“To take the first step in faith, you don’t have to see the whole staircase: just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King
We all have goals – personal, professional, spiritual. I often help people define clear goals, which would help them get a clear picture of what it is that they really want and would in turn help fine-tune their efforts to achieve the same. Making goal lists or vision boards helps immensely in giving your pursuits and life some structure.
However, for some of us the goal list itself can be fear inducing. The goals may seem beyond reach and we may find ourselves in the tight grip of anxiety and distress because achievement of the goals doesn’t seem possible. This may be stemming out of low confidence, inadequate resources, lack of discipline or even just procrastination. The target may seem too high up on the peak and the path too treacherous to undertake. The goal starts looking more like a dream, one that we may never be able to turn into reality. While some continue ‘dreaming’, others lose hope to the extent of giving up. We all have at least some such goals right? The ones we would love to attain but have convinced ourselves are impractical or impossible?
This can be understood in terms of a staircase with your goal being to reach the top of the staircase. At times this seems achievable, and easily so but many a time it seems too high and too far and it’s difficult for you to imagine reaching that high. However, just pause and see that for now all that you need to do is take one step. Whether you have 10 more steps to follow or a 1000, right now it is only about this one step, this one action. So no matter how huge or how small your staircase is, you have to climb it only one step at a time. So your present goal is only that one small step in front of you, irrespective of what lies ahead and behind you.
It helps to have an overall view or the bigger picture of situations, tasks or life so you know where you’re going and have some sort of direction and purpose. It also helps you to not get trapped in minuscule unimportant aspects. However, when you see yourself getting overwhelmed and lost in this big picture, zoom in. Bring yourself back to the present, to the here and now of life, because that’s all there is. Focus on what needs to be done now and the immediate future, take care of the details and the big picture will take care of itself. Climb each step and you won’t have to worry about conquering the whole staircase. As they say, God is in the details.
Take one step at a time. That’s all it takes, that’s all it will ever take.
Post contributed by: Mahima Gupta (Psychologist, Inner Space, 2010-2012)