”I’m a big fan of starting small. Trying differrent things to see which one works and which one doesn’t. And iterating based on feedback” – Moses Auma
The historic book; How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie has sold more than 15 million copies all over the world! But it is not the volume of sales and revenue collected that matters, it is the new found magic how this book was started that really matter. It was started small, very small. And that is the achievement.
While giving a talk to a group of people, Carnegie said “I prepared a short talk. I called it ‘How to Win Friends and influence People. I say ‘short.’ It was short in the begining but it soon expanded to a lecture that consumed one hour thirty minutes.”
After delivering this talk, Dale found that the attendees started discussing their experiences and some ‘rules’emerged. Ultimately, the talk became a course and a need for a textbook of sorts emerged. Here is Carnegie on how the famous book became a reality:
“We started with a set of rules printed on a card no larger than a postcard. The next season we printed a larger card, then a leaflet, then a series of leaflets, each one expanding in size and scope. After fifteen years of experimentation and research came this book”
Yet still, we know that Richard Branson started the Virgin brand with a Student Magazine, but Virgin and Canergie’s book are just two of the many examples which shows that the reality is counterintuitive: truly, the best things we know and adore started as tiny things with almost inconceivable future.
Life isn’t defined by epiphanies, big or grand starts. I’ve always felt life is better defined by lots of small starts and finishes. No supreme moments of clarity, just decisions to try something slightly more challenging than the day before.
I’ve noticed that great things almost always start small. I find similarly that some of the most important achievements I’ve made started as little projects. OneStepBeyond itself is a great example. It started as a short service messages sent to my contacts and classmates via WhatsApp. When I realised people received my messages with positive affirmation, it hit me that I could put pen to paper.
Then I asked magazine Reel to be given a column to pen down a few inpiring words. After one year of consistent contribution, I realised I could create and maintain a blog as part of giving back to the society what I have been privileged to learn from others. Many small starts and small projects, evolving a direction as I went. And I have witnessed OneStepBeyond grow into the most authoritative blog for success, the only journey that the youth need as a manual for success.
We all love to be part of big things. But that leaves all of us looking for big moments. For instance, an agribusiness management graduate will look forward to a bigger job position and huge perks. But you have to start somewhere, continously aligning yourself with the right skills managers look for that grants you such a lofty position. We can’t arrive at success by one magic wand, we have to be patiently working hard at each stage. Small starts don’t need to be perfectly correct, they just need to move you another step further towards the goal.
The art of starting small demands that you don’t wait to jump into your dreams, if your life is inclined towards business, why not start hawking lollipops or ‘kangumu’ or credit cards to your campus friends? If you intend to become a politician, why not contest a campus election and lose? If you want to become a writer, why not start a free wordpress account and fumble? If you want to become a political analyst, why not take your time to study the lives of the existing gurus in that field first?
It is essentially not so bad to have ambitious thoughts. And depending on the type of an individual, one either think big too much or don’t think big enough. It is those who think big too much who should need to pay attention to this post the more.
The day you busk in your success is the day you will be thankful you started small.