Learn to Crawl Before Trying to Run

People are incredibly impatient when it comes to reaching their goals.

So impatient, in fact, that the moment they’ve even decided upon a goal for themselves they wish it was already accomplished.

Being impatient is perfectly human. It’s the reason you get in line at the shortest checkout lane in the grocery store. It’s the reason you use the fast food drive-through.

Unfortunately, it’s also the reason you give up on your goals so quickly.

In this article, I’ll be discussing the importance of patience when it comes to reaching your goals.

How many times have you taken something you’ve never done before and immediately wished you were an expert at it? I’ve done this countless times:

  1. I wish I could play magnificent piano pieces without taking lessons.
  2. I wish I could dance like a professional without having to learn.
  3. I wish I could create awesome drawings without having to practice.

How many times, though, have you taken something you’ve never done before and immediately became an expert at it? In this instance, I can’t think of a single thing.

That’s because the process of learning, experimenting, and even struggling is necessary before you can achieve anything. You don’t become an expert at something just by wanting to — you need to earn it.

This holds true all the way back to your infancy. Think about it — as a newborn child, you knew absolutely nothing. Tasks you do every day now, like walking, seem so simple you’ve probably forgotten that you ever even needed to learn how to do it.

So now that you’re grown up, you tend to rush into things without taking the time to learn how first. Your desire to fulfill your goal quickly often causes you to skip the learning process, as if it’s a waste of your time. That’s why when I listed my wishes above, I emphasized how I wanted something without working to earn it:

  1. Play piano without taking lessons.
  2. Dance without having to learn.
  3. Draw without having to practice.

This is what separates wishes from goals. Wishes are things you want without having to work for them. Goals are things you consciously strive towards, aware of the steps involved in earning them.

Before you could learn to walk, you had to learn to stand. Before you could learn to stand, you had to learn to crawl. Yet when it comes to your goals today, you want to take off running without learning to crawl first.

What you’ve forgotten is what happens when you skip that step: You fall.

And once you’ve fallen, you’re exactly where you were before you started.

So remember, goals take time to accomplish. Start where you are, assess what step comes next, then take it — and don’t ever give up.

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4 Responses to “Learn to Crawl Before Trying to Run”

#1 Dan on 02, Jul, 2007 at 11:19 am

Good points all around.

#2 Shaun Boyd on 02, Jul, 2007 at 8:23 pm

So glad to hear you think so. Thanks for commenting. 😀

#3 Patrick Allmond on 18, Jul, 2007 at 9:21 pm

I believe that impatience can be a good thing. If you are not impatient then it gives you some drive to work harder to get things.

For example: If you are impatient with learning to play piano that should drive you to spend any spare time you have reading more about music, or piano theory, or learning to read music. As a matter of fast there is nothing wrong with a goal becoming a mini obsession.

The people obsessed with their goals are the only ones that are achieving them.


#4 Shaun Boyd on 20, Jul, 2007 at 9:40 am

@Patrick Allmond
I don’t agree on all of your points. Though I agree it’s true that impatience can be a good thing, I don’t agree that the only people achieving their goals are the ones obsessing over them. People who have a true desire to achieve their goals will — and true desire does not equate with obsession. A man obsessed with creating a perpetual motion machine will not achieve his goal, he will just let his life fall to pieces in his pursuit.

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