“Fret not where the road will take you. Instead, concentrate on the first step. That is the hardest part and that is what you are responsible for. Once you take that step let everything do what it naturally does and the rest will follow. Don’t go with the flow. Be the flow.” — Rumi
This is some sage advice we all need to be reminded of from time to time.
Too many people (myself included) get bogged down with the sheer amount of things to do, or just how big their goal is to achieve. And what then transpires is a dangerous concoction of procrastination, distraction and overwhelm — with a side order of stress and a generous helping of guilt thrown in for good measure, too.
This is nothing but a slippery path to failure and also how fatigue and burnout eventually sets in.
Let’s say a project has 100 tasks required to complete it or to get to the next milestone. We usually think about everything we need to do to FINISH — and not only that, we think we need to know HOW to do all 100 of them before we even get started. And we don’t get started because we think oh well, I can’t do x y z yet. So it becomes intimidating, and with each day that passes, the project, business or body we’re trying to build becomes an unconquerable, fearsome, fire-breathing beast.
And that’s the entire problem, in a nutshell.
The truth is, you don’t need to think about step 99.
You don’t even need to think about step 12.
Focus on step 1 and step 1 alone.
That requires all your focus, all your energy and what you’ll find is that you’ll power through way quicker than you thought but also as you progress through each of these micro-actions, you’ll also realise you’ve learned things along the way, that will make step 12, step 25, step 87 better.
If you had tried to think it all out at the beginning, it was knowledge you didn’t even have, that’s why you felt overwhelmed and unable to move forward.
Take action, then learn.
Don’t learn, then take action.
The journey and process uncovered what you needed to know and more importantly, who you needed to become to be able to complete the project in full.
As the project evolves, so do you as a person. You’re not the same person at the start, as you are at the end.
So the next time you’re struggling, just think — what’s the only thing I need to do, to move this forward one micro-step?
You don’t need motivation, you just need momentum.