How difficult is the first step vs. all that follow?

One Step Is Not Like the Other

posted in


"Take it one step at a time—inarguably wise advice. And yet we all take a running leap, hoping the wind will catch us on its wings and lift us clear to the top of the beanstalk. Those few Jacks who have reached new heights in this manner inevitably wish they had taken more time to prepare for the overbearing giant who greeted them." ― Richelle E. Goodrich

The first step is the most difficult. Some people disagree, but I know its weight.

First off, what IS a first step? In Take the First Step, I refer to great journeys. In my work, this is an aspiration to become someone or to complete a life's work. It is bound to one's meaning... one's purpose.

The first barrier to getting started is the greatest. Many of us do not know what our purpose is in life, nor do we invest the time to discover it. How can we take the first step toward something we cannot quantify?

The second barrier is related to the first. It is a failure to explore our creative interests. Such interests often look like play... something still considered the dominion of children. And mixing work and play is frowned upon.

The third barrier is contemplating too big of a first step. Instant gratification drives us, so we look to the finish instead of starting. But leaping from a dead stop to the finish conjures all manner of horrors from fear. Breaking something big into smaller pieces is a skill requiring deliberate practice.

Given these three barriers of entry, the first step requires a direction, courage to play again and the ability to regulate stride against fear.

What makes the second and additional steps easier than the first?


All of these and more are created in the act of doing something we enjoy. They build over time with each uninterrupted step. This is especially true when the steps are manageable.

Do people keep going indefinitely?
Of course not.

The reasons are many and varied. And they often conflate with difficulty.

  • Enough skill is developed in the face of diminishing returns.
  • Another creative interest takes precedence.
  • Life overtakes us unexpectedly for a season.
  • We change such that our direction changes.

Is creating consistently for a long period of time difficult?
Of course it is.

Change is inevitable. We evolve with each step. So let joy be our compass toward purpose. For although we dream of reaching far off peaks, the true reward is always found in the next step toward them.

Joy and purpose guide us,
Confidence eclipses faith,
Momentum powers us,
Motivation excites us,
Further with each additional step.

Food for Thought

Do you think a future step is more difficult than the first? If yes, why?

Have you taken the first step toward your dreams?

If not, which barrier do you currently face?

One Small Step

Consider the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. When faced with a beanstalk stretching into the clouds, deciding to climb and pulling yourself up onto the stalk is the first step. Others wouldn't dare contemplate such a thing, but Jack did. One small step at a time.

More articles to read

Within the unfamiliar lies great fear and opportunity.

When Life Moves the Furniture

Within the unfamiliar lies great fear and opportunity.

Read more
Are you lumbering through life?

Travel Light

Are you lumbering through life?

Read more
Even for those who don't care to know the difference.

Result Trumps Opinion

Even for those who don't care to know the difference.

Read more

Prepare yourself for the journey ahead!

Receive weekly wisdom from the Prolific Creator you won't find anywhere else.

The prolific creator: coffee
Thank you for subscribing, fellow traveler! Check your email to complete the process in one click.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

No spam ever! Creators are too busy creating.