The first step in seeing your goals and dreams realized is to realize that there are steps to reaching those goals and dreams.
How’s that for a convoluted sentence?
A successful life is one that is lived in purposeful increments. Proverbs 13:4 says, “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.” (NLT) Some translations use the word diligent to describe those who find prosperity. Notice the proverb doesn’t say only Christians or religious people will prosper, or only those who pray a special prayer or live according to a secret formula—it specifically says those who work hard will prosper.
No Easy Prosperity Schemes Here
The kind of life that finds prosperity through hard work is what I call The Incremental Life. The Incremental Life isn’t sexy or exciting to outsiders, but it’s a life set up for success. The Incremental Life looks something like this:
- The Incremental Life has goals and dreams in mind—a destination.
- The Incremental Life has steps mapped out toward those goals—a plan.
- The Incremental Life has intentionality behind every step—a purpose.
- The Incremental Life has no excuses for shortcuts—a work ethic.
- The Incremental Life has counted and understands the costs—a budget.
Climb the Stairs
The Incremental Life is like the staircase of a tall building. Each small step is a mark of upward motion toward your ultimate goal. There can be dozens, hundreds, or thousands of steps between where you are and where you want to be, and getting there will sometimes wear you out and wear you down.
There are landings all along the way, each one with a door that opens up to a new floor to explore. You can choose to stop and explore that floor, but should you? Is there something of worth behind that new door? Will you be distracted or delayed in reaching your final destination on time?
Why take the stairs instead of the elevator? You have far greater appreciation for what’s been achieved because it wasn’t easy. You didn’t take the easy way of staying on always-level ground and pushing a button that magically did all the work to lift you up while you stood still. You moved higher only through determination, focus, and effort. Even if you had to stop and rest along the way, even if you went back down a few steps because you dropped something, or even if you had help now and again, you can say you walked every step from the bottom to the top.