California, Hollywood

The Gold that is Small Steps

The 86th Academy Awards took place a week ago, today. That celebration of Hollywood, watched by millions around the world, should remind us of the power that entertainment holds. Many of us are more attuned to the world of fiction, fantasy and make believe than reality. The movie industry does a good job of not just entertaining us but getting us to believe in things that generally lie outside of the statistical norm.

Often, the ethic of entertainment is to use exceptions to the rule, incredible stories and things beyond common experience to attract and maintain a hold on our attention. Consequently, there are those of us who have formed a narrative about life that is heavily influenced by fiction, or at least statistical outliers, rather than fact and likely outcomes.

How many of us believe in quantum leaps as a fairly common occurrence when it comes to building a career or business? How many of us look to big breakthroughs rather than a series of small, deliberate steps to accomplish our goals?

Certainly, dreaming big is a good thing. And big breaks can happen. Yet, shouldn’t we make plans that will work even if we must tread a long, obstacle ridden road? If the goal is worth it, I say yes.

Of course, making a plan to accomplish our goals predicated on a long series of small steps just does not have the romantic ring of making one giant leap to success. Yet, how many success stories really are the result of a large jump from bottom to top, and how many people have, through years of sincere effort, built lives and businesses which were constructed one small step at a time?

Taking a large number of small steps on the path to success may not sound alluring, but I believe it is a surer path to prosperity than simply hoping for a breakout success, the kind likely to end up as inspiration for cinematic works.

It’s good to dream big. Dreaming and hoping are essential for the flourishing of the human spirit. And we can hope for making a big leap to the success we desire. But dreams and hopes more often come true by way of a series of small steps over time.

A healthy relationship with time, a high tolerance to frustration and deliberate action, day in and day out can lead us to the promised land of prosperity. This may not sound as exciting as it should. However, excitement is sure to follow when we realize that small steps taken over the medium and long term can lead to lofty places.

Image courtesy of [David Castillo Dominici] /

*Authors note: You might see this column pop up online in a newspaper, under the name Both Sides. I am publishing this column here first at For a bunch of years, I have been writing newspaper columns. Since my columns have received a good response on CYInterview, I thought I would share it with you. Hope you enjoy.

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