The Secret of Getting Ahead

Thu, Jul 28, 2011

Perspective

The Secret of Getting Ahead

I was reading a great article yesterday on BusinessInsider.com entitled 7 Life-Changing Lessons You Can Learn From Mark Twain. All of the 7 points offered up practical wisdom that you and I can apply to our lives and businesses today… but… point 4 really jumped out. It said:

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” – Mark Twain

The writer of the post went on to say…

Going after your dreams can feel like an overwhelming task, but that’s because you’re trying to visualize something in your head that cannot be visualized.

Mark Twain is right on in breaking things into small pieces. It works because you can hold an image in your head of what the end result looks like. Instead of thinking “I need to start an online business,” a better thought would be “I need to start a blog.”

Have you been there?

A desire to do something but overwhelmed by the size, scope or next steps to take?

It’s easy to come up with an idea. It’s much harder to figure out how to make that idea become a reality.

Most people let the enormity of it paralyze them into inaction, simply because they don’t know where to start. But as the Mark Twain said, “the secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

Whatever it is… don’t let the size of it stop you. Divide it into bite sized chunks and just get started. You CAN do it… you just need to begin.

If want to run a mile but the mere thought of it scares you to death… break it down and think about running a block. You can run a block right? It’s only a few feet. Run that block and then… run one more. Eventually you’ll get to the mile and it won’t be nearly as overwhelming as you thought.

Same goes for business too.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” – Mark Twain

Question: What about you? Is getting started tough for you? Do you have any tip or things you’ve learned to help you take the big thing and make it more manageable?


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    About Daniel Decker:

    Daniel Decker is President of Higher Level Group, Inc., a strategic marketing and development firm that helps authors, professional speakers, and organizations who are doing good to expand their influence. LINKS: Follow @DanielDecker on Twitter | Visit the "About" Page | Subscribe to the Blog and get updates via RSS or Email.

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    • http://www.traciebertaut.com Tracie Bertaut, APR

      I've found this philosophy to work well in all manner of things – paying off debt (first one credit card, then the next), weight loss (small milestones that make up my overall goal), job search (update resume, networking goals, etc.). By doing this, I've proven to myself, I can accomplish pretty much anything; it may take some time, but it's doable.

    • http://flybluekite.com Laura Click

      Love, love, love this post, Daniel. You're right – getting started is the hardest part because of one word – FEAR. We're afraid to fail, afraid we don't know we don't know enough or get a complex that someone else is better.

      We need to let go of that and just start. The running analogy is perfect. I run half marathons – something I would have thought was impossible for me two years ago. The running approach I use is the Galloway method where you run/walk. For instance, you run for 1 minute, then walk for 1 minute. Anyone can run for a minute, right? By using that approach, it makes it a whole lot easier to finish 13 miles. Sure, I walk quite a bit, but the point is that I get out there and DO IT. It's better than sitting on my behind and doing nothing at all. The same definitely applies in business.

      Good post!