The hardest part of any journey is the first few steps. Out hill-walking I often find myself overwhelmed when I think about how far away my destination is. As I walk the first mile, the size of the hills looms over me. They are intimidating and scary. Challenges in our daily life can be the same.
Have you felt this too? Do you find yourself becoming overwhelmed at the size of the challenge you have in front of you? Does your route look hard? Are you tempted to sit down or turn away from your goal?
I would like to share two stories about the power of small consistent effort. The first is told by the actor Will Smith.
His father made Will and his brother build a wall from scratch. A huge wall, brick by brick over a couple of years. The task completely overwhelmed the two young boys. But through grit and a firm father, they start and ultimately finish their wall. On its completion, Will’s father, says to the boys, “Don’t ever tell me you can’t do something!”
The second story is by the leadership expert John C Maxwell.
Say you want to chop down a tree. Each day you pick up your axe and make five swings at the tree. No more and no less. Then the next day you go out and swing the axe another five times. Then the next day the same. If you keep repeating this daily exercise, what is the guaranteed result? That’s right. One day the tree will fall. A small tree might take you three months, a massive one might take years, but the result is never in doubt if you always practice the “rule-of-five”.
The key takeaway here is consistency and daily effort. Small consistent effort will power you over the long term towards your goals. We tend to overestimate what we can do in a day and underestimate what we can do in a year. Remember, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.