Ten Thousand Miles

A ten thousand mile journey
        Starts with one single step.     Lao Tzu

Since one mile is a bit more than one kilometre, one can assume without hesitation that a person would take two thousand steps for one mile.  This would mean it would take twenty million steps for a ten thousand mile journey.

Twenty million steps.  Imagine.  Most journeys have a destination.  Lao Tzu did not talk about it.  We can safely assume that it was not by mistake.  We all may have a destination but don’t know how to get there.

It seems most important to undertake the first step because without it any journey would never start.  Where to go when I don’t know how to start, which direction to go?

There are twenty million steps in front of me, admittedly, it would not matter if I waste a few steps, ten or twenty or even fifty?  Consider, two hundred thousand steps would only be one percent of the entire trip.

All important is the first step, and it seems entirely irrelevant, which direction one chooses.  If I don’t know in which direction to go, I may take as well the one I feel most comfortable with.

Usually, after a few steps, new insights arise, new discoveries reveal themselves, and one realises whether there is any progress towards the destination.  Then, a more targeted approach is possible, because now, I have an idea or at least some feeling.

For example: … if I believe I have to walk through the dessert, then, I could use several of the early few steps to go to the fridge to have a refreshing drink.

Concerning the overall situation, the twenty million steps, the small detour has no considerable impact at all, but it makes it much easier to overcome the hesitation and doubt that prevents me taking the first step.

At the start, there is no wrong direction.


Wolfgang Köhler
2 June 1992

Why ingeneer?
Want to know about ↓ All there is ↓?
▲  top