July 10, 2014


952_Small Steps

Accomplishing what we want is very challenging. Whether it is a book project, a series of paintings, a new website or any new creative challenge in our life, often the things that seem worth doing are multi-stePPed, unfamiliar and complicated.

However one of the primary reasons people don’t achieve what they want comes from the fact that they have forgotten one of the most beneficial, predictable strategies that can be applied to working towards any goal. It is relatively simple and fairly obvious. It is, however, often overlooked.

The most challenging point of embarking upon any task that seems daunting is actually just beginning. Going from an idea to the actual hard work of making something happen is a threshold that often is never crossed. This is because of the tendency to over think. Trying to figure out all the possibilities, all the myriad of ways to possibly go, to think yourself to the result can often be tiring, so impossibly difficult that it exhausts us before we can even begin.

Planning things that haven’t happened yet is like trying to think through all the steps of an expressionistic painting before we have even begun. Not only is this virtually impossible but it also gives us nothing back in terms of feeling or momentum because we haven’t created anything tangible to experience. Over thinking rarely helps to get us where we want to go.

Instead we need to readjust our approach from merely thinking into doing. Actually taking one very, very small step towards whatever it is we are after. It doesn’t even have to be the right step, just one that “feels” possibly like the right one. And then, perhaps the next day or soon after, take another step. And then another. Besides all being small, they should all feel like they are helping you move, even remotely, towards whatever it is you desire. This small step approach, especially in the beginning, accomplishes several key things.

Firstly it provides you with a small but growing sense that you are creating, even in a small way what you desire. It might be small but it now it exists. Being in a place of actually creating something tangible provides us with an empowering, inspired foothold that will in time become more and more solid.

Once we are in the mode of creation and we can see it, the tiredness of the huge unknown, the daunting reality of all we do not know, is lessened by a new positive rush of creativity. It matters not that the time we are creating, actually doing, is very short, but only that we shift, even briefly into a creative mode.

Because it is only in this state that our perspective can be shifted away from one of overwhelm of determining some vague endpoint in the future to one where are just happily, fully engaged in the present. If we are truly creating something, then inspiration can enter the room and suddenly our process, our long challenging path towards all we desire can become sustaining.

It will becomes easier, more comfortable, even enjoyable to stay longer in the process of accomplishing rather than reverting to obsessively thinking of the accomplishment itself. And this is key because working longer, because it doesn’t feel like work, is how goals are finally achieved. The endpoint, the final result does come, but only because of a creative, inspired and sustainable process.

Working creatively, with inspiration and intuition on your side, finding your way as you go, is in the end a pretty wonderful state to arrive at regardless of the outcome. It just simply feels marvelous to be in a process that steadily and happily moves you towards whatever you may desire.

What ways of working has helped you reach your goals?

Nicholas Wilton

Hi! I’m
Nicholas Wilton
the founder of Art2Life.

With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.

Join me and artists from all over the world in our Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group or learn more here about Art2Life.

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