If we look at the world, we see creatures working to ensure their survival. Predators have to hunt their prey to feed themselves and their packs. Bees build these amazing hives and then fly from flower to flower so that they can produce the honey that is supposed to bring their population through the winter. All of this is natural work.
What makes the big difference between humans and animals, however, is that we can consciously decide what we want to create with our work. It is the only thing that parts us from animals. A creative thing in the truest meaning of the word. Work creates things. And everything that we see in this world and that has not been created by nature itself, is in existence due to somebody working on it.
While the preachers of the gospel of the “law of attraction” don’t get tired mentioning that all of it started with a thought, I strongly want to add that thoughts do only come into existence, if we make them a reality. And this can only be achieved through work.
The Only Way To Ever Achieve Anything is Through Work
A willingness to work is the only way to get slim or fit and the most promising way for you to get successful and rich. Work is the key to a fulfilling life and the ability to consciously decide what to create with our work is in a sense the Godly spark in us.
The very word creative stems from the word create. And whether you believe in God or not, all theories of creation involve work. For the believers it is God who did the work in seven days. For the non-believers, it is generations of evolutionary selection and the work of generations of creatures in the “job” of survival and reproduction.
No matter which way you want to put it: work was and is always a part of everything that is alive. Be it the tree that works for its survival by growing taller and taller in a competition for light, or the ant that works on its hive, thereby cleaning the forest.
And other than our ancestors who really had to hunt and gather to ensure their survival, our sophisticated economical system allows most of us to choose the area in which we want to work.
Even if you are part of the people who work in jobs they don’t like and have no intention on staying in, you can at least work on the things you love after your work has finished and on the weekends.
And with the internet offering us chances that previous generations could only have dreamed of, everybody who is skilled in a specific area has a very real opportunity of combining their favorite work with the earning of an income. Oh, and of course: skill is a result of work too. So do not worry if you are unhappy with your life. Work will get you out of the mess.
The Phenomenon of Small Steps
Laziness occurs primarily in situations in which we have a choice whether we want to be lazy and in which the state of laziness appears to be more rewarding than the state of work. On the other hand, being good-looking, fitting in that dress or those trousers you purchased five years ago, and, most importantly, being healthy and satisfied, is something we all wish for.
Nonetheless, many of us are couch potatoes and are just not able to motivate ourselves enough to get up and go jogging. This paradox has mainly to do with what I call the “phenomenon of small steps”. When I came up with this simple model, my life changed and all for the better.
It was one rainy day in rainy Ireland, when I looked at my bank account and astoundingly found out that, yet again, there was more month than money left on my account. I had become suspicious in the previous months already, that there must be a hole in my bank account.
Just like you could have a hole in your trouser pockets, there might be one on my bank account. My money was gone. But I hadn’t purchased anything big that month. Where did it go? I started to make a detailed analysis about my cashflow.
And to my very surprise, the numbers added up. I hadn’t spent my money on any one big thing but nonetheless all these small transactions of five Euro here and ten Euro there had quite a vanishing effect on my money. This was the first time that the phenomenon of small steps really struck me in real life.
Coming from our evolution, our mind is better able to focus on quick results. Because when we were still living in caves and fearing the saber-tooth tiger, there was not much necessity for planning ahead. Quick results were all that counted.
People at that time got up in the morning with the main concern about what it was they would be going to eat by that evening. If no food was gathered or hunted, no food was eaten. As simple as that.
Our imagination and the ability to dream and consciously create through work, should one day enable our species to mount to the top of the food-chain in the following millennia, but as long as we weren’t able to count on regular food on our plates, we were trapped in the moment.
This led to our conscious mind developing in a way that enables it to dream and scheme, however, with one flaw: the consideration of the small steps necessary to get there.
Let me prove my point with this example: If eating a pizza would make you immediately fat, and jogging would make you immediately slim, you would very likely be seen jogging more often.
You’d eat a pizza, be fat. And then you’d decide: “no, I don’t want to be fat” and you’d go out jogging and be slim again. Unfortunately, that is not how it works. You don’t get fat by eating one pizza. It’s the many pizzas and other sins, indulged over time, that make you gain weight. And obviously, the other way around with jogging.
