We live and we learn to take
One step at a time
There’s no need to rush
It’s like learning to fly
Or falling in love
It’s gonna happen when it’s
Supposed to happen and we
Find the reasons why
One step at a time
When you can’t wait any longer
But there’s no end in sight
when you need to find the strength
It’s your faith that makes you stronger
The only way you get there
Is one step at a time.
~ One Step at a Time (Jordin Sparks)
Every path to success has been littered with doubt, fear, and uncertainty, as well as persistence, calculated risks and repeated action.
The difference between someone who fails and someone who succeeds is the courage to act, repeatedly.
The only way you get the courage to act “repeatedly” is when you break the act into small steps.
That’s the way…
- I learned to speak – one word at a time
- I learned to read – one word at a time.
- I learned to write – one word at a time.
- I learned to walk – one step at a time.
- I learned to run – one step at a time.
- I learned to save – one dollar at a time.
- I quit red bull – one cup at a time.
- My business was built – one customer at a time.
One Small Step…
“One Small Step Can Change Your Life – The Kaizen Way” by Robert Maurer is an amazing book.
It’s a small book but talks about the big idea of “Kaizen”, which is Japanese for “taking small steps to continual improvement”.
Think of the last time you set out to bring about a major change in your life – like starting a new project or business, learning how to invest on your own, starting an exercise regime, or learning to break a bad habit.
What did you feel? Exhaustion? Excitement? Fear?
Most people, when faced with change, will feel at least some element of fear. And very often that fear can get in the way of actually making the change.
The idea of Kaizen is to make such small changes in your life that your brain doesn’t even know you’re changing, and therefore, doesn’t get in the way.
There are six strategies Maurer talks about in his book that can help you bring about big changes in your life over a period of time. These strategies are:
- Asking small questions
- Thinking small thoughts
- Taking small actions
- Solving small problems
- Giving small rewards
- Recognizing small moments
Start Small…Very Small
Basically, this book teaches you how to put Kaizen into practice through small questions, small thoughts, small actions, and small moments. It encourages you that, even if you’ve tried and tried to reach a goal, but always found yourself failing, Kaizen can help you get there by bypassing your brain’s “fear” response.
Usually, if we try to tackle a big life change all at once – like completely cutting out coffee, or learning to invest in the stock market, or learning to form the reading habit – it might work for a while, but then we’ll self-sabotage.
This is because the big changes have triggered the brain’s subconscious fears which end up hindering you in the long run.
So, taking small steps — sometimes so small that they seem ridiculous — is the way to get past that and succeed.
Like, when it comes to starting a new business, we overwhelm ourselves with big questions like “How can I pick a business idea that will make me a million dollars?” or “How will I ever become a successful entrepreneur when others have failed?”
Kaizen tells me that I must focus on the small questions instead – “If becoming a successful investor were my first priority, what would I do differently today?” or “What little step could I take today towards learning how to pick stocks effectively?”
So, if you want to form the habit of reading one annual report a day, start with reading one page of an annual report a day, then increase it to two pages, then three, and so on.
I have seen a lot of tribesmen getting overwhelmed by the “so-much-to-read-and-so-little-time” feeling, which is natural. The way I got over this feeling myself was to read one book at a time and then move to the next one.
It’s also how I learned to meditate. Sitting quietly for 30 minutes – thinking and doing nothing – seemed awful to me. But then I started with “meditating” one minute a day, then two minutes, then three minutes, and so on.
The idea is to make it simple, habitual, and fun. And nobody can say they don’t have an extra minute a day, right?
You see, the big, bold actions – like the lofty New Year resolutions – often get us initial results, but don’t take into account things like lack of time, exhaustion, fear, or resistance.
The smaller steps, however, get us to the goal because they can be so easily incorporated into daily life.
So whether it’s about quitting a bad habit or forming a good one, the idea must be to start small…very small…and then build on it over time.
Like I am trying to do with my morning walk regime…
You Become What You Believe
Mahatma Gandhi said…
Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.
It all starts with one belief, one thought, one word, one action, one habit, one value…and that makes one destiny.
Successful investing follows the same route.
Just take one small step at a time.