Everyone is happy to attain large successes in life. This could be an important goal like having a happy family, getting a job promotion or closing a big business deal. These successes are obvious and worth celebrating. But in doing so, we should not forget the small successes that got us there. Like unsung heroes, small successes play a vital role as the foundation of our major success. They are as important as big successes even if they are not as satisfying. With that in mind, here are some reasons why small successes matter.
Lao Tzu wisely pointed out that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. At the start, our goals are so far away that it seems impossible to reach. But as we press on towards our goal, we will pass certain milestones. These milestones remind us of how far we have come and how much further our goal lies.
Take for example the complain free challenge. If a person who complains habitually tries to stop complaining all at once, it might be impossible. But if he breaks it down into manageable periods, slowly he will be able to change his habit. At first, he might not be able to get through a day without complaining. Soon it is four days before he slips up. Now four days might not seem like a lot, but it is an important milestone compared to where he was before. From there he will be likely to go longer without complaining. Thus, milestones serve to keep track of our progress and to remind us of how much farther we have to go. Without small successes, we could never make it to our goals.
Turning Failure in Stepping Stones
Failure is a vital part of success. When we attempt something new, chances are we will make mistakes and face challenges. Yet these challenges are merely stepping-stones to attain our goals if we know how to use them. In truth, challenges are there to alert us to what we are doing right or wrong. We should not fear them but find a way to manage, for each challenge that we overcome is a small triumph. It is a testament that we have learned from our mistakes and adapted as needed. While these small triumphs are not the actual goal itself, they are the foundation for our major success. We need to get through them to reach our goal.
Lately, I have been having fun playing Dawn of War II’s Last Stand online. In the game, I team up with two other players in an arena to take on twenty waves of alien attackers. Each wave is more difficult than the last so working together is vital to survival. At first, I was not sure how to play so I ended up being a liability to my teammates. Each time the enemies knocked me out, they had to revive me and my team could not even make it past the tenth wave.
But I learned from my mistakes and slowly mastered the evil sorcerer I preferred. I just love the way he can teleport behind the enemies and strike them down with doom bolts haha! Bit by bit, the teams I joined made it further and further through the waves. Once we even made it to the final wave but ultimately failed to prevail. It is interesting how complete strangers can work together to survive. I won’t say that I am very good at the game, but I know enough to survive against overwhelming odds. This usually means trying to find a safe place to teleport to until I find a chance to use my favourite tactic above. It does not work all the time, but I survive longer than I used to. More importantly, I can now save my teammates although I still fumble when I am the only one left against crazy odds.
Encouragement and Motivation
The journey towards our goal is rarely easy. The road is usually paved with obstacles. And in the face of adversity, it is a challenge to keep pressing on with no end in sight. Yet not all is bleak. If we plan, learn and adapt as needed, we are bound to have small successes. These will serve to encourage and motivate us when the going is tough. After all, each small success is a step closer to our ultimate goal.
When I was trying to find inner peace, I thought that I would never still the inner turmoil and pain I felt. The only thing I could do was to take each day at a time and give thanks for the small successes I had. Sometimes it was a new idea that was helpful. Other times, an experience changed my way of thinking. Slowly but surely, I learned how to manage the excess emotions and energy I had. Sure, I might lose my composure from time to time, but I was able to regain my balance quickly. Through it all, the small successes I had gave me hope and kept me going.
Big successes do not happen overnight. A lot of hard work and small successes go into building that final success. As such, we should be thankful for these small successes and not overlook them.
Do you take note of your small successes? Are they important to you? Are there any other reasons you can think of that makes small successes important? Do share your thoughts and comments below!