When was the last time you took a small step calculated to get you closer to where you want to go? Seriously, when was the last time you did something seemingly insignificant, but was nevertheless guaranteed to get you closer to your goal?
Most of us have goals, desires and ambitions to be something, to do something and to go somewhere in our lives. It is only natural for us to aspire for progress and forward movement. However, forward progress is often not achieved in one giant leap, but rather through a succession of small steps that over time cover enough ground to get us where we want to be.
What most amazes me however is the number of people that want to cover maximum ground within a minimum amount of time and with the least amount of effort. Make no mistake, I too would like to cover maximum ground in a minimum amount of time with the least amount of effort, but I know that in order to make forward progress possible I must keep such wishful thinking at bay. Granted we all would like to move forward faster and succeed sooner, but let not the desire to succeed faster stop you from doing the small things that you must do today that will guarantee success tomorrow.
Given what everybody else is doing and the success stories that we hear, we are very often distracted and caused to take for granted the small steps that we must take. In fact sometimes the steps we have to take are so small we are tempted not to take them at all, which is why most people never arrive at the land of their dreams because the first step was just too small.
You’ve probably heard the saying that the Chinese have that, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Well here we are today. What is your one thousand mile journey? What is the single step that you have to take today? Imagine what would happen if you took that first step today and another step tomorrow and yet another step the next day. How far will you be at the end of year and how much ground will you have covered?
Think about it. Most people are waiting for a moment of inspiration to get started; I submit to you that you don’t have to wait. All you have to do to bring inspiration into your life is to immerse yourself on the task at hand. Success breeds success, and momentum brings more momentum. Remember too that the greatest labor saving device ever invented is tomorrow.
Benjamin Disraeli has a famous saying that “don’t leave for tomorrow that which you can do today.” I have a theory that every day is a liability that has to be redeemed through productive labor. If you don’t do what you are supposed to do today and leave it for tomorrow, when tomorrow gets here you will start tomorrow with yesterday’s debts and debts from the day before. Therefore it is important that at the end of the day you have done what you should have done during that day.
That way no matter how small or big the tasks of the day, you can be rest assured that you have made forward progress. Sometimes the things that we have to do to move forward seem too small and beneath the stature that we aspire for, but they must be done. Therefore there is a need to get over yourself or to set your ego aside in order to do that which needs to be done.
Most of us underestimate the things we can do in a day and overestimate the things we can do in a year. That is why most people have goals for the year and yet they don’t have goals for a single day. How is that yearly goal ever going to be achieved if it has not been translated into the goal of the day, goal of the week and goal of the month?
So once again I ask, what is your one thousand mile journey, and what is the small step that you have taken today? Is it having a conversation with someone? Is it reading a book or is picking up the phone to make a call?
It is my conviction that opportunities multiply and grow bigger as you seize them. That is why the quickest way to get to where you want to get is to immediately seize opportunities that are in front of you right this very moment because those opportunities will lead you to other bigger and better opportunities that will take you where you want to go.
Let the ones that are waiting for the big enough opportunities to come their way wait. In the mean time do with what you’ve got to do, seize the moment and force your way forward. I guarantee you will get there first, while the waiters are still waiting for their moment of inspiration, a lucky break or a big enough opportunity to take action.
So go out there and do something small, not just for the sake of doing something small, but because you have a deep understanding that a lifetime is made up of a string of days, and it the quality of life you put into those days that determines the quality of your lifetime. Any one day is no more important than others, they are all equally important. If you feel that there is day that is less important than others then let the powers that be know so that they can take that day away, and let’s see how that will go.