To be a Taoist means many things to many people. To be a practitioner of Contemporary Taoism simply means to have realised that we are all minute parts of an indescribably large Whole (the Tao), and to choose therefore to 'Flow Like Water' and live in a spontaneous, natural manner. This blog is about: Personal Growth / Spiritual Development as guided by the principles of Eastern Philosophy, particularly modern philosophical Taoism; Developing constructive habits and achieving success with minimal effort; Meditation - Taoist, Zen or otherwise. See 'What In Lao Tzu's Name is a Contemporary Taoist?'

Monday, April 09, 2007

One Thing First Thing

I was feeling uninspired as I was skimming this mostly lackluster article, about throwing your future a lifeline, when I came across this suggestion:

"Every single day, do one tiny doable thing to make that future happen, and do it the very first thing."

What a great idea!

Now I have long believed that doing all those little things adds up, not that I have always practiced it, but I really like this idea of doing one thing - for yourself and your future - first thing. It could be quite a challenge couldn't it? For example, tomorrow I "have" to get up and go to work really very early indeed. What could I possibly do before 6:30am to get myself to where I want my life to be in the future?

Well, this of course may make some Tao-types and Zen-types smirk. "Spending today wanting to be somewhere in the future is missing the point of Tao/Zen!" I hear you cry. Well, yes ... and no. It depends on your mindset. If you are totally cool with where you are today (even if by means of rationalisation!) then spending time and effort working for tomorrow makes perfect sense. I am sure the worker ants in that fable were happy as they worked all summer to prepare for winter.

Anyway, this is not the main point of this post. All I really wanted to do was comment on how interesting the idea of doing something first thing, no matter what, specifically to advance your life towards a desired future outcome is. I think it is a very interesting strategy. I also know that I do it all the time. I often start out by planning a number of 'personal' tasks that I will squeeze into my working day, tasks that are centered around achieving my long term life goals.

I also often exercise in the morning first thing before work, although not as often as I should! This is something that moves me to where I want to be in the future - fit and healthy! Or sometimes I write short stories on the train. Again, moves me towards my desired future life as a fabulously wealthy author :-)

But although I think doing "one thing first thing" it is a very good idea if you don't feel you are getting enough done each day to get you to your desired future, in the end it is never going to be enough.

That's why I always like to choose at least five things. I have a few areas in life in which I want to achieve things: a couple of main career goals, health goals, relationship and happiness goals, money goals, and social responsibility goals.

If I just do one thing each day and then spend the rest of the day simply subsisting, then I will never get it all done. If I do AT LEAST one thing from each category above then I will be like somebody who is making a concerted effort to save money, one day I will look at my bank statement and go "Hey! Smooth going, dude, way to go ... rolling in it!"

Flow Like Water...

Check out my Contemporary Taoist print articles online at LivingNow magazine's website.

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Anonymous Angel said...

I am looking for a post I read a while ago and don't remember who blog was. I read a beautiful post about an American woman who was tracking in Tibet and came across a Buddhist monk.

The monk asked her what religion she was and she said she didn't follow any (atheist).

And the monk said: Ah! So you are a Buddhist...

And later she became an important female Buddhist in America.

Do you know this story or similar? Not sure if it is all correct.

I am really looking for it everywhere and cannot find it.

If you know please send me the link.

Many thanks

May you be happy, may you be well,

Angel (

3:56 am


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