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Sunday / April 14.
HomemilastwordThe Last Word: One Step at a Time

The Last Word: One Step at a Time

Everyone is familiar with the saying, ‘take one step at a time’. At one stage of our lives, we would have heard someone say this, or have most likely said it ourselves! However, what do we mean when we say this? How can this ‘step’ metaphor assist us in our everyday lives?

In any aspect of life, from the trivial to the profound, whether it be work, family or relationships etc. – we have to take the ‘first step’. An analogy used by philosophical writer, Swami Krishnananda is:

“Even if you are going to enter the ocean itself, you have to place your first step on the beach; in the first waters of the ocean. You don’t place your foot in the centre of the sea. Whatever may be the distance that you may have to cover, you have to take one step at a time.”

He is pointing out that nobody takes more than one step at any given time, as that would simply be impracticable. Better to break things down, rather than attempt to tackle everything at once and most likely get overwhelmed. In essence, draw back from the bigger picture and view the moments of our lives as one bit building onto another.

It is human nature, however, that while we are taking that “first step”, we look ahead. Particularly in business. We like to prepare for what’s to come. Plan for the future. Think ‘long-term’. We’re constantly contemplating where to go, what next step to take, in which direction, how it will affect us… the list goes on.

Whilst strategic planning is necessary for any business, it is of no use if we are unable to acknowledge our present reality. In order to move forward, we have to be able to be aware of and understand our current surroundings i.e. the ‘step’ that currently we’re standing on. This is particularly necessary in our present economic situation.

At a time where uncertainty is prevalent, it would be unwise to adjust business strategies based on predictions or assumptions. It would be like jumping steps ahead without being conscious of the one right in front of you. Chances are, you trip and fall.

One step at a time, one day at a time, one moment at a time. It isn’t fancy, nor is it complicated. But it is certainly highly effective. In the words of Confucius: “every journey begins with a simple step.”