Proverbs are proverbs – they are well known and generally true. I remember this popular one back from my grade school days posted on a wall of our classroom. On a colorful text it says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. In case you don’t know, it’s a bimillennial quote from the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu. It’s a simple, straight to the point statement that emphasizes how a small action could mark a start of something of significance.
Over two years and a hundred articles ago, this internet page that you’re reading right now is just an empty data from some remote server. I know – it isn’t something that anyone would consider significant. It’s not a big deal, actually. But at least for me, it is.
This blog has taught me to appreciate the moment, the stillness of time, whether I’m in my room having a lazy day or I’m somewhere out there getting lost. Writing has become my second camera. The feelings that I had from an experience, I try to capture them in words. It then becomes a bookmark of a page in my life.
Starting this site has become a lingering life project for a number of years for me. It was only until that outdoor trip where we biked and hiked to exhaustion through the peak of the summer heat wave that gave me an epiphany of taking the first step.
Does it sound familiar? You have this bright idea, or a big dream maybe, and you know exactly what to do. But time keeps on passing by and it seems like you can’t get anything started. Finding outside motivation is really difficult. Timidity is a big obstacle to overcome. There are always not enough hours in a day. Guess what, almost everyone around you felt this way at some point.
Taking the first step is hard. But so is the second, or the third and so on until you reach that gray area. The difference though, is when you decided to mark a moment as a beginning of a journey, you are taking a leap. And it takes some courage to say, “Today, I’ll make a difference in my life”, and actually do it.
Going back to Lao Tzu and his famous quote, the proverb came from an ancient Chinese text, the Tao Te Ching. Without a direct literal translation, it has been interpreted to English in a few number of ways, including the one that we are most familiar with. But a variation, which is actually my favorite, goes like this,
“Even the longest journey must begin where you stand.”
I like how the present state, the stillness, was emphasized. It brings all the dreaming back to the dreamer – and all the searching back to the searcher.
Remember where you stand right now. As much as possible, capture all that you can feel – your emotions and your thoughts. Let the future you be able to look back at this very moment. And let that person feel proud.
If there’s any key takeaway from that, it must be this : Right now, wherever you are, it could be a starting point of something for you. The only question is, would you take the first step?
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