Overnight success doesn’t exist:
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now”
– old chinese proverb.
The spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle has become famous for his wisdom and especially his best selling book “The Power Of Now”. The book handles concepts like presence and being in the moment. Because that is where everything is created. Right. Fucking. Now. Everything you ever created and done has been done in the now. Of course the things haven’t happened at the same “now” but everything has happened because of the action you’ve taken in all the past “nows”.
Because quite frankly we can try to imagine what our future will look like, we can try to control our future but it will always be impossible to try and grasp it and make it happen exactly like you want it. As far as we know it the future is an abstract concept that no one can surely understand or know. We can see the general curve or progression of things but not know the entirety of the end result.
So the only thing you can have control of is the now. Everything in life is an accumulation of the decisions you’ve taken in all of your past nows. So instead of waiting for that perfect moment that we so often dream about that will come in the future, why not switch that thought to make the moment perfect instead. Don’t wait for something to happen, make it happen. Sure you can wait by the riverside for something or someone to magically change you in one instant. Get that lottery jackpot and be happily ever after. Or you can jump in the river and work your own way through life.
And as I’ve already mentioned life doesn’t just happen by itself, it’s an accumulation of all your nows. In order to get somewhere it can sometimes feel like a too tough stretch or mission to get there. But all journeys start with that first step. That first step is probably the most important one of them all, because that’s a step that few even dare to take. A goal can seem so insurmountable sometimes but if you’re able to break your goal down into comprehensible and small goals on the way to that big one it will take a huge load of pressure of your shoulders.
I think most people have some kind of big goal that they want to achieve but the thought of the end product can be daunting: “That will take so much time/money/energy, how will I ever reach that?”. And then we spiral into a negative loop of condescending thoughts about ourselves and get depressed and then go to bed and slowly kill that dream of ours.
Here’s a quote I really think is fitting for this part of the chapter:
“Most people overestimate what they can do in a day, and underestimate what they can do in a month. We overestimate what we can do in a year, and underestimate what we can accomplish in a decade.”
– Matthew Kelly
In order for you to get somewhere we have to start create in this moment right here, and then in the next, and in the next and chip away piece by piece. Just as I’m in the process of writing this text, it’s not about doing everything at once, it’s about being present with the whole creative process every time I invest time to sit down and write. You see this text has come to life not because I choose to sit down for 48 hours in a row to write it all at once. This text has more likely come to fruition because of me planning in sessions of writing in my schedule almost on a daily basis over a long stretch of time. Chipping away at my masterpiece one chapter at a time, one paragraph at a time, one sentence at a time, one word at a time, one syllable at the time, one letter at a time until completion.
So many times we overestimate what needs to be done in the beginning of such a journey that we gas out even before we have gotten ourselves even properly warmed up. If you never been to the gym before you don’t put 200 kg on the barbell to lift that in your first ever deadlift. I see the same problem with people who want to start running. They’ve never gone more than a couple of kilometers before, but goes on to set a high goal and think that if they’ll run fast for longer time than they’ve ever done before that they’ll reach the goal sooner. That’s never the case, these people are far more likely to gas out, not enjoy the process at all an quit prematurely and also injure themselves while they’re doing it.
What will get you there for real is a thought out plan on how to break down things in tangible and understandable smaller tasks. It’s small everyday changes over a long stretch of time that will take you there. Small, miniscule, gradual changes done consciously day after day after day after day. And one day you’ll get there. Centimeters will transform into decimeters and before you’ll know it you’ll have come kilometers from where your starting point was.
If you have two ships that sail alongside each other at the same course right ahead and then one of the ship decides to steer of one puny degree of the same course as the other ship. It might not seem much and for the first couple of days they might still see each other on the open sea. But if you give it time enough there will be a huge difference in between these two different paths of the ship even though they once were together. This is what I mean with small gradual change over a long time.
One big mac meal won’t clog your arteries up, one pack of cigarettes won’t give you cancer, one 5k run won’t make you decent runner, 5 minutes of meditation won’t give you a piece of mind, writing 100 words won’t give you a book.
A big mac everyday for a year is 401500 kcal and will for sure impact your health in a malefic way, a pack of cigarettes everyday (7300 cigarettes/year) will increase your risk of getting cancer, running 5 k everyday for a year mounts up to 1825 k in one year (43 marathons), 5 minutes of meditation a day for a year is 30 hours, writing 100 words a day for a year gives you 36500 (roughly 150 pages).
Can you see what I’m alluding to? It’s in the small action done day by day that will slay our biggest beast, consistency trumps all else. Showing up is 90%. And following our dreams and goals won’t always feel good. But if we are waiting for the inspiration to come to us or “I’m going to work on it when I feel like it”. Guess what that will probably never get you anywhere. Stop postponing and procrastinating, what can you start with today that will get you farther ahead tomorrow? Let’s go!
Take a few minutes after finishing this chapter to think and write down about what you’re planting in this moment right here? As the beginning quote of this chapter was quite obvious: What are you postponing that you could start already now with so you can reap the benefits of it in a coming future?
Thank you for taking the time out to read this text. Make sure to share it with a friend.
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