Any journey starts with the first step.
Let’s say you have an idea, a good one at that. You suddenly had an epiphany about something that made so much sense to you at that moment that you feel you have to give it a go. This might be something you feel passionate about, a business idea or something you always wanted to do. You suddenly travel in time to where you know that place is where you are doing what you had the epiphany about. Only to realize it was just that: an epiphany.
Where do you start to disinter these realizations? Curiosity is something that drives us forward one step at a time. E.E. Cummings wrote: “Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”
Young children are good at combining curiosity and imagination. Fact. That’s how we learn what’s real and what’s ‘not’. Your average living-room couch turns into the mountain of hope. The floor becomes a 1000°C molten rock lava challenge where colliding rivers of fire bubble and spew and erupt all around you. You have some kind of kitchen utensil as the ultimate weapon and some rope. Then, of course, on the other side of the room there’s another mountain, where the 5-year-old damsel in distress awaits a heroic rescue.
We use to be like that? We use to take on a challenge because it was a quest. Not just because we wanted to get by. In mythology, a quest, a journey towards a goal, serves as a plot device and as a symbol. The objects of quests require great exertion on the part of the ‘hero’, and overcoming many obstacles, typically including much travel.
Taking the first step requires enormous amounts of courage. And like most of us know; ‘courage is grace under pressure’. The beauty of the first step, however, like Malcolm Gladwell said, is that it will create a tipping point. “The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” Why should your idea not be worthy of this? Once we have started and it becomes easier, we are no longer getting by. We will have loosened the corset off our soul. We will start to feel like we are taking small steps at a time to gain enough ground to reach a special summit. And once you’re there, you’ll probably realize that is wasn’t about the summit, but about that very first step.
“Live the full life of the mind, exhilarated by new ideas, intoxicated by the Romance of the unusual.” -Hemingway