I’ve spent a lot of time over the last two weeks painting walls and ceilings and trim as we’ve begun the renovations at my Dad’s house and have been carving out a bit of quiet space to sleep and work amidst the piles of tools and materials and soon-to-be-torn-down walls.
Do you know what painting leaves a lot of time for?
So. Much. Thinking.
I’m always truly amazed by what unlocks when we allow space for our minds to wander, free of entertainment or direction (you know about why we have so many great ideas in the shower, right?), which is an entire separate topic I’d love to delve into but will refrain from for now. But all that painting does the trick and my brain has wandered into some seriously bizarre places lately (let’s just say that my “to Google” list is so, so weird right now…what kind of molds age cheese and why? And how did humans discover it?... Really? THIS is what I wonder about? But now I’m totally curious…).
Tucked in between the odd stuff, I’ve found myself coming back again and again to a single idea, rolling it around and looking at it from every conceivable angle: the impact of incremental action in our lives.
Tiny actions and how they add up to huge results.
Whether it’s taking 10 minutes to put a single coat of paint on a door or do a round of push-ups or look up whether the domain name you want is available, small movements forward make it possible to, ummmm, move forward.
We all do it. We all put things off because we want to “really sit down and work on it.” We have this image in our minds of writing that book during some idyllic pause in the craziness of our day-to-day, spending entire days crafting perfect words.
And forget that waiting for the ideal often means never starting at all.
So many of the books we read were written in the borrowed hours between other obligations. Dan Pfeiffer (one of President Obama’s senior advisors and co-host of the podcast Pod Save America) wrote his book from 5-6am Monday through Friday at a local Starbucks. An hour at a time. And you know what? Those hours added up to a finished book that you can now hold in your hands.
The same goes for pretty much every conceivable goal.
Show up. Take some, any, small action. Do it again tomorrow. And the day after that. And the one after that.
That’s how stalagmites are made…one drop of water at a time over millennia. (Or is it stalactites…and the Google list grows…)