Baby Steps On the Way to Success

27 08 2013

baby-steps-big-dreamsOne of the most hilarious movies I ever seen—and a favorite of our family—is the 1991 motion picture, What About Bob?  This delightful film portrays the comical interactions of a successful and slightly neurotic psychotherapist, Leo Marvin  (Richard Dreyfuss), with his nerdy and phobic new client, Bob Wiley (Bill Murray).

The story features newly-published Dr. Marvin counseling his patients, especially the recent, irritating, and charming Bob–who is afraid of everything–that goals and growth can be accomplished by taking small actions toward their fulfillment.  In Bob’s case, small, bite-size actions are the key to overcoming his fears and neuroses.

Baby steps!

Bob succeeds in driving Leo Marvin to the brink and over.  In the process, Bob grows and Leo regresses.  Watch the film.

I’ve been thinking about goals and how to reach them over the past few years.  If you’re like me and over six billion other bipeds on this sphere we call Earth, you probably find the goals you pursue often appear like giant mountains or obstacle courses.  If you focus on the size of them, you may very well become discouraged and either suspend them or give them up altogether.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

The Chinese philosopher Lao-Tze once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”  My wife often reminds me of the moral of Aesop’s fable “The Tortoise and the Hare”:   Slow and steady wins the race.  Plodding.  Patience.  Keep on keeping on.  You get the picture.

What to do:

  • Write down your goals.  This is the very first step. The success literature seems to be united on this point.  Why?  Committing goals to paper makes them more real.  Tangible.  The human mind is so conditioned that when a goal is made specific, the brain will kick into gear and come up with strategies to fulfill that goal.  Make short term, medium, and long-range goals. What are one hundred things you want to do and become before you die?  Write them down today.
  • Begin thinking of a baby steps process to meet them.  One of my colleagues at work runs half-marathons in the beautiful Adirondacks in our state.  She won a medal during one of them.  I asked her how she did it?  She told me she did it by a gradual process of progressive running, working up to twelve to thirteen miles.  She’s planning on running a full marathon.  I bet she’ll do it!  Lay out specific, easily digestible steps toward finishing the meal.  Little bites.  Baby steps.
  • Dream big.  Often we fail to reach goals because we make them too easy.  If you’re meant to ski Olympic size courses, you’ll not be happy staying on the bunny hill.  Set the bar high.

You were meant to win at life, not lose, or drown in boredom.  Do it!

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