“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao Tzu
Recognized as the author of the Tao Te Ching and the founding father of Taoism, Lao Tzu was an ancient Chinese philosopher and writer who died in 533 BC.
His words were written over 2,500 years ago yet encapsulate a wealth of timeless wisdom in one of the most renowned and often quoted Chinese proverbs of all time.
Application and Interpretation
Lyndon Johnson, who served as the 36th American President from 1963 to 1969 stated, “Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time.”
Clearly we’re still on that journey.
Yet peace is just one out of many different ways to apply – and interpret – what Lao Tzu intended to share.
Extract the Meaning
Others include the suggestion that he’s referring to significant things starting from modest beginnings or that the most challenging and lengthy undertakings have a simple starting point.
My sense is that these are all valid interpretations of this short but powerful statement.
However, I feel strongly that you and I need to extract the meaning which resonates most deeply with who we are and where we’re at on our individual journeys at any given moment in time.
So here’s my take on these eleven words today.
A journey of a thousand miles represents the vision you have for a “future” that feels meaningful to you; something you’re inspired to make a commitment to creating.
This could include any major project like writing a book, launching a business or taking a quantum leap into the next phase of your life.
The single step reminds you that the “future” arises out of who you are being and the actions you take in the present moment.
This draws your attention well and truly into the Now where you focus on the all important single step.
Missions of Magnitude
All missions of magnitude need a clear vision and conscious attention to each and every step along the way.
You start with the single step.
Then you take another…
When the dream is grounded in mindful action, the courage to begin the journey and stay the course arises, and you discover all that you need along the way.
Perhaps most importantly of all, with a conscious approach to your chosen adventure, what you actually discover is yourself!
What’s your interpretation of Lao Tzu’s words and what single step will you take on your journey today? Please share your comments below. Thank you!