Today I had a very interesting day and the lesson of my day I found in this short story.
A Mountain Of Dirt
By Byron Pulsifer, © 2010
It’s always a great idea to keep the front lawn looking tidy and to repair any problems. With this thought in mind, we had delivered a dump truck full of topsoil in order to fill in two large holes created when two old tree stumps were removed.
The big, big mound of earth sat there dumped 200 feet away from these holes waiting for me to begin the process. What had started out as a great idea soon soured when I realized that this big, big mound of earth was not going to move itself and seemed overwhelming. All I could see, as I stood beside it with my shovel and wheelbarrow, was a dump truck full of topsoil; a mound of earth that looked more like a mini-mountain than a pile of earth that would be a simple Saturday afternoon chore. Oh my goodness, why did I ever think that this hole filling, lawn repair project, was something I would be able to tackle?
After staring at this pile of topsoil for ten minutes wondering whether I should hire someone to do what I just couldn’t see myself doing, an old Chinese proverb came to mind, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” The translation of this proverb to the task at hand immediately became obvious. I needed to take one shovel at a time until a wheelbarrow was full, and then keep filling one wheelbarrow at a time and dumping it until one hole was full then simply repeating the process until both holes were finished.
You see, what I had to remind myself was that what might at first appear as an overwhelming task, or something I couldn’t see myself doing, would be resolved by simply taking one step at a time, or one action at a time, over and over again.
Projects, problems, or one’s own need to learn a new job or career skill has the same application. Every difficult goal that, at first, may be viewed as an insurmountable obstacle can be resolved when you implement a strategy that requires only one-step at a time. Each action taken moves you forward, continuous progress is seen, and the final goal is closer and closer until it is accomplished.