I bet you have heard about Dale Carnegie. And you probably have also heard about or read his ground-breaking best-selling book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Dale Carnegie was a writer and lecturer. He was also the developer of famous courses in self-development, corporate training, salesmanship, and public speaking.
And in this article, I’m going to share with you a simple, yet powerful principle practiced by Dale Carnegie to achieve his all successes in life.
We all know about the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, which was an international best-seller that has sold millions of copies worldwide and has also been translated into multiple languages.
But little did people know that the book did not originally start as a book.
In the beginning, Carnegie started off as a speaker and was prepared to give a short talk about how to win friends and influence people.
“I prepared a short talk. I called it ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People.’ I say ‘short.’ It was short in the beginning, but it soon expanded to a lecture that consumed one hour and thirty minutes.”
And after consistently giving his talk for some time, Carnegie started to discover that his students were discussing their experiences and also talking about some “rules” or “patterns” that they could implement in their lives.
Eventually, Carnegie improved his talk and made it into a course. And because it became a course, he needed to develop some textbooks or materials for his course. And that was how the idea of the book came about.
“We started with a set of rules printed on a card no larger than a postcard. The next season we printed a larger card, then a leaflet, then a series of booklets, each one expanding in size and scope. After fifteen years of experimentation and research came this book.”
This was how Dale Carnegie came up with the best-selling book that shot his reputation in the personal development industry to stardom.
Everyone can Achieve Great Success Through Starting Small
This story truly inspired me about how any ordinary person can achieve great success by starting small and growing.
Just like what Lao Tzu said:
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
And this is exactly the principle I want to share with you in this article.
No matter what goals or dreams you want to pursue, be it to lose weight or to achieve financial success, you can achieve what you want if you are willing to start small and grow.
In one of my previous articles, I mentioned the importance of starting small:
When you practice the principle starting small, it literally gives you an advantage because you require less time and energy up front.
Rather than focusing on achieving a big goal, you are putting all your energy onto something smaller that gives you immediate feedback, like how the minimum viable products work.
Plus, once you saw yourself made progress and achieved some victories, it gives you confidence and helps grows your momentum.
This is why Tony Robbins said that successful people have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed and the more they find ways to succeed.
On the other hand, if you are failing, there is a tendency that you will get on a downward spiral that will keep you falling and became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So, what should you do to adopt the principle of starting small? Here are a few tips you can follow:
1. Take one step at a time
You don’t have to eat the entire elephant at one go. You just need to start with one bite at a time.
No matter how big a goal or how huge a project, it can be done if you tackle one task at a time.
You just need to break down your goals into smaller actionable steps. The key is to turn your goals into an actionable plan so that you can work on them.
I have published a good article about this, you can read it below:
There is nothing wrong with setting big goals, but when it comes to getting things done, you must focus on doing just one thing at a time.
You don’t want to confuse your brain or give unspecific instructions that will paralyze you and lead to procrastination.
Hence, set yourself up to win by starting small and taking specific action steps.
2. It is going to take time
You have to understand that success is going to take time. It is not going to happen overnight.
If you are looking for quick success, I have bad news for you. Everything takes time to build. Rome was not built in a day.
And in order to persist over the long-term, you must have a sustainable game plan.
Yes, you should work hard, and you should take massive action, but at the same time, you must also consider your own capability.
Do you think it is a wise plan to work 20 hours a day and sleep for just 4 hours?
Well, I believe that as human beings, we all needed time for different things. Weekends are there for a reason.
Success is a marathon and not a sprint.
Hence, if you are running a marathon like running a 100 meters sprint, you’re going to lose because you will run out stamina. It is not about how fast you can go, it is about how consistent you can be.
Unless you are tackling a short-term project or task, success requires you to be in it for the long-term.
3. You must be consistent
As I have mentioned above, it is about being consistent. Success is not about what you do once in a while, it is about what you do every day.
Imagine if you want to lose weight. Do you think that you will be able to lose 5kg just by hitting the gym only once?
No. It takes weeks and even months.
You can’t expect to work hard for one day and you’ll be successful. That’s not going to happen.
If you look at all the extraordinary people who have accomplished amazing results in their lives, they didn’t get there in days or weeks. It took them years.
The Korean singer, PSY who made it popular through his hit song, Oppa Gangnam Style, didn’t make it in one go too.
The song was released in 2012, but PSY started his career as a singer since 2002. It took him a decade to release Oppa Gangnam Style that skyrocketed his career.
Thus, be consistent my friend.
Don’t expect results to come that fast. Stick with your plan and work on your goals until you achieve them. And don’t give up.
4. Keep making progress
You have to keep making progress. No matter how fast or how slow you are, you need to keep making progress in order to move forward each day.
There is no point to take action today and tomorrow and then take a month’s rest.
You can’t do that. You need to make progress each day. No matter how small your effort, you must do something each day to get you to your most important goal.
Why? First, you want to maintain your momentum and motivation. Second, when you stop growing, you start dying.
Plus, you want to make it your habit too.
Like writing articles and building this blog. I make sure I do something related to this blog each day.
I write, I publish, I create Pinterest images, I update the Facebook page, I read books to keep myself updated, I also read other people’s blog posts, and just recently, I started to get involved in creating videos.
No matter what you do, you must make progress each day.
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”– Martin Luther King
5. Start small and build
You don’t have to always aim for big success. All you need to do is to take one small step at a time and grow.
Just like the concept of a minimum viable product, you start small and find out what are the things that are working, and then do more of it.
This was exactly how Dale Carnegie came up with his ground-breaking book.
It all started small, as a topic for his short talk. And then it became a full-length lecture. And he needed a textbook for his lecture, and so he created with printed rules on cards, then a leaflet, and then a series of booklets.
And the book didn’t happen overnight. After 15 years of consistent effort and improvement, Dale Carnegie finally published the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.
The key is that no matter what you want to achieve in life, and regardless of your goals, it all started with an idea in your head.
And you can always learn from Dale Carnegie, transforming and growing your idea into a dream, then a goal, then a plan, then a series of action steps, and then take action and produce the results you want.
It all started with one step at a time.