Richard Hart

Head of Something @ Somewhere
Kent, UK

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To achieve something great, start with something small

Everyone has grand ideas and dreams. The dream of being the match winning goal scorer in the World Cup final. The dream of being richest man on Earth. The dream of being a great husband, great father, great friend. Then comes a time when we realise we’re a million miles away from the things we set out to achieve, we freeze and resign ourselves to the fact that we’ll probably never get there. Some will carry on regardless, and of those few, only a small handful will reach that end goal. But we don’t need to be in the majority of those that fall away at the way side. We just need to understand that to reach that final goal, requires us to achieve smaller ones first.

Weight lifting is the perfect example of this. If you want to squat 200kg, don’t load on 200kg and try, because you’ll most probably fail, injure yourself and never try again. To reach that goal, load on what you can manage, then each week come back and add some more. Some weeks you’ll lift it, some weeks you wont. But the more and more you come back and try to add just a little bit more weight, the closer and closer you’ll get to lifting  your final goal. Then one day  you’ll turn up and lift 200kg. You’ll look through your notebook, full of all your previous session’s numbers, and see all the steps it took to get there.

And that’s the same principal for anything in life. If you want to achieve something great, start with something small. Want to lose 100lbs? Then start with the first pound. Want to run a marathon? Then start by running just a single mile. Want to be amazing guitarist? Then start by learning a single chord.

This all applies so much to business. We see all these big businesses offering loads of products and services, or huge web applications packed with functionality, and we strive for that. But the burden will be too great. You’ll fail, your ego will be bruised and you’ll never try again. You never hear the story of how these businesses started by doing one thing and how they all built their empires from there. You need that first step to be sure that you can take the next. You can’t be everything to everybody, and if you try, you’ll be nothing to nobody. Don’t be sucked in by business porn. Don’t rush into a thousand things in the hope of achieving something or that something will stick, because you can’t apply enough stickiness to that many things at once. The humble beginnings are boring, that’s why you never hear about them. You read about startups on TechCrunch and don’t realise that people have been using and hashing out the issues on those sites for ages. If you’ve been around long enough, you get to experience the wonder of seeing someone truly launch their site for the first time and needing beta testers, then a year later seeing them doing their “real” launch. Only then can you really appreciate how these things evolve and how the subsequent success was down to focusing on a single idea/concept/function and executing that perfectly right at the very start.