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The Danger of the Half Step

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Earlier this week, I shared a post on our Facebook page about an article called The 30 second habit with a lifelong impact. It’s a great piece, and you should read it.

This made me think about some of the best advice I’ve ever been given. The kind of advice that makes you go, “Huh, okay” when you first hear it, but years later, after it has marinated in some experience and successes and failures, dawns on you that for the first time, you actually get it. Isn’t this the nature of all real advice?

It was given to me by a mentor, and he’s probably reading this blog right now. The advice is simple. Ready?

Never take a half step.

That’s it. Don’t take a half step. Either take a full step, or don’t take the step.

As I’ve grown personally and professionally, I have seen the wisdom of this advice make or break decisions, and I’m not entirely proud to say that for a good long while, I didn’t follow it.

Taking the half step is easy. It’s convenient. It’s cheaper, and it’s quicker. And what the hell – sometimes that half step will get me where I want to go, right?

Right. Sometimes. Sometimes is an awfully mushy term to rely on when you are dealing with decisions that count, that have to be right.

The problem will full steps is that they require exponentially more planning than a half step. They are more complex. They take far more time. They cost more. They are more painful. They require you to confront weaknesses before acting.

But most importantly, they force you to really understand what it is you’re trying to do.

Half step means half cocked, and half cocked means unprepared.

Unprepared means regret.

Regret means resentment.

Resentment means I’m less likely to take that chance again, for whatever faulty reasons I tell myself.

I always tell people that if you really want to see if your position on an issue is valid, try writing it down. Literally, spell your argument out on paper. You’ll learn real quick if your position is full of holes.

Same goes if you try to think beyond the half step.

I have found the real work begins just after the half step – at 51%, so to speak. So many gods live in the details of the second half that it’s another universe entirely.

Taking a half step is thinking about writing a book, creating an outline, and sitting down at the computer.

The second half of the step is writing the book.

Get it?

Half steps get you some indeterminate percentage closer to where you want to go, and they leave you wondering why you didn’t get there outright.

Either take a full step when you’re reading and you have the resources available, or don’t take a step at all.

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