Thursday, December 17, 2009

One Step at a Time

A few days ago, I took my daughter to the park after school. She quickly made friends and started playing with another little girl there, while I settled on a bench in the sun to read.

The other girl’s mother was busy holding the hands of a tiny little boy who was just taking his first steps; I tried to get into the book I had with me, but my eyes kept wandering back toward the efforts the little one was making. With fist-size feet planted on the ground, and a glimmer of determination in his eyes, the little boy was ready to take the world; his mother could barely hold him, as he excitedly tried to project forward, step after step. Watching him tackle this daunting task with such eagerness was inspiring in the least.

When we find ourselves in front of a new project – or even have an overwhelming list of things to do – many of us feel that what’s ahead is an impossible feat; so we procrastinate, in the hope of delaying the beginning of what we believe to be a very hard project. We are afraid of not getting everything done; we are afraid of being judged by others; we are afraid of starting something new because we don’t know if we can master the skill. Indeed, the common denominator to all that holds us back is fear of failing.

As adults we think too much, and not always with the right mind set. Rather than looking foolish in front of others, we’d rather sit back and let life pass us by. That baby wasn’t thinking; he was simply ‘being’; every cell in his little body was propelling him toward his goal. He didn’t care if he didn’t succeed right away; every time his legs buckled, or he fell, he was ready to get back up and try again. At one time, his mother let go of him for a few seconds; he took two steps alone and then fell on his bottom with a big smile on his face. By the time we left the park, his mother had let go a few other times, and on each occasion he had taken an extra step on his own; I would bet my next cup of coffee that within a couple of weeks he’ll be able to walk alone across a room.

When my bubbly daughter got in the car, I thought about how much she has accomplished in the five years she’s been alive, and I couldn’t help smiling at her through the rearview mirror.

It’s all about taking one step at a time, one day at a time, knowing that tomorrow we will accomplish a little bit more, just by putting one foot in front of the other.

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