High 5: 12th May 2017 by Mrs Palan
Small Steps to Success
Good Morning Mdm Tan, Mr Lee, Mr Chung, fellow teachers and Gessians, my Hi Five will be on small steps to success. Today is the last day of semester 1 exams. All of you will be eagerly waiting for your results soon.
Some may think that, success comes instantly to others. But if you observe closely it isn’t a mystery or is it difficult to appreciate what it has taken for them to get where they are. You will find that success is usually only a small step away. Yet despite that it eludes most people. It is always so near and yet so far. Let me illustrate what I mean with a short story.
This is a lesson from the SAF military school
As part of the military training for officers, they were given a very demanding assignment. They were put in groups of about 10 and taken to some unknown location in the forest in Brunei. After a few days of camping there and doing some military manoeuvres, they were told to head back to the base. Only this time they wouldn’t be driven back – they would have to hike back.
They had to carry all their personal belongings and their riffle with them.
So they started off that day at sunset, walking through the thick forest. As the soldiers were using a compass for direction they had to stay close. Any slight deviation from the path and they would inevitably have gotten lost. That meant that whatever obstacle they encountered on the way had to be overcome. Worse still, they had no light and were basically walking blindly in the moonless night.
So they could not see where their next step was going to land. But they had to walk fast. Their deadline was 12 noon the next day to be at the base – or else they would have failed the assignment.
So they walked through the night. There was no time for fear, no time for doubt. They had to do what they had to do. Their futures depended on it.
As they walked through that unknown and scary world one thought kept going through the soldiers mind…It was… “Just take it one step at a time. Don’t worry about what will happen later, just think about each step… one small step to success”… That was the idea they held on to.
So with that they found some courage to get going. They moved on through the thick forest. Their hands and ears were pierced, bruised and sliced as they searched around in the dark to make a path to go through.
They conquered what seemed to have been an endless thick forest on the way. The rocks were so hard on their tired feet it was as though they had no boots on. Their legs cried for mercy from the effort of climbing up the steep slopes. They had to keep moving… “small steps to success.”
They could go no further. The pain and fatigue was unbearable. They had to take a nap – it was past midnight. One hour of sleep, all cuddled up like puppies for warmth, and then they moved on. So, Take a break, if you must, but don’t give up.
Soon the morning came. But there was no time to appreciate the sunrise. The water was all gone and the day brought with it unbearable heat and nasty irritating little flies which were intent on getting into their nose or ears. It was so hot they could feel the heat embracing their face.
They were getting dehydrated by now. Everyone was wishing they had not had to carry the heavy riffle
By mid-morning they were utterly exhausted. Some dragged their riffles behind them like unwanted tails. Others had taken off all they could for the heat. They were a sorry sight for defence officers. But right then it was more about survival than about dignity. They had to move on… “small steps to success.”
Finally, a few minutes to midday…they arrived at the base. They reached their destination. They succeeded.
So, you see, they took small steps of success throughout that hike. Together, they added up to hundreds of thousands of small steps. But they might have chosen not to take the first step. They might have stopped at any point along the way. That would have meant that they would not have gotten to their destination.
There were obstacles, frustrations, fears and uncertainties. But with each small step they were crushed.
There was hardship and danger, but with each small step and focus on the desired destination it was conquered. So you see, success is no mystery.
It takes only one small step to succeed.
As the Chinese philosopher Lao zi said: “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
Have you taken that one step? Are you going to overcome challenges till you reach your destination?
If your answer is yes, then you are on your way to success. Best wishes to all of you and have a great weekend ahead.