Just One Step Forward

Stop and look in the mirror. 100% happy with everything you see?

I certainly am not. I’m still scrawnier than I’d like to be. Ideally, I want to gain another 30 pounds of muscle. My bank account? Well, that’s scrawnier than I’d like it to be as well. My career is moving along, but if I’m honest, I’ve not done as much as I thought I would when I was a senior in college and expected myself to change the world. Socially, I have a few good friends and I’ve made a lot of progress towards overcoming that natural shyness that I grew up with. But you know that guy that just walks into a room, commands instant respect, and electrifies the crowd? That’s still not me.

If I honestly assess where I am at as a person vs where I’d like to be, I see so much ground I need to cover. It’s a bit overwhelming – so much to do. I find myself either stressing out about how far from my ideal self I still am or trying to just accept where I am now as good enough.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu

I could freak out and stress over how much work I still have to do or I could give up and just accept I’ll never reach my goals, but a third option exists. Just One Step Forward. All I need to do today is take one step forward towards my goals. Just one step. Slow, steady forward progress will eventually accomplish your largest, most incredible dreams.

What can you do today to take 1 simple step forward? Here’s a few ideas.

  • Take a jog to burn some calories and strengthen your heart.
  • Sign up for a class in something you’ve always wanted to learn.
  • Visit the store and buy one clothing item that fits well and gives you confidence.
  • Join an online dating site and practice chatting with someone.
  • Better yet, visit a coffee shop and make small talk with someone there.
  • Sign up for a gym and search Youtube for a few basic workouts.
  • Fill out a to-do list to get yourself organized.
  • Clean one room or even one part of a room.
  • Message a friend to reconnect.
  • Read the first chapter of a book you’ve always wanted to read.
  • Drop $10 into a savings account.
  • Take 5 minutes and just breathe. Repeat the word “peace” or “strength” or “love” in your mind. You just meditated.
  • Plan to help someone today. When the opportunity presents itself, go for it.

None of these ideas are dramatic or life-changing. But then again maybe they are. If the journey of a thousand miles really does begin with a single step, then these simple steps may change you in ways you can’t imagine. You don’t have to change the world today. You don’t even have to transform yourself. You need just take a single step towards a better you. And in doing so, you just might end up changing yourself and the world more than you ever realized.

If you really want to master something as quickly as possible and go from first step to goal even quicker, I highly recommend The First 20 Hours – How to Learn Anything Fast. Josh Kaufman helps self-directed learners like us expedite the learning process get to the stage of enjoying what we’ve learned as fast as possible. If you are serious about self-improvement, moving forward towards goals, and achieving skills faster, then consider this book a strong introduction to everything you need to know.

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Happy reading, happy improving, and may your small steps lead to giant leaps toward your dreams!

The Quickest, Easiest Self Improvement Tip

Self-improvement takes time. You have to read self-help books. You have to master new life skills. You have to make changes to your personality. You have to add new habits and subtract old ones. Lots of work. It certainly doesn’t happen overnight.

But just because a great self-improvement plan takes a year or more doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy quick, simple improvements. Sometimes we just want to feel a quick win, an easy victory, an effortless improvement in our life. So here’s the fastest, easiest self-improvement tip I know. All you need is 3 seconds and, well, nothing else. Let’s see how it works.

How to Sound Smarter

I’m guessing if you are anything like me, often, in a conversation, you sometimes stumble your way through and then only later think of the absolute perfect think you should have said. I hate that. It’s as the universe is playing with me, taunting me. Jamie, here’s a great line to say, only, I’ll only let you think of it now when no-one is around to hear how clever you really are. Damn. If only I could sound smarter right in the middle of conversations. If only I could do it without expending a single additional drop of effort. Actually, you can. How? We’ll see in a moment.

How to Sound More Confident

The only thing I hate worse than not saying something really clever is saying something really stupid. I have this bad habit where I’ll screw up mid-sentence and say a Spoonerism. What is a Spoonerism? It’s a verbal mistake (or possibly a brilliant chance for humor) where you switch the sounds in words. Here’s an example. I want to say, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” but somehow say “Goldybear and the Three Locks.” This usually happens when I’m too excited, racing to get my words into a conversation. But here’s the thing. Does James Bond ever muck up what he’s trying to say? Better yet, does he ever even seem to hurry to say what he wants? No, right? There’s a direct link between sounding confident and talking slower than the average person.

The Easiest Self-Improvement Tip Ever

So let’s finally reveal the simplest self-improvement hack that you can start using right this moment. It’s the 3-second pause. Whenever someone asks you a challenging question, whenever someone calls you out on something and demands a response, whenever someone asks your opinion, whenever someone teases or mocks you – basically whenever you find yourself on the spot in a conversation – say nothing for 3 seconds. You can do that, right? See, we tend to get nervous at those moments and race to say something. But once you start racing, your clever thoughts and creative ideas are suppressed. You’ll come up with a cool answer, but it won’t be now, it’ll be later because you didn’t give yourself even a moment to think. You won’t sound cool and confident, because unlike James Bond, you’ll be scampering to say as much as you can as quickly as you can, and let’s face it, that just makes you sound nervous and needy.

So from here on out, when you are on the spot in a conversation, pause and say nothing for a count of 3. The first time you do it, you’ll feel really awkward, but trust me, it will command respect from your conversation partners. Then, once you do begin to speak, speak slower than you normally do. You’ll find that this is not only easier, it’ll also help you speak more clearly, more accurately and more confidently.

Usually in life, improving takes a lot of work and a lot of time. But occasionally, there are things you can do that are simple, fast, and make a big impact. This is one of those things.

Try this advice and let me know how it works out for you in the comment section below. Also, please subscribe and share this on facebook or twitter if you have friends who can benefit from this advice.

Jamie

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