“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
To begin. This may be the most difficult thing to do. In every great endeavour, it may be daunting to begin seeing that there is a long way to go.There is inertia – an unwillingness to change from the stillness or motion. But once you have started, it gets a lot easier.
Take a step. Then another. One more. Now don’t stop, you’ve already begun.
Here are some things to consider about beginning things in your life:
1. Begin with the end in mind and the feeling in heart.
Why begin? That is the probably the most important question. Ask it. In simpler terms, does it make you happy? Plain and simple.
One must know why and feel why. The union of the logical and the emotional is quite sublime. One can have the ideas, but without the passion for it, it won’t last. One can have the passion, but without the ideas for it, it won’t go anywhere.
First, know your purpose. Be clear with what you’re striving towards. Make it concrete, but allow for changes.
Second, feel this purpose. If it makes you happy, then it can last. Otherwise, you might waste energy doing things you don’t really want to do. That would be worse if you get stuck needing to continue working on things you don’t feel.
“Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art,” Leonardo da Vinci said. Do things that make your life a work of art.
2. Simply begin rather than getting stuck at “how to begin”.
“How should I begin?” The possibilities are so numerous that this may be a question that plagues people who are thinking of doing something – they end up doing nothing at all. While there must be a time allotted for weighing your options, oftentimes it becomes excuse to procrastinate.
Just decide and begin. Just do what feels right and play it by ear from there. You’ll save time and energy.
3. Expect a common beginning.
Most of the time, beginnings aren’t that spectacular. Some people expect that beginnings of great endeavors will be movie-worthy. They aren’t most of the time. They’re usually quite ordinary. But they are beginnings.
This means that when you begin in something, you won’t be that good at it right away. So if you take up a sport like basketball, don’t expect that you’ll be shooting hoops like a pro in your first few weeks – unless you’re a phenom. More often than not though, beginnings are quite difficult and unimpressive.
4. You can only do so little. Make that little count.
That little can be much. But you have to appreciate the little that you have so that the little can be much. In knowing that you can only follow through with only certain things in your life, you won’t be beginning things you won’t really follow through because you either don’t really want to or you have other things you want to do more.
It is in your limitedness and littleness that you appreciate the value of what you have. Your time and energy are precious. Make sure you put them into things you actually want to do.
5. Things you begin won’t necessarily be finished.
Arguably one of the greatest polymaths in human civilisation, Leonardo da Vinci said: “Art can never be finished, only abandoned.” In a work of art, one wants to express the quality of beauty that may never be adequately expressed. One can keep changing it, making it a bit better. Accept that the things you begin don’t really end. There is always something to be done in the things you have begun.
6. Allow yourself to end things (or abandon them).
Leonardo da Vinci had many unfinished works. In fact, he believed that all of them are unfinished. But the thing is he allowed himself to abandon things that he no longer felt like doing. Why?
Because he believed that “where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.”
Do things you enjoy and want to do. Allow yourself to change in that what you find. This goes around in full circle with the first point. Begin things because you feel in tune with these things. Abandon things because you don’t feel in tune with these things.
Because really, what is the why behind all these things. Isn’t it your happiness?
May you begin, abide, and end in happiness.