”A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step.” - Lao Tze
Have you ever noticed how important beginnings are? How nothing happens without a beginning, how the beginning determines everything that follows, how vulnerable a process can be in the beginning.
Consider for a moment a seedling in the ground. Laying just below the surface. Water comes from the heavens; or in ordinary English: it rains 🙂 and the seed starts to sprout. Now this is when the environment has to be just right for the seed. It cannot rain too much, yet neither can the sprouting grow and thrive in a draught.
Earlier on, as it was a seed, it could handle a pretty large spectrum of temperature, moisture and other environmental changes. And later on, as it has become a sturdy plant or a tree it will be able to once again withstand large changes. But in this very early phase it is very important that it gets just the right amount of water, just the right amount of air, light and heat.
Beginning that determines
And in the beginning so much is determined which later on becomes extremely difficult to change. Consider for a moment one of the most fantastic business contracts of our time: young Bill Gates and the deal he made with IBM when he started his company - Microsoft, and started supplying them with an operating system.
Bill Gates’s father was a partner in a law firm, who would discuss contracts and business cases with his young son. And so young Bill Gates had the wits and whereabouts to retain full ownership of the operating system and to reserve the right to license it to other computer manufacturers. The rest, as they say, is history. Piggybacking on the success of the IBM PC, Microsoft operating system became the leading operating system in the world – and one of the most successful companies ever.
Bill Gates was for a long time the richest man in the world and is now one of the greatest philanthropists on the planet.
Now, while Bill Gates was a man of many resources, we guarantee that his and Microsoft’s role would have played out very differently had the beginning, the contract with IBM, been different. Small things in the beginning can grow into large consequences, consequences here denoting something big, powerful and positive. When starting out, please, do not allow the impossibility of predicting the future hinder you from making it happen!
Beginning that is necessary
The beginning is also very necessary for anything at all to happen. And nothing happens until something moves! It is so much better to get things started and then take care of how they develop along the way than to do nothing.
How many life partners never meet, how many business deals are never even struck because of the lack of a beginning, or fear of taking action? Without the initiative, curiosity, courage or whatever it takes to introduce oneself to the person who may become one’s life or business partner nothing happens.
And when it comes to making things happen there is an interesting effect. Once you start something you are more likely to finish it. Not only in the necessary sense that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, but that without action nothing happens.
You see, once you start something, your brain is naturally wired to remind you to complete it. This effect, the Zeigarnik effect, is sometimes demonstrated experimentally by having someone start a small task, and then interrupting them. The test subject may experience certain unease, an unease which will be relieved immediately upon actually finishing the task.
And a way to get things done when the way ahead seems a bit too steep is to start with the smallest step. Just open that file on the computer. Maybe you are not up for committing to finishing the entire task you have to do. Yet just opening the file is something you can do. And once you have opened it … well, you have experienced it many times: once you got started you continued and you got it done, and it wasn’t so bad after all :-).
Noteworthy is also the old Taoist idea that you should always deal with a problem before it becomes a problem.
Beginning before a beginning
With this in mind, may we invite you to do a little exercise, partly picked up from our Janus time management system. First, as a warm-up, spend some time dispassionately looking into your past. Noticing the beginnings of how things unfolded - both things that are finished and things that are still unfolding. How would they have been different had you acted differently at their inception?! Given what you know now, how would you act differently were a situation like that to arise again, and what would the foreseeable consequences be?!
Then, to increase your wisdom, enjoy spending a few minutes imagining already being at a later point in the future and looking back at the events that have come to pass since now. What are the beginnings you will have experienced and taken part in… what will their consequences have been … and how could you have changed them to become healthier, wealthier and wiser?!
We wish you a wonderful week and sending you oceans of love,
Your once and future NLP trainers
Lidija & Thomas
Upcoming NLP trainings in Brussels and USA
We would like to invite you to join our Internationally accredited NLP Practitioner and Master Practitioner trainings in Brussels
and USA. For more information, please contact us at email@example.com
Lidija Markovic Rosati – ITA NLP (International Trainers Academy of NLP) Accredited New Code and Classic Code NLP Trainer and Master Coach, Hypnotherapist and Psychological Counsellor.
Thomas Björge - ITA NLP (International Trainers Academy of NLP) Accredited New Code and Classic Code NLP Trainer and Master Coach and Designer of New Code Game ‘Arrows’, to be featured in Dr. John Grinder’s upcoming book.