"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step". - Lao Tzu.
Initially a Chinese proverb, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a simple step" is one of my favourite quotes about the journey of life.
I don't know about you but I'm not good with big jobs. I'm also honest enough to admit that that first step is almost impossible for me to take at times. I procrastinate. I am the Queen of stall tactics and I am enormously proud to say that I can delay some stuff for like a million years. (Slight exaggeration.) I also have chronic anxiety, depression and really poor self-esteem, and I never think that what I do is good enough. So sometimes I don't move at all.
In my head I see some personal journeys like a running race .. The whistle blows and I just sit there.. After a time I'm still sitting there. It feels like everyone else has blown me away.. . But there I am.. still in the same spot. I'm just hanging out, inwardly panicking about an infinite number of possibilities, writing a 'To Do' list while everyone has else has disappeared and are a blur in the distance! I mean I could lie to myself saying that I'm a 'planner', but really I just freeze.
If the above running race was shown to you as a cartoon with animals and stuff I'd be depicted as the ostrich! A smart, literate ostrich wearing on point activewear, armed with a clipboard of things to do, but an ostrich nonetheless. My initial response is to bury my head and just hope it will all work out. (By the way I say this knowing that the whole thing about ostriches burying their heads in the sand is a myth! I mean how can they do that and not die of asphyxiation?)
I know that this quote is about taking that first step. That discrete action to start a long process or task, or anything major in your life. It's about facing your fears and just starting - just take that first step.
When I read this quote, I'm hearing the words say that after taking that first step I need to to chip away at those overwhelming and difficult tasks. As I do this I'll slowly learn what is needed to take the next step, then the next - well you get the drift!
Just keep stepping forward Pauline!
I have put this quote on candles and wall-signs and our customers have used this quote to remind them that they may be feeling overwhelmed by what they've got ahead of them, but also they find comfort in knowing that they're not alone. Given to someone who is facing challenges ahead, this quote will help them break down the road ahead of them into smaller, achievable steps.
I think this quote is trying to teach me that even things that seem ginormous and unachievable can be done, and that after a time of navigating through those challenging and long journeys I will notice what was initially seen as steep and uphill, becomes a more even, open plain, and at some point the road travelled becomes larger than the sum parts of the whole. Progress! Go figure.
I need to tell myself that I will reach my destination of my journey, or completion of my task. I need to remind myself that if I don't take just one step I'm never going to get anywhere because duh, that's standing still!
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step is a mantra that explains what is needed to get started - Just one, single, solitary step. Then another. And now the next step is easier - Because each step you take brings you closer to your goals.
I hope you find inspiration in this quote, and I'd love to hear from you about how you've applied it to your everyday life.