If you are unwilling to take a step on the path, you will never reach the destination. This seems elementary, but a shocking number of people struggle with this.

I meet people who are willing to invest absolutely staggering amounts of work, time, money – juice – into something, as long as that thing can be accomplished in one step. They’re not lazy; it doesn’t matter how big the step is, just that there’s only one.

What do I mean? I mean that there are people who would be willing to go to school for twenty years at $100,000/year to be an astronaut, but they wouldn’t be willing to be a janitor at NASA for six months, even if that meant they could go into space immediately after.

Some of it might be ego. “I’m an astronaut” and “I’m training to be an astronaut” both sound about the same in terms of pride and status, but “I’m a janitor at NASA” doesn’t. It takes confidence and a little humility to live your plan, and good plans have more than one step.

Some of it might be fear of getting lost. If a plan has six steps, then any one might be a misstep, and then you won’t get to the thing you want at all. Sure – but you definitely won’t get to it in one step. You’ve got to risk it.

So these people waste years – sometimes their entire lives – in search of a single step, no matter how difficult, that leads directly to what they want. It doesn’t exist. No one is born an astronaut. No matter what you want to do, sometimes moving closer will feel like moving farther away, but that’s a mental trap. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – but then it takes a few more, too.

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