Reaching any major goal in our lives consists of many small steps which – seen all by themselves – don’t appear to have any impact at all. It is only after time that one realizes that it is the combination of all those little steps that led to the big goal.
So, in our balance of laziness versus rewards, the big goal would definitely win. But as it cannot be achieved immediately, we are faced with making the decision on the balance of laziness versus the small step. And as far as that is concerned, the small step by itself does usually not provide a sufficient reward to win that comparison.
The Results of Our Decisions Come Delayed
To illustrate that thought, let’s stay with pizza. If you’re confronted with the picture of a steaming pepperoni piece of goodness you are not confronted with a decision between becoming fat and unhealthy or becoming slim and healthy, but you’re confronted with the decision of eating a tasty pizza or a rotten salad with lemon dressing and no oil. Whether you eat it or not will have no immediate effect on you. You know that the pizza is not healthy, but as this won’t happen right after finishing it, it is no wonder that the pizza usually wins.
Interestingly we are much better able to envision this concept by looking back rather than looking forward. Just imagine you would have saved ten percent of your earnings since you made your first buck. How much money would have saved by now? Go, do it. Run the numbers.
Depending on your age, you will be astonished how much money went into unnecessary Designer Frappuccinos or other useless “treats”. The same scenario works with everything else. Imagine you would have been working out in a gym only three times a week from your eighteenth birthday until now. How would you look like now?
Imagine you would have posted one blog-article every day since you left high-school. Would your website be heavily frequented by now? Imagine you would have sat down in school and studied hard at home. Would you have an excellent degree now? A doctorate?
It’s so easy to become regretful when looking back at whatnot you could all have been doing that would have had a positive impact on your current state. Yet, starting with it today and continually doing it in the future is so much tougher.
But if we ever want to achieve anything in our life, we need to embrace the phenomenon of small steps. I would even go so far to say that this is the number one secret to success. We are constantly faced with battling about decisions that have no immediate impact, but will make the difference if we look at them in a combined way.
So what we need to do to win that battle is firstly to be conscious about it. We need to be fully aware that only small steps can lead to leaps. And that every small step that leads in the desired direction is important.
Now you know why jogging seems like such a bad idea and eating that pizza like such a good one. Because the results are not immediately visible, and we convince ourselves that there is no consequence. And you also know why you just can’t get yourself motivated to writing that daily blog post. Because there is no money coming in that is directly connected to it. All of this is part of the phenomenon of small steps.
Fool Your Brain
We need to rig the odds in our favor by equating every small step with the desired end-result. From now on, you won’t go jogging to lose 300 calories. You will need to train your mind so that it considers this one incident of jogging as already reaching the final goal.
You will have to tell yourself: If I go jogging now, I will fit in my bathing suit. And rather than thinking about that business task you should do, like for instance writing the blog post, you will consider it as reaching your desired goal. So once you have finished this blog post, you will be in your beach mansion and be rich.
And once you have done the hard work, you will reward yourself by feeling happy that you reached your goal. And the next day you will do the same. Because this is essentially what you are doing. You are not resisting the pizza to save calories.
You are resisting the pizza to fit in the bathing suit. So whenever you are faced with the decision: pizza or salad, you will have to make the conscious decision between adding one size to your clothes or fitting in the bathing suit.
Your subconscious mind might be a bit critical in the beginning, but in the end, it does what you tell it to do. And you can make it believe that it really requires you to jog only once to fit back in that bathing suit. You just have to tell it everyday. And earlier or later, it will be true.
At a later stage of this book we will be looking into your subconscious mind and all the actors there who want to influence your actions in one way or another in more detail. Revealing things are about to come. I promise.
But for now, it is sufficient to know about the somewhat obvious, yet always disregarded phenomenon of small steps. The results are inevitable. If you would write only 50 words a day, you would have a full blown book of 50,000.00 words in three years. If you would only jog ten minutes a day, you would lose 35,405 calories (or roughly 5 kilos of body fat) in a year. It’s that easy: every little counts.