“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.”
― Mark Twain

Whenever I feel that I have stated what needs to be stated, wished what needs to be wished and done what needs to be done, I consult Mark Twain. No, he doesn’t have an email address that I can use, and I can’t ask him to meet me for a cup of tea. While I wish that I could do either, I am limited to reading and learning from what he wrote.

This quote appealed to me, primarily because of the time of year. It’s time to send holiday cards, wrap presents and send them to distant locations. On a business level, it’s also the moment for renewing vital contacts, updating web copy and scanning the literary landscape for opportunities.

The challenges, as Mr. Twain observes, are associated with taking the first small step on a long journey. This reluctance is often present in the classroom, particularly with those students who have themselves set up for inability. Quite often, I’ll hear such remarks as, “I don’t like to read,” “I’m awful at math,” or “Why do we need to study social studies anyway?”

And as I’ve observed elsewhere, the disruptive students often display their worst behavior traits when faced with scholastic frustrations. For the sake of practicing what I direct, I find myself beginning the difficult tasks one card or present at a time, feeling victorious at each completion.

Most of us have lists (visible or not) of the accomplishments that we need to accomplish this season. Unlike those shoppers who wait until the last possible half hour to select and secure a gift, I find greater gratification in being well ahead rather than disastrously behind. Begin with those actions that you can easily complete. You will wondrously discover that the more formidable tasks will shrink in size and you will soon have everything finished. Shalom.

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