But it can. And it did.
I think I read about Maurer’s book in Elle magazine, right when it was published, in 2004. At the time I was in a big rut. I barely managed to start anything, let alone finish it. I read 2-3 books a year. I “didn’t have time” to exercise, or to make anything, or even to visit a museum occasionally. I had to work; I had to do what needed to be done for my family.
The review struck a chord, so to speak, so I took the book out of the library. I mangaged somehow to read it completely through before it was due.
The ideas it contains are simple, and we’ve certainly heard them stated in many different ways before. But, as McArdle says, “…that doesn’t mean they don’t bear repeating.”
Just do a little bit. Five minutes a day–anyone can carve out that much time. So I would read on the bus or the subway. And sometimes it was only 5 or 10 minutes. I did 10 minutes on the exercise bike. I worked on an unfinished project for 10 minutes.
A few things happened. I got into the habit of doing these things. Sometimes I managed to make a bit more time for them. And even with only 10 minutes a day, I started to see real progress after a couple weeks. All of a sudden I was far enough along that I could picture actually completely something, which made it more likely that I would.
I have not tried Kaizen to confront my fears, although Maurer gives advice and examples for that too.
Recently, I ran across the book again and decided to give it another look. It’s hard for me to remember a time when I wasn’t reading a book a week, when I didn’t begin my day with some exercise, when I didn’t expect to finish at least some of the things I started. Even if that moment is months away.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” –Lao Tzu
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” –Martin Luther King Jr.
“Whatever saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.”
–Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.”
We HAVE heard it before. But sometimes we just need to hear it again, in a different voice, at the right time.
You can buy the book from here: One Small Step Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer