by Kathie England

The Power of Small Steps

My fervent belief in the power of small steps was the driving force in creation of My 1000 Small Steps, the project that evolved from the despair I felt on the morning of November 9, 2016.
But why take small steps?
In this fourth post on the journey of encouraging individuals to take 1000 small steps to influence the outcome of the next presidential election on November 3, 2020, I decided to share some of the thoughts that have shaped my perspective about the value and power of taking small steps when we want to create change.
First, let me set the stage with the words of Howard Zinn from You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times. I found this quote in Healing the Heart of Democracy by Parker J. Palmer.

“The essential ingredients of [all] struggles for justice are human beings who, if only for a moment, if only while beset with fears, step out of line and do something, however small. And even the smallest, most unheroic of acts adds to the store of kindling that may be ignited by some surprising circumstances into tumultuous change.”

One of the earliest proponents of small steps was Lao Tzu in the Tao Teh Ching. Many scholars date the ideas in the Tao to the fourth century B.C.

“Sow the great in the small…Big things of the world can only be achieved by attending to their small beginnings.”
“A journey of a thousand leagues starts from where your feet stand.”

When I read Jodi Picoult’s wonderful book, Small Great Things, I discovered that the name of her book was inspired by the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

Shortly after reading Small Great Things, I learned of these words by Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States.

“In a nation of millions, and a world of billions, the individual is still the first and basic agent of change.”

I want to conclude my thoughts about small steps with the words of Marilyn Paul from her book It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys.

“Small steps actually taken lead to more progress than great steps that never happen.”

I invite you to reflect on the thoughts I’ve shared this month about the value of small steps.
I encourage you to take a small step and remember the words of John F. Kennedy: “One person can make a difference. Everyone should try.”