Small Continuous Steps Will Take You Where You’re Meant To Go

Okay, fifteen minutes on the train from here to Nakamozu.

Fifteen from there to Izumichuo. That’s thirty minutes there and back if used wisely. That’s all I need.

I’m working on my second book, a tale of my recent European adventure. What do we do when there’s a dream that seems too big, too out there, too daunting?

We simplify.

We prioritize.

We take small, continuous steps in the direction which we’re called — not great, occasional leaps.

“Accomplish the great task by a series of small acts,” encourages the Tao te Ching, the text of the ancient Chinese philosophy of Taoism.

If we don’t start, however small, we’ll look back one day and ask the most universal question of all: what if?

Today is the day

“Not tomorrow,” said the great Roman emperor and Stoic, Marcus Aurelius.

Choose to be good today. Do your job as a human being. As a writer. As a parent. As a politician… You can’t waste this chance. You cannot put it off until later. You cannot wait until you’re more secure. No. Now is now. You’ll never have this moment again. Memento mori.”

Memento mori, a Stoic principle meaning, remember that you are going to die.

When it’s all said and done, will we look back and say, I didn’t have time to pursue my dreams, follow my heart, take a chance. I wonder what my life would be if I just tried…

Or will we smile, old and wrinkled and full of memories, and despite if things worked out be able to say, what if… I didn’t try.

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Abandon perfection

At the start of my time in Japan, I felt overwhelmed by the pressure to do everything at once. It took time just to learn how to exist here. I decided to pace myself.

After some time, I found my groove. Once I did, I couldn’t sustain my desire any longer. I had to start my book by any means necessary.

Writing a book is daunting. I looked at all of my notes and stories from my European journey and thought, how the hell do I start this thing? The only way I know how — by starting.

“You accrue incremental wisdom as you implement your flawed plan,” says renowned psychologist Jordan Peterson.

This has been me and my brother-in-arms, Gregory Russell Benedikt’s mantra, ever since we began pursuing our dreams at the beginning of the pandemic.

Any meaningful project will take time: be it getting into shape, starting a business or a podcast, writing a book, learning a new language, skill or job.

We must abandon perfection if we ever hope to begin.

Keep the ball moving

Perfection paralysis happens when we don’t start something until we know it will be perfect.

It’s also called fear. We fear not being good enough to do this thing, capable enough, strong enough. So we never begin, letting our dreams die so we don’t have to.

Nothing important, beautiful or impactful was ever perfect to begin with. Not a book or a song or an idea. But it started as something.

I have as my computer wallpaper the quote by Ernest Hemingway:


If I try to write the perfect story right out of the gates, I’ll waste the twenty minutes I have on the train mulling over one sentence instead of writing two crappy pages.

I don’t have time to worry about perfection. For now, I’m striving for good enough.

“I don’t torture myself with, is this good, when I’m writing a sentence or a paragraph,” says the legendary writer Steven Pressfield on The Daily Stoic Podcast.

“The main thing is keeping the ball moving. I know at the end of the month, you’re going to have something. You may have to redo it; but the big danger for me is falling off the wagon, losing the momentum. That’s the most important thing to me with a book — keep going. My only thing each day is, am I going to sit my ass down and put in the time? I think that applies to anything at all.”


As a writer trying to make a dent in this universe, I used to worry about which platforms to write on, how many followers I had, if I was commenting on other people’s stories enough; I’ve realized that these worries are futile.

They keep me from writing, the only thing which really matters.

Once you’re doing something you feel is meaningful, what’s unnecessary loses importance. Simplifying is the key to this great cosmic riddle.

Writing my book is my main thing, and it will take time to blossom.

It’s made my life rather simple.

Does this arbitrary meeting give me more time, or less, to work on my book? Don’t do it.

Despite how I feel, despite if the sun shines or the rain falls, if my body feels good or if I feel low — writing is there to guide me.

It’s something I give my heart and soul, whose worth doesn’t diminish with use, nor lose its luster with age.

It’ll only get better.

The muses smile upon our courage

It may sound like I’m hustling because I want to get this done.

That’s partially correct. I must complete the mission — one day. It doesn’t have to happen now.

When we realize important things take time, the societal pressures which tell us pursue fame, success, money now become empty.

The act of writing itself is what I love. Of course there are days when I don’t want to do it.

Yet it’s the act of facing the page, again and again, which the muses respect. They don’t care about the perfectly crafted sentence, the views, the pay raise or the title. These things are the byproduct, not the goal.

What the muses smile upon is the willingness to face our fear, our uncertainty, our dream. It’s not the result which matters, but that you courageously follow what you’re meant to do.

Start small.


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