Start Where You Are

Oct, 16 2020
1 Minutes

During the finals, the NBA's social media team shared this story:

It's the story of how Anthony Davis emerged from a small, poor, no name community in the South Side of Chicago, by leaning on a philosophy called "The Disciplined Life":

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

I thought that was calming. It's similar to the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.

It's a concept driven home in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People with the "Circle of Influence" (what you control) vs "Circle of Concern" (what matters to you) and the story of Gandhi:

Look at Gandhi. While his accusers were in the legislative chambers criticizing him because he wouldn’t join in their Circle of Concern rhetoric condemning the British Empire for their subjugation of the Indian people, Gandhi was out in the rice paddies, quietly, slowly, imperceptibly expanding his Circle of Influence with the field laborers. A groundswell of support, of trust, of confidence followed him through the countryside. Though he held no office or political position, through compassion, courage, fasting, and moral persuasion he eventually brought England to its knees, breaking political domination of three hundred million people with the power of his greatly expanded Circle of Influence.

If you're looking to embark on a difficult journey - maybe a career change, or a job hunt, or starting a business - it can feel deeply uncomfortable. If you're trying to change our society - fighting against systemic racism, or maybe building multi-generational institutions that improve your community - then the state of the world today might overwhelm you.

But in all cases, it's useful to remember:

Start where you are.

Use what you have.

Do what you can.