Baby Steps

baby steps

One of my go-to comedies, a movie that never fails to make me laugh and always helps me have an attitude adjustment, is What About Bob? with Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss.

The book, Baby Steps, figures prominently in the plot. Baby Steps outlines Dr. Leo Marvin’s (Dreyfuss) therapy to help his clients overcome their fears. Bill Murray plays Bob Wiley, a multi-phobic sufferer who baby steps his way back to health, with many laughs on the way.

When life seems to be out of control–a task seems too big to tackle, a problem too complex to figure out, a heartache too big to hold–I watch What About Bob?

The takeaway for me is to remember to take baby steps.

Some of the problems we face as a society today seem to be a Gordian knot: how can we start to sort it all out and figure out where the ends of the ropes are, when we are at the end of our rope?

Bills, the job situation, tight credit, low (or zero) interest rates on our savings if we are lucky enough to have savings, government spending, lack of leadership, taxes, health care, national debt, rising costs of food and other necessities, family problems, job problems. In the maelstrom that is our world, we are trying to live our lives, enjoy our time on this planet, and help others do the same.

In the chaos, we need to remember this: baby steps. A little progress everyday when possible. Baby steps. Avoid discouragement when life is one step forward and two steps back. Baby steps. Prevent paralysis by focusing on what we need to do right now, this very instant. Baby Steps.

From Bil Keane, the late Family Circus cartoonist, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”

All we have is the now, so why fret about what happened because we can’t change the past, or worry about what might happen in all of the future’s mind-boggling possibilities.

Dale Carnegie, the father of modern self-improvement, wrote, “As a ship has compartments that can be sealed to prevent water in one compartment from flooding another, so too do we need to seal off the past and the future. We cannot live one moment in either of those eternities and to try to so do could ruin both our minds and bodies. We can be content to live the only time we possibly can–today.”

Carnegie suggested that we live in “day tight compartments” in order to live in the now, to live the gift of the present. Only then can we focus on what we need or want to do in this moment.

That is the gift. That is the present. Baby Steps.

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