Tell me if this is you: You have this amazing idea. It could be a project for your home, or a book you want to write, or a special vacation you want to take with your significant other. It’s an ambitious idea that you slowly realize might be impossible to accomplish. So you just give up.
What if I said it’s okay not to achieve your goals?
Creative endeavors are always an anxious time for me. I think it started back when I was young and wanted to be a film director. I loved the idea of being able to transpose what was in my head to a visual medium for others to enjoy.
However, creating something that others would enjoy, well, that part always gave me the most grief. If you are a creative person like me, you can probably relate to that gnawing feeling inside when you have an awesome idea but are afraid it won’t pan out.
Needless to say, my film career never took off. After years of this gnawing feeling eating away my insides, I gave up and learned something very important: think two steps ahead, but take only one. Allow me to explain…
When I wanted to create an online cooking show back in my junior year of college, I realized I neither had the funds nor the time to execute it. So, I took one small step in that direction and started a cooking blog instead.
When I ambitiously tried starting an online journal written by other fellow millennials, it fizzled out due to lack of time commitment. So, Erica and I reevaluated and turned it into our own lifestyle blog instead.
When I wanted to write my first book about millennial life in hopes of inspiring other millennials to live amazing, fulfilling lives, I wrote a much more feasible Manifesto instead.
Do you see the pattern here? My ideas always require two (hypothetical) steps forward, and instead of becoming discouraged and giving up before I started, I took only one (hypothetical) step ahead. It may not always be the destination I was hoping for, but it was always progress.
Does this apply to everyone?
Even if you aren’t a creative person, this notion of thinking two steps ahead but only taking one can still apply to your life. You can apply it to your career path: working for a large promotion but accepting a smaller one instead. You can apply it to family life: taking a much more feasible vacation instead of your ideal one.
The reason this concept works is that it helps you to avoid “biting off more than you can chew.” It also allows you time to reevaluate where you stand rather than ignoring any warning signs while attempting two steps.
In an allegorical sense, the path up your mountain is treacherous and requires patience and prudence to navigate. Hasty climbing will only lead to you falling.
What really is progress?
I know this concept is contrary to what we learned in grade school when they taught us to “reach for the stars” or “you can achieve anything you put your mind to.” Granted, there are a few who achieve what they set out to do. But for the rest of us ordinary folk, thinking two steps ahead, and only taking one, is much more manageable.
It’s simple, but effective. Yes, one step is less than two, but it’s better than standing still.
What do you think? Does thinking two steps ahead but only taking one apply to your life?