Progress: A Matter of Small Things

Often the human predicament is that we want to accomplish big goals, and because that’s difficult we end up not doing anything. However, this is a misinformed way of perceiving reality. Why? Because the mind could not see past certain boundaries. We want to do big things, and the mind would like to have it all figured out before we embark on the journey, or it loses its patience when things do not go well and we quit. Most of the time, we quit. This is why the “successful” people are so few.

The mind, while it is already a great gift, serves as a limitation here. The future is an unknown, and the unknown is something that the mind could not possibly prepare for. So we ought to eventually at some point, simply let go of its inherent – and perpetual – doubts, to walk into the unknown and embrace possibility – even awe and amazement that lies beyond.

It is not a leap of courage, but many steps of courage. And while taking these steps, we need to cultivate sensitivity to our surroundings and a meditative presence within, so that we could manage and react appropriately to unforeseen challenges that come at us.

The successes of many successful people are due to consistent undertaking of small steps.

Even “big” achievements could be misleading, especially if they come easily. Truly good things take patience, cultivation and time. If you have big dreams that will ultimately bring much joy and fulfilment, it is highly likely that your journey will be made up of small, seemingly insignificant steps done consistently that will serve as building blocks.

But moreover, it is easy to get lost in big goals. The fixation of “going big” takes our focus toward the targetted end-goal itself and away from the process that truly matters. If this is the case, one of the greatest things we would forsake is the joy of creation in the present moment, which ultimately affects the quality of our work. On the contrary, choosing to always “start small” means that we do not see results immediately. The benefit is that we are less fazed by the applause (or rejection) of the world – both of which are distractions – in response to our work. We could focus on grounding ourselves in the process of creating what would truly make us happy, that comes from our core, our authenticity, our uniqueness. The process of discovering what makes our hearts beat with passion and cultivating these energy and qualities in our lives – so as to provide raw, authentic value/service – takes time. Going small not only takes the pressure off, but frees up the space to allow this magic to occur. When we could ground ourselves in this spirit, we are less likely to lose it in the future when greater successes come to fruition.

If you would, for example, cultivate the ability and lifestyle to consistently generate really authentic content of high quality, you could provide more value to your audience – and personal joy – through the platform of your choice, even if you have a smaller outreach than, let’s say, someone who has an Instagram page with posts that gain thousands of likes but is made up of artificial superficial content. Work that is produced by the dictation of the approval of the world is an unsustainable trap that would not bring long term fulfilment. Yet, small steps do not yield immediate results, but if done connected with our core authenticity over a consistent basis, produce long-term, sustainable joyful work.

Seth Godin, a famous author and entrepreneur, has inspired some of these ideas. To learn more about the art and philosophy of undertaking small steps for big goals, go here.

So keep your lofty dreams in perspective, but small steps will take you there.

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