Staying On Course

“A journey of a thousand leagues begins with a single step.”

Having just returned from China, I can quote Confucius, who said, "A journey of a thousand leagues begins with a single step."
Mark Twain once said, "Even if you are on the right path, you’ll get run over if you just sit there."
What I have found over the years is that the primary difference between top people and average people is that top people are action-oriented. They decide what they want, set a goal, and then they take the first step. Everything else follows from that.
Why is it that so many people think and dream and plan, and even hope that if they think positive thoughts and visualize happy pictures their dreams will come true, and nothing ever happens to them?
The primary reason that people don’t take the first step is that they fear failure of some kind. They fear loss of time or loss of money. They fear loss of respect, or embarrassment. They fear rejection and criticism if they don’t achieve their goals. Most people have so many fears that they are paralyzed into accepting vastly less than they are truly capable of.
My friend, Denis Waitley says, "You could not use your full potential if you lived 100 lifetimes."
Let me tell you a true story. When I flew out of Los Angeles International Airport for Narita Airport in Tokyo, a 10-hour flight, I knew that the plane was going to be off course 99% of the time. 
The fact is that all flights, short or long distance, are off course 99% of the time. Nonetheless, when the wheels came up as we took off from Los Angeles, the pilot came onto the Intercom and said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to this flight. We will be touching down in Narita Airport at 5:08 in the afternoon. Have a nice flight."
And surprise! Surprise! The flight touched down at exactly 5:08 pm, even though the plane was off course 99% of the time.
Why was this? Simple. Because of updrafts, downdrafts and other weather patterns, the plane is continually making course corrections. Most of this is automated today, with the pilots in place to make sure that there are no mistakes. But nonetheless, the plane is off course most of the time.
What is my point? My point is that, once you set a goal and take the first step, you will be off course most of the time, as well.  Everybody is.
No matter how smart you are, or how experienced, or how knowledgeable, or how thoroughly you plan in advance, you will be off course most of the time throughout your life. 

All of life is a series of course corrections. You try something, and then you try something else. You work your way forward by trial and error. You fall down and you pick yourself back up again. You make the wrong turns and you end up either off the main road toward your goal, or in a cul-de-sac.
There is a Turkish saying, "No matter how long you have been traveling on the wrong road, turn back."
Never be afraid to take the first step because of the possibility of failure. Know in advance that you are going to fail many times before you achieve your goal. The good  news is that every failure teaches you something that will be helpful to you to not only achieve your goal but to hold onto the goal once you reach it.
In fact, there is no such thing as failure; there is only feedback. Temporary failure, setbacks, difficulties or disappointment should simply be treated as forms of information, containing nuggets of wisdom and advice that you can use to be smarter and more effective when you take the next step.
The good news is that, no matter what your goal is, you can always see far enough to take the next step. And if you take a single step, you will then see far enough to take the next step. If you keep taking steps, one at a time, twisting and turning throughout your journey, you will eventually arrive at  your destination, sometimes in the most remarkable ways. 
Be clear about who you are and what you want. Write down your goals and plans. Set priorities on your activities. Then, take the first step.
Orison Swett Marden, the original founder of Success Magazine in 1905, once wrote, "There are only two keys to success, and they have always been the same. The first is ‘get-to-it-iveness’ and the second is ‘stick-to-it-iveness.’"
But the key is always for you to take the first step.

Just do it!

About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.


    Everything is very open with a clear explanation of the challenges.
    It was definitely informative. Your site is useful. Many thanks for sharing!

  • Reginald Reglus

    This is wise advice Brian. What is eye-opening is that being off-course is ok as long as you make corrections and get back on-course. Success in life is a matter of balancing and counter-balancing. Thanks for this post.

Follow Brian & Join the Discussion

Brian Tracy

Do you want to be more successful and
influential in all areas of your life?

I'm Brian Tracy and I will teach you how to achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier
than you ever thought possible. Start on your path to success today and sign up for my weekly emails.

Sign Up For My Newsletter

Thank You!

Close Optin