Like reading Thackeray edited by Elmore Leonard

Big Dreams, Small Steps

I have just been looking at magazines and catalogues with autumn fashions. They are beautiful, elegant, colourful - and fit very elegant and slender people, which is a great incentive to loose several pounds. The big clue to losing weight is simple - eat less. I usually eat pretty wisely, just more than I need.

The last four or five days I lost a pound. Really a pretty small achievement, but I felt ridiculously encouraged by it. I am going the right way, I am in control of something! I intend to stay in control, at least most of the time.

Why on earth does that matter? Because so often we do not try something fearing we will fail. And at that point, we have made failure a certainty.

If we do try, over and over again, we might still fail, but the chances are high that we will succeed. Should we settle for second best? That depends. Second best on a world level, we may have too, or even third or fourth best. But never second best to what you could have actually achieved.

One pound! Not exactly a great victory, but it is encouraging. Now I believe I can do it, in fact I have proved I can. If I don’t do it, it would be my fault for giving up too soon.

I just had to re-write 124 pages of manuscript. I am so fed up with doing this bit, re-doing it, and then a third time, a fourth time and so on. I should be looking at it with gratitude that I have the time and the chance, and the advice so when I send it, it really is the very best I can do. May be I am whistling in the dark, but I think it is - now.

I used to think that the idea of a “life coach” was a bit ridiculous, even self indulgent. But that rather depends on what you mean by “life coach”. Perhaps, a “really good friend” who will give you the advice that may be you really don’t want to hear, but need to: who believes that you can do it - whatever it is - who doesn’t lose patience with you, or give in to you, and above all, who encourages you.

Why do we leave people to struggle on their own so often, when a word of belief in them would make so much difference? How much failure is really a failure of confidence? How often do we stop trying, worn out by the effort and disappointment, when without realising it, we were only yards from the goal?

We travel similar paths, in essence the same one, but so very separately. If you don’t know what failure is then perhaps you are not attempting anything very difficult? How tragic! We are all worth more than that. Look at the paralympians. What courage over pain, disability, disappointment, failure, broken dreams! What superb triumph? What conquest of the spirit!

We all need dreams - big ones - giant ones. Every step forward merits acknowledgment. We should encourage each other, all success matters. It may be only one pound lost, or one yard in the race accomplished.

A word of kindness enlarges us all.

Congratulations on your successes, whatever they are. Have a good September.