Can’t Do Everything? Do Something.

Here we are in the New Year with lists of things to do in hand, a new business plan, new themes to follow or new lists of resolutions, new systems to start, new calendars to prepare.  And what happens?  Paralysis sets in. The overwhelming number of things to get started, or finish out from last year’s lists, is well…overwhelming.

Are you in the same position I am with everything ganging up on you at once and every one of those things being a top priority?

When I get in this situation, I take a deep breath and remind myself of the Chinese philosopher, Lao-tzu’s quote:  “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  I take that step, and feel slightly productive. Then I take another and feel that maybe I can literally work my way out of my mountain of tasks.

Once when the world was crashing down on my head and I didn’t have enough resources or patience to move ahead, I wrote down a guideline for myself that was patterned after Lao-tzu’s great quote.  It was: “I can’t do everything, but I can do something.”  That something was usually trivial, but it allowed me to overcome the inertia of a body at rest staying at rest.

As I was verifying the Lao-tzu quote of “a single step,” I ran across another of his quotes that mirrors the one that I wrote down of doing something.  This quote by the philosopher is: “Anticipate the difficulty by managing the easy.”  I realized that this was what I was doing.  By moving ahead with manageable steps, I was preparing myself for accomplishing the difficult imperatives ahead.

What about you?  Do you have a method to kick-start your obligations without dissipating all that New Year’s/new beginning’s energy?



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