A small step taken without judgment can change your world.

On the journey I’ve been on the last month, it’s been particularly interesting to become more acutely aware of some of the assumptions I’d accepted as gospel for so long.

baby_dance
Image by jeremymeyers via Flickr

One of the big ones is based around not giving myself permission to try things.  So many aspects of my life had been left untouched based on my being unable to see beyond what I assumed was the size of the first step.

“I should travel more!” I thought, “but I don’t have a passport and in order to get a passport I’d have to get a passport photo and to do that I’d need to remember to go to a photo place,” and on and on.  And so things would not get completed.

In Buddhism, there is the concept of the ‘second arrow,’ which means that we frequently add a layer of judgment to our activities and choices, which causes us to suffer, keeps us in our heads and restricts our ability to connect with our true selves.

I was doing this, and it was keeping me stuck in one place.

But what I’m starting to realize is, there are smaller steps that are more manageable, if I take them without judgment of the past or possible negative outcomes of the future. There are low-risk activities I can do to bring myself closer to my goals.  Taking even the tiniest of steps in a direction and it can make a world of difference, and so tiny becomes the perfect size rather than a bad thing to be judged.

So whether it’s getting your passport, figuring out what you want in a romantic relationship, lowering your carbon footprint, interacting with your customers, making diplomatic overtures to a ‘terrorist state’, reconnecting with an estranged family member… figure out what you CAN do, and do it.  Don’t judge yourself because you think you could be doing more, or that it seems like it doesn’t matter or make a difference. And if you do find yourself judging, do your best not to judge that part.  You are only human, and it’s in our reptilian brain’s nature to judge ‘this is good’ ‘this is bad’.

It really does.

P.S. the Japanese have a name for this process when used in business: Kaizen

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
6 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mari Anne Snow

Hi Jeremy,

Saw your twitter request and wanted to honor it…so I came to take a look. Your blog deals with a pretty fundamental and human concern that we all struggle with to a certain degree. Some more, some less….as humans, we have an amazing capacity to assume the worst and then allowing those feelings to create plausible reasons for inertia. My experience; however, is nothing is ever as bad as we imagine it to be…and not doing creates regret and regret creates other things that aren’t very good either. Action is the only recourse in these moments, any move can be better than no move. Don’t think, do, then think about it. Good Luck!

Teresa Basich

A step, no matter how small, towards a goal is still one step closer to what you want, right?

I think we paralyze ourselves by dreaming big and thinking about all the steps it will take to get there. We make the situation and mountain to climb over larger than it actually is. I do this all the effing time and I’m always blown away by how much less intimidating a goal can be when I think of the smallest step I can take toward it.

One foot in front of the other. :)

stacey

what a great philosophy and harder to take the first step than one might think. but once you pick up that phone or present your feelings transparently, the dam breaks and you feel liberated. thank you for sharing.

Mari Anne Snow

Hi Jeremy,

Saw your twitter request and wanted to honor it…so I came to take a look. Your blog deals with a pretty fundamental and human concern that we all struggle with to a certain degree. Some more, some less….as humans, we have an amazing capacity to assume the worst and then allowing those feelings to create plausible reasons for inertia. My experience; however, is nothing is ever as bad as we imagine it to be…and not doing creates regret and regret creates other things that aren’t very good either. Action is the only recourse in these moments, any move can be better than no move. Don’t think, do, then think about it. Good Luck!

Teresa Basich

A step, no matter how small, towards a goal is still one step closer to what you want, right?

I think we paralyze ourselves by dreaming big and thinking about all the steps it will take to get there. We make the situation and mountain to climb over larger than it actually is. I do this all the effing time and I’m always blown away by how much less intimidating a goal can be when I think of the smallest step I can take toward it.

One foot in front of the other. :)

stacey

what a great philosophy and harder to take the first step than one might think. but once you pick up that phone or present your feelings transparently, the dam breaks and you feel liberated. thank you for sharing.

6
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x