A Journey of a Thousand Miles …

As with most ancient teachings, a simple principle applies to all aspects of our lives.  This one has been coming up a lot lately in a number of ways:

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. – Lau Tzu

And I am sure we have all heard that “it’s the journey, not the destination”.  So we might consider that the quality of our journey has more to do with the quality of each step than on where we end up.  A personal development mentor of mine, Jim Rohn, suggests that “wherever you are … be there.”  Simple, yet powerful idea to be present and fully experience each moment.

I think I first consciously learned this concept when I was a senior in college.  I was skiing with a bunch of friends on a cloudy, damp day and we came to the top of the steepest mogul field in New England; Outer Limits at Killington, VT.  Standing at the top I questioned the sanity of being there on this day as I looked into a dense fog.  You could not see much past a mogul or two; and certainly could not see the lodge about 1000′ down.  We all kind of looked at each other, shrugged as if to say here goes nothing, spread out and headed down the slope.  Immediately something seemed different but I could not put my finger on it.  After a few turns I started to hear yips and wahoos from my friends; and felt inclined to do the same.  We got to the bottom and all agreed that it was much easier than expected.  Over lunch it came to me … it was the fog that made it easier.  The fog forced us to be present, to focus on the next step, the next mogul and not on the many that followed, how steep the slope was or how long it was.  We simply focused on each step.

Lately through some big challenges this same concept keeps coming up, particularly when I am working on my running technique and preparing for and participating in ultramarathons.  What is more interesting is how what I learn “through” my running appears as lessons applicable to other areas of my life.  In ChiRunning and ChiWalking, the related principle of nature is simply called ‘Gradual Progress’.  The principle states that everything has to grow incrementally through it own developmental stages, from less to more or from smaller to larger.  When this process happens gradually, each step forms a stable foundation for the next step.  This insures that nothing happens before its time and teaches us to be more process [journey] oriented instead of goal [destination] orientated. A simple principle that can make a significant impact to the way we approach life.

So if we want to go from A to B, in any aspect of our life, we have to take the next step mentally and/or physically.  The question is what kind of step is it?  Is it a manage-able balanced step that creates incremental progress and momentum <or> is it an overextended step which results in inefficiency and resistance to our forward progress?

Of course, when going from A to B both a strong ‘why?’ will keep us motivated and a map will keep us efficiently in the intended direction.  But consider this – if we were to take a road trip, what percentage of that time is focused on the road vs. looking at the map?


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David Stretanski is a holistic health, fitness and wellness coach and Certified ChiRunning®/ChiWalking® Instructor.  For more information on David, please see his About, Contact page or his website at http://www.eChiFitness.com.


ChiRunning® and ChiWalking® are registered trademarks of ChiLiving, Inc.

3 Responses to A Journey of a Thousand Miles …

  1. […] to developing new habits.  The most effective approach is likely to make Gradual Progress (see related post) resulting in long term success. – Running barefoot is best done with relaxed feet.  Putting […]

  2. […] a previous post ‘A Journey of a Thousand Miles‘, the principle of Gradual Progress was introduced. This is a key principle for any change, […]

  3. […] a previous post ‘A Journey of a Thousand Miles‘, the principle of Gradual Progress was introduced. This is a key principle for any change, […]

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