I wake up, make some coffee, and sit down at my computer. Starting up my word processor I stare at the blank page for a few moments. In that page there is both a promise and a challenge. There is the potential that something great is waiting to be revealed, and the challenge to put in the work to make it happen. Just like the rest of the day.
I begin to write.
Imagine your day represented by a blank sheet of paper.
It could be a yellow sheet from a legal pad, a crisp white piece of copy paper, or a beat up sheet torn from a spiral note book. No matter the differences in design these sheets all have one thing in common.
They start empty. This fresh page offers untold potential. And on this single piece of paper you will write the story of your life for this day.
There are no limits to what you put on that sheet. You can begin your masterpiece, doodle zentangle’s in the margins, or write a single line that says “today I went to the gym”. It doesn’t really matter what you write because in the grand scheme of things that single piece of paper is inconsequential. The day finishes and the sheet gets dropped in the “Completed” tray.
But then tomorrow comes and brings with it a fresh sheet of paper.
Take a sheet of paper, crease it down the middle, and tear it in half. Now stack the two halves together and do it again. How many times can you tear and stack these halves until they are too thick and you can no longer rip through them?
So it is with the accumulation of days.
What you write on your page today won’t make a difference on it’s own. But what you write on a succession of pages will. If you write “I went to the gym today” on enough pages then eventually the stack will grow thick; just like your muscles! If you write a single line from a novel; eventually you will have a novel.
It is the succession of small steps towards your goals added up over time that eventually yield the result you are hoping to achieve.
What you don’t write is important too.
Negativity spawns more negativity. Nowhere on that page should there be an entry like “I didn’t do (insert bad habit here) today”. Changing habits is difficult I know, but the focus must be on the positive and what you’ve accomplished, not on the negative and what you’ve managed to avoid.
Exchange “no beers” for “drank eight glasses of water”, and “no snacking” for “walked 10,000 steps”.
Much like the good habits, the bad ones stack up over time as well. The larger the stack, the harder it is to tear. But you will always have an ace in the hole, because you get a fresh sheet of paper tomorrow.
A single sheet of paper is light enough to be inconsequential, yet holds the potential to change the world.
It is rare that a single sheet will bring about a change so large that the earth shifts on its axis, but it does happen. More common is that a stack of pages bound together as thick as a phone book, with the same idea being advanced across those pages from beginning to end. That will make a change.
Have you ever been hit with a phone book?
Take it slow. Books don’t get written in a day. Just bring a positive outlook and a consistent message to that page each day and eventually you will have created an encyclopedia’s worth of actions in the direction you want to go, without even realizing it.
Take out a blank sheet right now. Write something on it.
What will the story of your life look like?