When you take a step, your step is more than a step. Even tiny steps will keep you going in a worthwhile direction.
Imagine if you met someone sitting at a train station who told everyone how great it is to go West. “West is the way of the future,” he says. “We should all keep moving in that direction.”
A year later you pass the same station and the same guy is there, in the exact same spot, still telling everyone they should go West. “You need to move West to achieve a meaningful life,” he proclaims. “It is the path to happiness and satisfaction.”
A year later you pass the same station and the guy is still there. Right there. He hasn’t moved one inch in a westerly direction. This time you stop and ask him why he is such a big fan of going West, and he tells you about all the things he has read about the direction West, recommends some useful websites, and even shows you some pictures he has cut out of pamphlets depicting things you will see if you go West. You ask him what is the best thing he has ever seen while traveling West, and he shakes his head.
“I’ve never been any more West than here, too many bumps along the way. I’m waiting for them to fix up the track so it will be a smoother journey,” he tells you. “But,” he adds proudly, “I haven’t moved even one inch East in the past few years.”
How seriously would you take that man’s advice to go West? If West is the way to go, maybe it’s worth traveling over some bumps to make progress in that direction. Values are like compass directions. They’re meaningless unless you move.
Saying that you really like going West doesn’t mean a whole lot if you don’t take at least a small step in that direction. That doesn’t mean it’s always going to be easy to move West or that you can move miles in that direction every day. Some days it feels like there are things pulling you in every direction or stopping you from moving at all. The blocks might be thoughts, feelings, memories, physiological sensations, or other people and their rules. But it’s still worthwhile to move in the directions you care about—even if sometimes you are only able to take tiny steps.
Ben has also written an excellent book, Stuff that Sucks: A Teen’s Guide to Accepting What You Can’t Change and Committing to What You Can (The Instant Help Solutions Series).
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Keep it Real
Photo by Marcelo Jorge Vieira