Baby Steps Move You Toward Big Dreams

Baby_walkingIt isn’t always easy to accept the low points along the path to your dream. I know, because I am a consummate look-before-you-leaper. This has led to many things, including but not limited to:

1. Several half-novels tucked away in drawers

2. Multiple abandoned devices, such as the dust-collecting bread machine and cheese press

3. Many banana bread incarnations, started before I realize I lacked eggs and consequently never finished

This, I know, probably describes many of you as well as myself. The initial enthusiasm, after all, is the easy part. What comes next is usually much more challenging. We have to actually learn that skill we think we’d instinctively be good at (cheesemaking! skateboarding! papier mâché Dia de Los Muertos figurines!), made much harder when we discover that it’s, well, hard. We have to finish the book, recalcitrant characters be damned. We face the choice of running to the store for eggs or drinking a cup of powdered cocoa mix and trying on old prom dresses instead.

Pushing through is not fun, hence the expression. Other expressions, like sailing through or gliding through, have different connotations, but they aren’t what successful people typically use to describe the effort it took to achieve their dreams.

The solution? Well, I’m no expert, but I’ve found that giving up on results, as discussed in my earlier post Forget End Results, can really help. This creates artificial distance between your vision of what you could accomplish and what you are actually capable of getting done today. There’s already a vast gulf there, most likely; the trick is learning to recognize that gap as a positive thing. So accept the truth: unless you are Superman — and you almost certainly are not — you will not finish the book tonight. You will not become an expert at a demanding craft that others take years to hone. You will not suddenly play an instrument, have a gorgeously blooming garden, or master manual transmissions today.

But you can make strides. You can inch toward these goals by sitting down at that piano, pulling some weeds or getting behind the wheel and maybe just messing with the gearshift for 15 minutes. Whatever you do, do something. The alternative is discovering that you hate powdered cocoa and your prom dress doesn’t fit.

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