A journey of a thousand miles viewed ahead looks difficult if not impossible, but if you only think of the next few steps, then the next few yards or the next mile, then the journey becomes easier to think about rather than put the full journey in perspective.
The principle of the next mile was believed to be the reason the American prisoners of war survived during the Burma war and were able to trek for 140 miles in very terrible conditions from Burma to India. They only thought of the next mile and the closest village etc.
In practical terms
Rather than look at issues in their totality or where you need to be, it is better to break the long term plan down into small pieces and then gradually move to complete the next assignment or project, one step at a time. This way of thinking allows us to understand the importance of not being overwhelmed by tough and daunting tasks. All difficult tasks or projects can be broken down into manageable steps.
So next time you are faced with a difficult task, rather than look at the end game and be overwhelmed by the prospect of the whole project, break the project down into small manageable pieces and then start to tackle each step or process and tick them of your list. Planning and setting goals are just as important for the overall success of the principle of the next mile.
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This principle also allows you to achieve celebrate small goals on your way to the more substantial achievement