It was the great Lao Tzu who said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” It can be stated in a million different ways, but it is true.
It is a matter of getting started. Beginning.
I heard a great story tonight, about a kid who had to write a term paper about birds. The assignment due date fell at the end of their Spring Break. As procrastinators do, he waited until the last minute. The family was vacationing at a cabin. The night before he had to go back to school, he sat at the kitchen table, which was filled with books on birds, and encyclopedias, and notebooks. He was crying his eyes out, feeling the overwhelming weight of the mountain of information to be compiled.
His father leaned across the table, put his arm around his son’s shoulder … and said….”Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”
The journey of a thousand steps. Inch by inch.
Or little by little. I had a friend who was a lawyer in the Chicago area. We used to sit down and talk about the logistics, and practicalities, of life. She had a keen sense of humor. It was cutting and dry. Most people thought she was stiff. But in fact, she was lyrical. She was also a single mother, with two kids. This, in addition to her rigorous work schedule, made time management a bit difficult at times.
When it came to getting her kids to do their household chores, like making a bed, or emptying the trash, she would always tell them, “Bud, it will only take two minutes. Two minutes and you are done.”
It is a good way to see things, if we can. Even the longest and most difficult ventures have a starting point. A launch pad. A starting line.
Our brains are sort of wired toward instant gratification. So when we start out on achieving a new goal, or a new path, or a new change, we want to see the Pot of Gold right here, right now. But the thing of it is, the end of the rainbow could be a long way off.
Starting small is most likely our best bet. That first step. That one bird.
I know. Sometimes it is easier said, than done. That is precisely why I need someone to tell me how to take my own advice.
“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”
― Mark Twain
“The beginning is always NOW.”
― Roy T. Bennett
“Awareness is the starting point of every quest and the outcome of every journey.”
― Azim Jamal & Brian Tracy, What You Seek Is Seeking You