Taking the first step


A lot of us are capable of generating brilliant ideas but only few have the courage to take the first step. The vast majority of people remain with their ideas in the mind, some write them into plans that gather dust on the shelf but only a handful have the gut to take the first step. Many have fear of the unknown, unfounded hesitation and simply lack drive and self determination. How can you change yourself to join the club of the few? How can you take your first step?

The well-known American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jnr is quoted as having said: “Faith is taking the first step even when you do not see the whole staircase”. In other words, two things come to mind. First, you need faith to take the first step. Without faith or determination, without self belief or self esteem, and without conviction or courage you cannot take your first step.

What is your biggest dream? What is your ultimate ambition? What do you admire most? Now consider how long you have thought about what you want to become or what you want to have. The only gap between where you are now and where you would have loved to be resides in your mind. The delay is caused by the absence of the first step. Those who take the first step end up taking the second, then the third and then the fourth and all the way to the millionth step. Those who are too timid to take the first step end up on the zero ground when their colleague, who may not even have been as great, is by now on the millionth step.

One time, I started a discussion thread on this topic on Facebook. There was unanimity on the fact that many people are just too afraid, afraid of the unknown, to take the first step. Regina Yau is Malaysian Rhodes Scholar and had this to contribute: “It is scary, I can tell you that. But I did it. I quit my job in May 2010 to run my non-profit [NGO] and to change the lives of women worldwide. And I can tell you that after you have taken the first step, the next steps aren’t really that scary anymore…” But many do not look beyond the first step. Yes, the first step has to be hard. Yes, the first step has to look scary but as Regina shared from her experience, the next steps aren’t as hard. Of course expect some hurdles on the way, some challenges on the journey and hills and mountains waiting for you to conquer but you are a human being, endowed with the power to conquer all these on the path to your success.

A Mulanje-based contributor on the thread wrote: “We fear the load before we lift to see how heavy it is”. Absolutely correct! The load might look big but maybe it is an empty plastic box, lighter than a packet of sugar. Have conviction and try it.

But do we just have to decide and take the first step in order to succeed? No, there is more to this. You need to have a bit of a plan of how you want to go about your idea. You need to have some good sketch of your path to success. It may not be a complete path, provided it is going in the right direction. You will keep improving the plan and perfecting the path as you go along. You might find support on the way, and might get more resources along the journey, and in fact you will get better at it as you keep going provided you take the first step.

Many people fail to achieve their potential because they are afraid to take the first step. Be different and take your first step towards your dreamland, the first step on your journey to your success. With determination, conviction and courage you will definitely make it. Good luck! n

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