Zig Ziglar, a legendary motivational speakers tells a story of the day he visited the Washington monument. As he and his party approached the historic landmark,he heard a guide announcing loudly that there would be a two-hour wait to ride the elevator to the top of the monument. However, with a broad smile on his face, the guide then added, “There is no one waiting to go to the top if you are willing to take the stairs.”
Love this story! At a stroke, it captures in a word picture the idea that there’s “no crowd at the top” — and it’s not crowded because most people are content to wait for elevators rather than taking the harder, route and climbing the stairs.
Climbing the stairs isn’t easy and it isn’t fast. It’s the way of the tortoise, not the hare. It’s the “road less traveled,” that Robert Frost spoke of. It’s the steady, relentless march toward a goal, a destination.
Are we willing to “take the stairs,” when it comes to our craft and our creative life? Let’s ponder for a moment what this might mean for us:
Taking the stairs shows that we are willing to do the hard work and put in the time to improve and grow.
Taking the stairs means that we are willing to tackle our writing challenges day after day, content to climb a few stairs at a time.
Taking the stairs says that we are OK when an elevator zips past us and other people seem to have it easy.
Taking the stairs gives us the chance to do the revising—the re-envisioning—that can potentially turn good into great.
Sometimes taking the elevator makes sense. But if we are willing to take the stairs, to take the slow, steady approach to doing our work, then we’ll find that when we do get to the top, it’s soul-satisfying and not that crowded, because most people are still downstairs waiting for the elevator. Write on!
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