I’ve been watching lots of 15 second mini videos lately. It’s easy to forget how much time it actually takes to bake a cake or cook a meal. Real life moves at a much slower pace. The road to success often starts with small and ordinary steps and takes much longer than 15 seconds.
Welcome to the Sabbath Cafe Podcast. This is episode 123: Small steps lead to big changes
When I was younger, I used to want to do “big and great things” that can influence a lot of people. But as I get older, I’m learning that in order to do the “big things”, I need to start taking small steps because it’s these small steps that will help build up the skills and experiences that I need to eventually tackle something bigger and more significant.
I lived next to a piano teacher when I grew up. Everyday, I’d listen to the beautiful piano music that flowed out of her house. And after a lot of begging, my mom finally agreed to let me take piano lessons. However, when I started taking piano lessons, it was nothing like the beautiful music I’ve heard her play… Instead, I was only doing beginner exercises that sounded a lot like chopsticks, and I felt like I was fighting with my small and stiff fingers all the time.
Like everyone who’s ever learned an instrument can tell you, these early lessons are repetitive and very easy. But, even though these basic exercises feels simple and maybe a bit boring, it’s actually very important to practice them every day, and do them correctly. Because they build muscle memory and muscle strength that your fingers need to play the piano well. And eventually, one small exercise after another, I could finally play those beautiful and sophisticated piano pieces like my teacher.
Now a days, we’re so used to seeing a project competed in 15 second videos that we tend for forget that real learning takes time. And real change takes time too. And the process of learning and doing the work often don’t come with the “instant gratifications” that we get from scrolling on our phones. But, when we are persistent, and we continue to take small steps in the right direction. and that we take the time to do work of learning and growing, we get the ultimate satisfaction of finally having real and meaningful growth, and accomplish changes that will last.
I recently found my old sketch book. To be honest, the pictures looked like kindergarten art projects. Back then, I was simply curious about drawing and sketching, and I made all sorts of mistakes. But when I looked through the pages, it was amazing to see how far I’ve come and how much I’ve grown in the last 10 years. When I started, I had never imagined that my skills can grow to where they are today. And all I did was simply to keep drawing, keep sketching, and keep creating. Some of my sketches went straight to the waste basket, and a few eventually made it into art shows. Now looking back, I can see that I learned something from every project whether they looked good or not. Every project taught me something, and they all helped me get to where I am today.
And I seem to follow the same learning process in the other areas of my life too… When I was working through my anxiety issues, I also started with simple daily habits that eventually helped me to manage my anxiety much better.
And through these things, I’ve learned the value of making small changes, and the value of doing the little things consistently. These little steps is what it takes for me to accomplish the final goal. I’ve learned not to despise my small beginnings, and to be patient with the process even when I don’t see the results yet.
Maybe you also feel discouraged about some of your projects, but don’t give up. Be persistent and do the next thing. Our journeys are all different. Take your next step, and do it well. Before you know it, you too will reach your destination. Real learning and real change takes time. Don’t despise these small beginnings because small beginnings can and will lead to big changes.
And that’s it for this episode. Did anything specific come to mind as you were listening to today’s podcast? What are some small steps you can maybe take in those areas? I hope you can take a few minutes and just write them down.
Thank you so much for listening, and I hope today’s podcast has encouraged you. Have a wonderful week, and we’ll see you next time.