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How do you know if your idea is going to work? You don’t and you’re missing the point!

Are you still daydreaming about starting something on your own?

If you’re setting out to start something, a business, a website, an app, a charity, a project or anything for that matter, the first thing you want to know is whether your idea will work or not.

We all ask this question from ourselves. Will it work out? Will people buy my product? Will people visit my website? Will I have any app downloads? Will people join my charity?

I can summarize the above two paragraphs into one word; doubt.

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will

Not knowing what’s going to happen sucks. Not knowing whether your idea will work or not sucks. But that’s also the point. No one will know whether their efforts will lead to success. Yes, you can predict it up to an extent but you really wouldn’t know for sure. Otherwise, there will be so many people working on their dreams and following their passions. But that rarely happens.

So how do you know whether your idea will work or not? You don’t.

The Certainty trap

Humans love certainty. We want things in place and everything in check. We want order rather than chaos.

That’s why it’s so frustrating to wait for someone when you have no idea about the time they would arrive. That’s why you go nuts when he says he’s “close by” rather than where he actually is!

That’s also the reason why we work for monthly paychecks. You may not particularly be happy about going to work. Sunday evening is probably the worst evening of your week because you know that on Monday you have to be present at the office. But despite all your complaints, you still go to work. That’s because you love certainty.

The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary. — Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Your craving for certainty is holding you back from pursuing your dreams. You want to start something but you’re reluctant to go forward. Why? Because certainty feels comfortable.

How do you get out of the certainty trap?

There is no hard and fast rule for getting out of the certainty trap.

When I started, I wasn’t certain that people would buy books from me. Did I have all the answers when I started? Nope. I didn’t know how I was going to deliver the books in case I got an order. Hell, I didn’t even have any books when I started the website! I just listed few books online and waited. When I received the first order, I ran to a local bookshop and bought the book. I didn’t have a delivery company so I delivered the book myself (I’m still the delivery man!). I didn’t know how to import books. I didn’t know whether I should register my business or not. I didn’t know that a Sri Lankan can’t send money abroad unless you have permission to do so under special circumstances. I didn’t know that apart from the courier, there is something called airfreight which is less costly but more time-consuming. I didn’t know how to do my accounts or use QuickBooks (accounting software). I didn’t know that Sri Lankan postal service is better than most of the delivery companies in Sri Lanka. didn’t have an online payment gateway till 2018.

Despite all my doubts, I started and managed to run the business for more than a year.

The point I’m trying to make is, you wouldn’t know much when you’re going to start something, and that’s ok. I guess that’s how most of us do it. We just wing it!

But, then something strange happens!

Imagine that despite all your doubts, finally, you’re going to show your middle finger to uncertainty and do it. Then something strange happens.

you idea will work

Some call it luck, some call it God and some even call it the universe but when you really start to do something, when you really believe in your gut that you’re going to do it no matter what, suddenly everything falls into places. Random things will come to light and help you like an invisible power. The following quote by W.H. Murray puts it way better than I ever could.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” – W.H. Murray

Suddenly you’ll start meeting people who can help you out. You will come across blog posts (like this) to motivate you. Your friend will know a lawyer who can register your business. You will get an email looking for a partnership. You will feel like you’re blessed. You’ll start wondering how “random” success is.

This will only happen…

If you start! Daydreaming about your business (project/app/software/app/charity) is not going to give you the answers you’re seeking for. That’s a mistake most of us make. We wait till we have all the answers to start something. We plan for months and months with budgets and to-do lists. We get advice from others, read posts on how to start something and worry in the middle of the night about a future that we don’t have a clue.

That’s the wrong way.

Ready – Fire – Aim

Forget all your doubts and start creating. I know it sounds super cliché but when you really start believing in your idea, the rest will fall into places.

You need to start, and only then, you’ll get the answers you need. So start. Now.

That’s it for now. Did you like this post? If so, add a comment below and let me know. If you have stories that support my argument, don’t hesitate to share them with us. Just add a comment and share!

If you want to start an online business in Sri Lanka, we have a practical workshop for you. It’s called E-Commerce Essentials. To learn more and join the next workshop, click here.

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Nishan De Silva

Nishan is the founder of He is a Blogger, YouTuber, Coach, Speaker, and Entrepreneur.

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