This is a perfect metaphor for change. Watch this video.
When I work with people on affecting change in their lives - whether it's my fifth grade students or the adults who hire me to help them achieve a goal - the struggle is often to make them understand how small, incremental changes over time produce huge results.
The struggle is two-fold:
1. People lack the patience to allow change to happen. When I lost almost 60 pounds, people were desperate to learn how I managed to do it. When I told them that I ate a little less, exercised a little more, land lost about a pound a week for a year, they were far less enthusiastic. People want a quick fix. A magical diet. Not a plodding, methodical, common sense approach to weight loss. But it's the slow, habit-changing method of change that often produces the best results.
2. People lack the faith in incrementalism. They believe that things must be done in large bites instead of tiny nibbles. If your closet is a disorganized disaster, for example, pick up just one item every day, and before long, your closet will be clean with minimal effort and time spent. Instead, people would rather spend a rainy Saturday cleaning out their entire closet, which turns a tiny, simple daily chore into an onerous, time consuming, and loathsome job.
Small, consistent, focused efforts at change over a long period of time can produce enormous results, and like the video, these results can snowball into something enormous.
People either don't believe it or won't put forth the effort to ensure the consistency required to make it happen.
After writing every single of my life - without exception - for 17 years, I wrote the first sentence of my first novel in 2005.
Martin opened the refrigerator and saw exactly what he had expected.
Then I wrote another sentence. Then another.
Three years later I had finished writing my first a novel. That same day I started writing my second novel.
A year later, I had sold that first novel. Then I sold the second and the third and so one.
Today I've published four novels. My fifth will publish next year. I have contracts for three other books, including my first book of nonfiction and my first children's book. Three of my novels are optioned for film. I'm writing columns regularly for two magazines.
This is the year that my enormous Domino block has fallen. Twelve years after I wrote that first sentence, and thirty years after I committed myself to writing every day, I am on the verge of being able to make a living as a writer.
But I'm still working one sentence at a time.
Small, consistent, focused change over a long period of time. It results in enormous changes. It turns the blank page into a book and a writing career.
Be patient. Consistent. Focused. Tiny steps forward every single day can bring to you amazing places.