Somehow, you think that you’ve learned the lesson. You work for it, you memorise it and you thank your brain for learning it. You implement it and it works and then you move on, happy with your new knowledge. And then you encounter another similar situation and find that you have to learn the lesson all over again.
Brains don’t really work as well as advertised, do they? Our much vaunted, big cranial space, and yet the simplest things keep getting away from us. This is the same with all things. The things we’ve fought, the things we’ve learned. If we don’t use them all the time, they slip away and we have to learn them all over again. I really hate that.
I’m learning how to be a freelance writer. It’s hard work and constant and the learning curve is amazingly steep. Sometimes I look at everything ahead of me, everything I have to master and be able to do and be and I’m shocked into stillness by the sheer magnitude of my goal. This is not good. This leads to procrastination and even avoidance and before you know it I’ve spent days staring at the ceiling thinking of how terrifying that big goal is instead of working towards it.
I’ve forgotten a lesson I learned long ago, one that I value and even tell others about, and yet I seem to keep forgetting it in my own life. The lesson is this: don’t worry too much about the last step of your goal.
When you have a big goal, it looks so far away. There are so many steps between it and you that even thinking about it makes you want to take a nap. You try to imagine the person you will have to be to get that goal and she seems so far away, so different from who you are. And so you run from your goal, tell yourself it’s too hard, impossible. You tell yourself that you can never reach that far.
I’m tempted to run at the moment, and I have to keep reminding myself of the lesson. The last step looks far, but I shouldn’t be too focussed on the end goal, it will take care of itself. The key is to make it from where I am to step one. Step one isn’t the goal, it’s a step towards the goal. There are probably a hundred steps to what I want, but as long as I keep moving, and don’t scare myself, I will get there. And by the time I’m at step 99, I will have completed all the steps along the way, and the final step to my goals will be so small that I’ll forget all the little ones along the way.
All those steps between me and my goal will equip me for the final step. They will give me the skills I need and make me the person who can achieve that final goal. And on that day, I’ll look back and wonder what I was so worried about.
At least, that’s what’s happened every time up until now.
That’s the real key to this lesson: Let the goal take care of itself, all you really have to worry about is the next step. Because thinking about the final goal can be motivating, but if you think too much like I do, then it’s also terrifying. But the next step isn’t scary. It’s just a small reach from where I am. And each small reach will bring me closer to that far off goal post.
As long as I remember the lesson and keep walking.