Little by Little

On Independence Day a friend of mine texted me a quote about being in recovery: "It's a million-dollar program that we get a nickel at a time." I both love and hate that concept. I'm sitting in my cottage surrounded by boxes — although not as many as last week! — and what I want is to unpack everything now. I want to be settled now. I want all the organizing to be done now. I want my big payday right this minute, not little by little.

I quite often forget this concept of baby steps, slow and steady wins the race, etc. because I'm attracted by the big and bold, by pomp and circumstance. I love hearing about seemingly overnight success and Cinderella stories because, well, I'm impatient. I heard today that impatience can also mask self-centeredness and a controlling tendency. That's certainly the case with me.

Water wearing down rock
True story: The consistent pressure of water can make even the hardest rock smooth.

Little by little is important for me to remember because more often it's the case someone is wealthy because they know how to save — they sock away money a little bit here, a little bit there. More often it's the case an actor has been auditioning for years before they become an "overnight" success. Truly it's the baby steps, the hard work along the way that builds up to something great. Rome wasn't built in a day and nor will my cottage be unpacked in a day. I want to be a best-selling author this minute, but when I focus on the big goal I forget about selling one book at a time to one person at a time.

For someone like me who's melodramatic and makes big drastic changes quite frequently, doing something little by little is crucial. When I look at all the things that have stuck with me — my meditation practice, my yoga practice, my recovery from addiction — it's because I did things little by little. They've become permanent fixtures in my life because I took action every single day — not because I made one grand sweeping gesture. Sure, the grand gestures are fun and exciting, but it's the little actions everyday that have made the most lasting impact.

I don't know that anyone else will get anything out of this blogpost, but I guess I'm saying for today I realize there is value in the small things. In doing things one day at a time, little by little. That getting a million dollars a nickel at a time means there won't ever be a moment when I'm completely out of cash because I'll have a constant source of income. Yes, I'm impressed by vast canyons, but that's because I'm seeing the end results — many canyons are created by water wearing down rock little by little, day by day. Little by little adds up to something beautiful and grand, and right now is the time for me to practice that, knowing eventually I'll see the results I'm looking for.

I dream of a world where we value doing something little by little. A world where we understand constant and steady pressure adds up to something amazing. A world where we have patience with ourselves and each other. A world where we cherish our baby steps.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

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9 comments… add one
  • jessica Jul 10, 2013, 3:32 pm

    I really like the idea of striving toward patience with ourselves and each other.

  • leslie Jul 11, 2013, 12:43 pm

    patience, perseverance, gratitude, compassion, trust: these are all things I see in this post which show your commitment to "little by little". so inspiring <3

    • Rebekah Jul 11, 2013, 2:06 pm

      =) Thank you.

  • Isaac Jul 11, 2013, 1:22 pm

    Good post, Bex.

    • Rebekah Jul 11, 2013, 2:06 pm

      Thanks. =)

  • Erika Jul 17, 2013, 6:45 pm


    I am learning this lesson right now, too! I am super impatient, want instant gratification, want results immediately, and always seem to have a sense of urgency. But I'm learning that the in-between, the middle, the waiting, the smallness, is actually very rewarding and pleasing on its own. I keep thinking that all the things I accomplished in the past were instantly, but I know that wasn't the case. I can be patient — I need to be patient — but waiting doesn't mean joyless or wasting time. There are so many lessons to be found when things are slowed down. And it's quite beautiful. And I'm also finding that the time passes by quicker than we think.

    • Rebekah Jul 20, 2013, 4:52 pm


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