Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still.

Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still. – Chinese Proverb

Wow! That's a lot of parts. That is just a one cylinder engine, with transmission and clutch, from a motorcycle. Just work one part at a time. Slow and steady.

Wow! That’s a lot of parts. That is just a one cylinder engine, with transmission and clutch, from a motorcycle. Just work one part at a time. Slow and steady, just don’t stand still.

What does that mean?
This is similar to a quote attributed to Confucius, where perseverance is stressed. That quote is about remembering that you need to keep going and don’t ever stop.

This quote mentions being afraid of not achieving results. Many of us are in a hurry, and want to see results, and want them yesterday. We worry that not seeing results immediately means that the attempt failed.

For many, that leads to a series of quick attempts, none of which are tried for a sufficient period of time for anything significant, or even measurable, to have happened.

In the end, they go nowhere. Because nothing seems to be working, they give up, and that is the same as standing still. They quit trying, and nothing changes in the way they desire. That’s not good.

Why is moving, regardless of pace, important?
I liken this issue with the filling of a bathtub. When you first put water in, it appears to make rapid progress. The water moves quickly across the bottom, heading for the far side. You think that at that pace, the tub will be filled in just a few more minutes. So you stay there and wait.

But then, something odd happens. The water is still flowing, but the progress is no longer visible. Nothing seems to be happening. The water is flowing in, but the tub doesn’t seem to be filling up anymore. And you get frustrated. But the tub is still filling at the same rate as before.

It just seems like it isn’t going as fast anymore. That’s because of the slope at the bottom of the tub, and once that’s covered, the slow, steady, work begins. And that’s the point of the quote. If you were waiting for the tub to fill and the water wasn’t running, that’s standing still.

So long as the water is running, progress is being made. The same goes for diets or any other long-term project. There will be times when things move slowly. Stick with it, and keep working. Look for opportunities to improve, but keep moving. Always keep moving. Otherwise you will be standing still.

Where can I apply this in my life?
I mentioned bathtubs and diets in the prior section. Where else are you moving slowly, or worse yet, standing still? For me, my project car is presently standing still because I’m slowly making progress on my daily driver. Such is life. Priorities sometimes mean something gets set aside for a while.

But I am still making slow progress on the other car, and once that is done, it will be time to get back to work on the project car. I haven’t given up, and I am still reviewing plans and methods. I’m trying to figure out which order to tackle the remaining issues before starting to put it back together. Progress, even if it is glacially slow.

Take a moment and consider where in your life you are at a stand-still. This isn’t things you have decided to quit because they no longer serve your needs. That is different from being stuck or at a stand-still with a project or issue which you want to make some progress.

In my experience, one of the issues is the size of the “problem” you face. It’s like the old saying about how you eat an elephant. That’s a big critter, and definitely a lot to eat. Where do you start? How do you prepare it? What do you serve with it? What kind of wine goes with it?

And you are now lost in a flurry of unimportant details. You have lost sight of the true answer. You eat an elephant like you eat anything else. One bite at a time. Now look at the rest of the questions, and most answer themselves or show themselves to have been completely irrelevant in the first place.

Why are you at a stand-still with your projects or issues? Is it analysis paralysis, like the elephant conundrum? Is there a way to simply break off a chunk and work on that? Do you have to fix the whole car at the same time, or can you work on the engine, then fix the transmission after that?

The point is that with a little thought and some creativity, you can break it down into bite-sized chunks. With that in mind, take one of your issues and try to break off a couple of small chunks. If you find a medium sized chunk, break it loose, then see what you can do to break that chunk down.

With an engine, you might work on the intake and exhaust manifolds for a while, then move on to the heads and valves, and finish with the block. Or do it in the other order, but even something as complex as an engine can be broken into bite sized tasks. It may take a while, but as long as you’re making progress, however slowly, you’re doing good.

Life is full of challenges. Keep on working on them. Even if the progress slows to a crawl. No matter what, keep going. Eventually, you will get there. Unless you give up, and simply stand still. You don’t want to do that, do you?

From: Twitter, @Sports_HQ
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Photo by Insomnia Cured Here

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2 Responses to Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still.

  1. Summerseth 13 March 2014 at 5:57 am #

    Break down the issues in our lives and slowly progress on the issue we want to fix… Thank you for the blog and i have to read more of your post when i got my free time… But i want to thank you for the life lessons of not standing still… 🙂

    • philosiblog 14 March 2014 at 6:52 am #

      Thank you for stopping by, and for leaving such kind words.

      If you stand still, you aren’t going to go anywhere. Even if you’re moving slowly, you’ll eventually get somewhere.

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