The Journey of a Thousand Miles

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Lao Tzu

There are various translations of this ancient Chinese saying that inspires people to begin their mostly metaphorical journeys. It’s the equivalent to the quote attributed to Walt Disney: “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” It’s hard to start a project. There is a lot of fear involved. People can get stuck in trying to create the perfect plan, which will probably get thrown out the window at the first sign of adversity.

It is important to get started on the journey, but the first step isn’t the only step you have to take. Depending on your height and leg length, a mile is equal to between 2,000 and 2,500 steps. That means a journey of a thousand miles will take between 2 and 2.5 million steps. If you have a FitBit or other device that can help you keep count, you’re ahead of the game as long as your journey is physical though you might be better off taking a car or plane.

 If you’re sticking to your own power, each step is a small move closer to your goal. Once the excitement and momentum of the first hour fades, you’ll need to keep your feet moving. When thirst and hunger hit, you’ll still have to keep going. When you look at the mileage counter and you’re still 800 miles from your destination you need to keep your courage and press onward.

The average person walks about 3 miles per hour, so it would take 333 hours to go a thousand miles. Each one of those hours is equally important. If you don’t put the work in, you won’t get to the destination. Hour 155 may seem tedious and boring, especially if the scenery is the same as it was for the last 40 hours, but you still have to get through it.

So, while the journey of a thousand miles does begin with a single step, it requires more than just that first push to get you to the end. Get started, keep going, and don’t quit until you’ve reached your destination.