Start Small To Make It Big

Anyone who has set off on a journey. Be it self-improvement, or towards a dream or goal. Will, at least at the beginning, have had to face a fear. That almost overwhelming feeling that comes when you realise the true scope of what you have to do to fulfil that aim.

Like a hobby jogger who wants to run a marathon. Or a couch potato who just wants to be able to run 5km. Or someone who fancies themselves as a writer and wants to write a book. That ultimate goal, the finish line, seems so hard to reach, so far out of grasp, when you are just at the start. The trick is to ignore the end goal and just start moving.

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The finish might be too far away to see. But it’s still there.

It can be even more daunting if you feel you are late to the game. Everyone else has so much more experience and expertise. The other runners you are up against have already run a marathon, maybe many. The dreams you have are also held by others. And they have been working on theirs for years.

Two things are important here. The first, and possibly the most important. No matter what you do, do not, I repeat, do not compare yourself to anyone else! No good will come of it. You will always see something in someone else that you don’t see in yourself. Someone else will be fitter, stronger, healthier than you. Have more success, money, admiration. Maybe even be where you want to be. Comparing yourself to others will only fill you full of worry, self-doubt and fear.

I’m not saying to stop looking at other people and their successes. It is great to have people to admire. People whose stories give you hope. People who have achieved what you want to achieve. People that have the qualities you want to have. They can be an inspiration. A guide to show you that it is all possible. You may even want to emulate them.

Just don’t compare yourself to them. There is one person, and one person only, you should compare yourself to. Yourself! The you of yesterday, last week, last year. Only there will you see how far you have come. Only there will you recognise your positive improvements. And once you do you will be surprised at how much you yourself becomes a source of inspiration, a source of hope, a source of pure drive, to yourself.

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The second thing. Don’t be afraid of starting small. Everyone has to start somewhere. And that somewhere is at the beginning. It doesn’t matter how far you have to go, how large your goal is. As the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”. He didn’t say it was a large step, just a step. Why try to go too far too soon?

Did Usain Bolt run 100m in under 10s the first time he ran? Did Jimmy Page play Stairway to Heaven the first time he picked up a guitar? Did JK Rowling write Harry Potter the first time she put pen to paper? Of course not.

I’ve mentioned this before in previous posts but when I started on this journey of being better one of my first goals was to get fit, get stronger. I didn’t start that by working out for an hour at a time, trying to lift the heaviest weights possible. It was barely a few minutes exercise. A few bicep curls. A few bench presses with light weights. At the beginning I wasn’t even breaking a sweat. What I was doing was getting into the habit of doing what I needed to do. Taking the first little baby steps. And continuing to take them.

Now, some 11 months later, my routine is up to 45 minutes long, the weights much heavier in comparison, the repetitions vastly increased, with time on a cross-trainer added. I couldn’t have done that at the start. And if I had tried to, back then, I probably would have said ‘enough of this’ and just stopped doing it. Now, I’m in a place where I mostly dread going out to do it. But do it anyway because I love the feeling I get after. That feeling of growing in strength.

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A little work done often goes a long way

Even this blog has made me realise the importance of starting small. I was looking at my statistics the other day and had a great shock when I saw that prior to this post I had written 59,339 words since I started blogging at the beginning of this year. If someone had told me prior to that first post on January 6 that by June 6 they wanted me to write a 59,000 word book, on any subject matter I wanted, I would have told them it wasn’t possible. I couldn’t do that. I’m a working single dad, have responsibilities, don’t have the time. The list of anyones excuses can be endless. But here we are.

Even my blog posts are done bit by bit. I might write it on the computer in one go but before that it’s all the little bits I do in preparation for it. It’s the jotting down of ideas, a few key words or phrases, as I go about my day. The best of it is, I can still do more. I am doing more, taking more steps. Steps in the right direction at that.

Personally, I don’t even pay much attention to my end goals, they’re always changing anyway. The reason being that as I take another step on this road of being better, find myself progressing, I am finding new interests, new avenues to pursue, new goals to chase and attain. That being said, I do think it is important to finish anything you start.

The start small to make it big principle is perfectly summed up in Darren Hardy’s book ‘The Compound Effect: Jumpstart your income, your life, your success’.
In the book, Hardy talks about how small changes, which show no immediate result, but which are done consistently over time, will make a real difference in your life.
He illustrates this with a simple formula: Small smart choices + consistency + time = radical difference.

Small Smart Choices + Consistency+ Time =Radical Difference! (1)

It is worth noting that the compound effect can also work in the negative. Like how having an extra cream bun every day will eventually increase your weight. Or how a smokers teeth and skin will change over time, their possible health problems increase, just by having a cigarette a day. That is why Hardy’s formula has small smart choices. As long as the choices you make, the steps you take, are the right choices, the steps in the right direction, then their benefits will be positive.

So to anyone out there looking at that long road ahead, that vast mountain that is rising up before you, that big thing in front of you, have no fear. Take a measure of yourself, take that small step, then take another, keep moving. Look back once in a while, marvel at how far you’ve come, soak it in, and then keep on going. That mountain? It’s only really a molehill. That long road? A line in the dirt. It’ll all be behind you before you know it. Start small to make it big.

36 thoughts on “Start Small To Make It Big

  1. Another inspiring post. There were so many points you said that resonated with me – I love when you said “You will always see something in someone else that you don’t see in yourself” this is so true and is what makes us all unique. As you said, we should look to people as an inspirational guide and not a destination – well you didn’t say it like that but you get it…lol. Great Post my friend =)

  2. This is a great and inspiring post! I second you in never comparing your self to anyone it’s really destructive! And certainly we should start from one step and then we should have The persistence and the discipline to reach our goals!
    WTG for the progress you made and best of luck πŸ™‚

  3. Same principles apply everywhere. For example, in academia, we tend to rush into publishing papers. But if you rush it, no good comes out of it. Patience through small sets of data is required.

