Happy New Year. With so much to do and get ready for, I had this on my mind all weekend: You only control the beginning. Whatever comes next, comes.
Need an old philosopher guy to say it? Here’s Democritus:
Boldness is the beginning of action. But fortune controls how it ends.
Need a more modern philosopher to say it? Here’s Ryan Holiday riffing further on the idea, with a New Year’s bend too:
All we control are the beginnings of things. We control how we start. We control our first move. Whether we say hello to a pretty stranger, but not whether they reciprocate. We can make the pitch, or the apology, but fortune controls whether it’s accepted. We can plan the trip, but not if or when we arrive. We control this first minute of the long year ahead.
Whatever the big idea is for the long journey in front of us, all we control is the first step. We’re the only one who can take it. We’re the only one who controls whether or not we do.
To be clear, it’s not really just one step and done either. The journey is actually chock full of first steps. There’s a million beginnings on the way that will require similar efforts and courage. There’s also a ton of luck mixed in. We keep rolling the dice and the universe keeps showing us the numbers.
It’s a new year. If you needed a reason, use it. Do the thing. Get the journey started. Take the first step.
See Ryan Holiday’s Daily Stoic post, “Things Are Won At The Beginning” for more.