“start where you are, use what you have, do what you can”

(~Arthur Ashe)

It sounds so simple. Well, most useful advice sounds simple.

Simple, but not easy. Because the thing is, most of us do not want to start where we are. We’d like to start a little further along the path, if possible.

It’s not that we aren’t willing to put in the work. We know you have to work to achieve a goal, and we’re totally willing to work.

We’d just prefer it if the work were a bit easier. Or if we were a bit better at it.

Like, when you first start playing an instrument and you practice and you practice and you do this for a whole two weeks, and yet you’re nowhere near as good as you want to be.

This is okay. This is where you’re starting.

And so, this is where you start.

And then…use what you have.

Which might not be exactly what you want to have.

You might want to work out for an hour a day, but simply don’t have the time. That’s okay. Can you carve out twenty minutes for a jog?

You might not have a desk or an office, but can you claim a corner of the kitchen table for a while each day to write?

You might not have what you want to have, but you do have something.

Which is exactly what you should use.

You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. (~Zig Ziglar)

And finally…do what you can.

Look, if you haven’t laced up running shoes since tenth grade, you probably aren’t going to run Boston the first time out. The first time you pick up a trumpet you’re probably not going to play Haydn’s Concerto. Your first canvas is probably not going to give Da Vinci a run for his money.

But even if you can’t run a marathon today, you can probably manage a walk.

And don’t get me wrong – having a goal is absolutely fantastic. But if we’re too focused on what we want to achieve in the future, and don’t have the patience to work now to develop the skills we need to achieve it, we’ll never get there.

Focus on what you can do, now, and do it. And when you do that, you make progress. Day by day, and bit by bit.

Doing what you can with what you have.



“Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” (~Arthur Ashe) “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” (~Zig Ziglar)

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