    1. I agree. Think the important thing is to break it down into small, manageable chunks. And then build on them. Being patient, and persistent, is key.
      Thanks for your input. Much appreciated! Best wishes to you!

  4. i find this very inspiring, you have a lot of wisdom and light, also love how your writing flows. Small steps, don’t compare harshly, look back to savour victories – all so wonderfully told with sincerity.

    1. Wow Gina. Thank you so much. And am glad you find it inspiring! I actually believe something has awakened within me, something beyond myself. Hard to explain really.
      Thanks for saying that about my writing also. Very much appreciated. When I see you’ve commented I can’t wait to read it as they always come across with honesty and kindness. Much love to you and yours πŸ™‚

      1. Thank you. I am glad that you feel that. Have been feeling like I am getting stronger mentally and physically.
        Oh I plan on writing for the rest of my days at least. Thanks again. Take care πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you. Read it as much as you like πŸ˜‰
      I know if I compared myself to others my age I would get disappointed. But when I look at how far I have come since starting this it fills me with hope, a belief I can do so much more.
      If it helps you. That is fantastic!
      Best wishes to you.

  5. Before I had the boldness of starting my blog, I was scared that my blog will fail before even starting. I was scared of starting a new blog after erasing my last entertainment blog of so many traffic to start a more mild blog. But I faced my fear and started the blog. Now am happy and proud to have 500 plus followers in my community and a lot of traffic online. Am also happy its contributing to people’s lives, changing their mindsets about life and feel important in terms of motivation and inspiration. Am still growing to become better in my writings and engagements. Thank you for this piece. God bless

    1. That was certainly a big change. I can see how that would have been very daunting for you. So happy for you that it has worked out! Having the chance and ability to help anyone in seeing a different mindset, feeling a bit better, a bit more positive, is certainly a wonderful thing. Something that can only be good for everyone involved.
      I am happy for you to have succeeded in what you are doing. Wish you the very best with your writings and engagements! God bless you too! And thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to comment on my humble blog. Take care my friend

  6. I experienced all these fears before I decided to start writing again and posting and blogging again . It took me experiencing burn out in my career to realize that I needed to reintroduce my hobbies ( writing, photography and blogging) back into my life and make them my biggest time consumer because these are hobbies I can do alone and with the people I love. Either way, it’s a win win scenario and I can draw inspiration from my current career. My goal is to eventually be a published author for a poetry book or possibly more. Also, I saw this concert back in October. The artist, Florence Welch said something that truly hit me hard and brought me tears. She said,” Whatever you do, no matter how small you feel it is, go out and you do it. You change the world just by existing.” It’s loosely quoted because I don’t remember the exact words but they really stuck with me. I got home from Philly that Monday night and wrote 6 poems, not stopping in between. It felt so incredible . A week or two after I began posting them . It’s just an amazing feeling when you’re back into the swing of doing the things you love. It’s incredible how it reaches others as well. That’s one of the reasons I honestly enjoy posting on here because it’s a great way to reach out to other artists and talk about this stuff and share ideas. Great post ! Sorry my comment is a little long !

    1. That is great! It feels good to be on the right path. You feel it in your very being.
      Is that Florence from Florence and the machine? Love her first two albums. Never seen her live though. That would be inspiring. Especially to us creative types.
      Sometimes it’s hard to find like-minded types where you live but here on WordPress they are in their abundance, and so willing to share and encourage. It’s truly wonderful.
      Best of luck with your poetry. I can feel your passion for it and wish you every success.
      Don’t worry about the long comment. I love that you cared enough to share!
      Thank you. Much love to yourself!

      1. Thank you so much πŸ™‚ yes it was Florence and the Machine ! Yes it was very inspiring . She’s one of my favorite artists for her creativity . Thank you for responding and your feedback as well. I greatly appreciate connecting on here with other writers. In the day to day community, it feels like there’s not many of us and then we come on WordPress lol

  7. Hey CJ! Your post was a very good reminder. I am writing a book, and I’ve recently reached a check point. I had written about 15 thousand words, and, at that time, I was very proud and impressed with myself (not ego, just satisfaction). And then, RIGHT AFTER, I read a post where a blogger says that she wrote 10 thousand words in one week. I was shocked. And maybe a bit dissapointed.

    I wrote those 15 thousand words in probably 4 months, officially. And I admit, I was a little bit upset that my achievement was basically not even an achievement at all. But I guess after I pondered around it, I realized I did do a lot. I’m not English; I’m not a writer; I don’t have such a vast vocabulary; I’m very young, but I still wrote it. And I’ll finish this book, even if it took me 4 years when it would’ve taken others a year or so.

    Your points should be always remembered when one is trying to fulfill some dream of theirs.
    P.S I should note that please keep on writing. You’re the only writer I read that hasn’t bore me to tears while reading self-improvement etc.
    Hope you’re having a great time and a happy day! 😊

    1. Hi Nour Lee, You should be proud with yourself! 15,000 words is great!! That is a fantastic achievement! I’m impressed πŸ™‚ You say you’re not a writer. I disagree. I think those 15,000 words would agree with me hahah.
      From what I can tell I doubt there are many your age who could claim such a thing. It doesn’t matter if it takes you longer than others. The fact you are even writing a book is more than most can say. And as someone once said to me ‘it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon’. Keep going and you’ll get there in the end.
      Awww, thank you for saying such kind words. The fact I don’t bore you makes me happy πŸ™‚ Thank you.
      Hope you are keeping well also. Best wishes always.

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