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getting started

The 85 Percent Solution

I recently finished reading I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi.

I know what you’re thinking, “Wow, you got suckered into buying and reading a book with that title?!”

First of all, it was gifted to me after accepting my first full-time position and second, I honestly wish I would’ve read it a decade ago.

After moving past the seemingly shallow title, I learned so much about:

  1. Optimizing credit cards

  2. Setting up no-fee, high-interest bank accounts

  3. Opening investment accounts

  4. Creating a conscious spending plan

  5. Automating the entire process

  6. Learning how to pick the right investments

Outside of these six steps, one of the most helpful insights I learned was “The 85 Percent Solution.”

In Ramit’s words, it’s basically the idea that “getting started is more important than becoming an expert.”

After reading this, I realized that this not only applies to finance, it can be used in any area of life.

Whether you’re a writer, a freelancer, or a new entrepreneur, putting something in place that works is much more important than getting it “right.”

Your idea doesn’t have to be fully fleshed out in order for it to be valuable to someone else.

In fact, I bet there are plenty of people out there who need an imperfect solution now instead of a perfect solution later.

85 percent isn’t 100, but it’s better than zero.

Getting started

Over the years, I’ve learned that most people face the same challenge while working on creative projects:

Getting started.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Thanks to the Internet, we now have access to a million and one ways to tackle pretty much anything we come across.

With all of this information comes the inevitable paralysis-by-analysis.

As much as I tend to overthink things, I always come back to the same piece of advice: keep things simple.

Do you want to start writing that book you’ve been sitting on for years? Take out your phone and write the introduction using your Notes app.

Do you have an idea for an illustration series? Draw the first one and upload that sucker to Instagram.

Do you want to start your own clothing line? Lay out one t-shirt in Photoshop and share it with others.

I know I’m making the first step sound easy, but that’s because it really is. As always, we tend to overcomplicate things in theory.

At the end of the day, most things in life are just a series of steps.

All you have to do is figure out how to take the first one.