The Power of Starting
The Chinese proverb, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” may be over-used, but there is still some truth to it.
I tend to use hiking analogies to demonstrate how to pursue one’s dream. I like the imagery of a path with a summit ahead in the distance, waiting to be conquered.
But let’s be realistic, nobody just shows up on a path ready to climb a mountain.
There’s a preparation period preceding it. Gathering materials, researching routes, and psyching yourself out are all necessary and significant steps before a mountain-conquering expedition begins.
However, it’s at this early stage that people fail to chase their dream — because they don’t even attempt to start.
The Simple yet Incredible Power of Starting
I recently got around to reading the highly-recommended, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It’s a small book. I’ve meticulous combed through it, studying and taking notes on every page.
His book is jam-packed with thought nuggets to chew on. One thing, because of its simplicity and potential impact, has stood out above everything else.
Pressfield quotes W.H. Murray (a Scottish mountaineer) who quotes Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (a German writer and statesman):
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. Begin it now.
Nike has their own condensed version:
Just do it.
There is power in starting.
No matter how insurmountable your dream may be, you can at least start. If you don’t reach your dream, fine. Failure is still good. But start again.
Keep starting until you finish. Then find something else to start.
Start. Fail. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started a new dream, hobby, or project only to later fall flat on my face. I almost didn’t start this blog because I anticipated its failure. Why put myself through another failed venture, I thought.
I still struggle with the I’m-a-failure mentality. I’m relatively unknown. My work has never gone viral. I don’t have thousands of readers.
But week in and week out, I show up and start a new post.
I keep Stepping Forward.
In no way is this blog a huge success in terms of metrics, but without it, I wouldn’t have been able to meet so many awesome millennials who are doing incredible things with their lives.
But don’t just take my anecdote as the gospel truth.
- What if Beethoven didn’t start his 5th Symphony?
- What if Michael Jordan didn’t start shooting hoops?
- What if Mother Teresa didn’t start Missionaries of Charity?
The world would look completely different, wouldn’t it?
Why is starting powerful?
Why do I implore millennials to start and give their dreams a chance? Because too many of us let our dreams slip away, simply because we were too afraid to take one small step forward.
Even if it’s just one step, at the very least you’re a step closer to your dream. And taking the first step makes the next step that much easier.
Starting is powerful. It primes us to take advantage of the opportunities as they come.
Take for example, Lisa Kirk. She went after her dream by starting a blog. She wrote one post, then another, and another until she caught the eye of one of the most prominent wedding magazines. And now she’s an editor for Southern Weddings magazine.
The journey may seem long, but it has to begin with the first step.
One Small Step
I’m going to challenge you, I’ll even volunteer to be your accountability partner. What is one small step you can take to chase your dream?
Do it today.
If you want more encouragement, my email is declan[at]millennialtype[dot]com. If you email me, I’ll even send you my personal cell number. That’s how serious I am about this. I want you to take that step.
Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.
This post originally appeared on my blog, A Millennial Type on March 9, 2016.