You may have heard the saying that you should reach for the stars. It comes out in different ways…
Leo Burnett said: “When you reach for the stars you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.”
Mike Tyson said: “I’m a dreamer. I have to dream and reach for the stars, and if I miss a star then I grab a handful of clouds.”
Les Brown said: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
It has been said in many other ways, but the idea is that if you aim high enough, even failure is amazing. Even failure becomes a success.
But Emil Zatopek , a middle distance runner from the Czech Republic, has a different take on it: “You can’t climb up to the second floor without a ladder. When you set your aim too high and don’t fulfill it, then your enthusiasm turns to bitterness. Try for a goal that’s reasonable, and then gradually raise it. That’s the only way to get to the top.”
So which is it do you set your sights on the stars and aim high? Or do you keep your eyes just one step ahead and aim for the next step. I know when I climbed Mount Washington, at a certain altitude we were in the clouds. We kept climbing and climbing and climbing…and still all we could see was a few feet up.
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What is the moral of the story? I am not sure. But I think it helps to have a lofty dream, to keep the big picture in mind. I think knowing where you want to end up gives you motivation and inspiration to get up each day and get in the game.
But I also think that when it comes to actually putting your foot forward, you need to keep your eyes on the ground. Each action needs to be measured on its own merit.
Big goals. Small steps. Why not have both?