a rut. And because I was busy – busy doing all the things I’d always done – I thought that I was working really hard to get out of it. I was under the illusion that all this splashing around was the same a swimming toward a goal, when all I was doing was drowning.

Maya Angelou famously said “nothing works unless you do”, and while I understand the sentiment I think there’s a little more to it than that. You can bang your head against a wall, but banging it harder is only going to make your headache worse.

I used to think I was lazy, but I wasn’t. I wasn’t exactly sitting around. I was working hard, doing what I’d always done, what I was supposed to. But I was just not seeing any results no matter how hard I worked.

And then something happened. I did something. Something different. And things started to change. I started taking different actions and, surprise, surprise, I got different results. And the whole thing started to accelerate.

You need to combine your hard work with focus and intent – set yourself different tasks to the ones that have got you here but no further. And then make course corrections over and over and over again. New actions, new glimpses outside your comfort zone.

I was frustrated that I wasn’t getting the recognition that I thought I deserved with my photography. The work wasn’t coming in. So I started doing different things, entering contests, and accepting rejection as part of the process. Before long the awards began to stack up, and I was no-longer just a photographer, but I had become a ‘multi-award winning’ photographer.

That sounds good on my email footer.

But more importantly I started doing things differently internally. I started to disassociate myself from the negative stories I was telling myself, I started looking for the things that I was clinging to that were making me unhappy. And I changed my actions – my daily routines – until I was able to fine tune my mental processes to give extra weight to the things that served me, and let go of the things that didn’t.

My world changed. I changed.

I no longer identified as being someone who ‘couldn’t’ and reinvented myself as someone who could. I let go of the idea that my life was lacking somehow and recognised the abundance that I already had around me, and prosperity began to flow in my direction. Property, cars, money… stuff. But more important than that, I saw it for what it was – just stuff – rather than something I yearned for which I thought I would never have, because I was someone who ‘couldn’t’.

Most importantly my constant rumination on the dark side gave way to sunshine. Life wasn’t perfect, but I was much more capable of dealing with it. Where before I would always find a negative caveat, I found myself seeking – and finding – the silver lining.

Nothing happened, and then something happened.

If you want something different to what you’ve got, you have to do something different to what you’ve always done. And for the most part that means thinking different thoughts and developing a different outlook. Stop complaining, stop judging, stop seeking problems, stop making excuses. Stop resisting your potential.

Seek out beauty. Get on with it. Find solutions. Do something. Anything. See what happens. The power is inside you. Use it.

Nothing happens until you make something happen. So why wait?