In 45 BC, the Roman orator Cicero said “All things have small beginnings”.
As the greatest orator of his day, he had seen many great men have small and humble beginnings.
You see, Cicero also taught the future leaders of Rome how to speak to the crowds, and how by differing the cadence of their speech, they could inflect different meaning.
The motions they would make with their hands had specific meaning to the audience. By learning how to speak to the crowd, the emperors could elicit feelings of pride, joy, indignation, or resolve from their people. Cicero was not exactly a kingmaker, but he helped those who ascended to the governance be better leaders. All things have small beginnings.
How Do You Improve Your Stature in the World?
How does one become better at what they do? Showing up every day, chipping away at their lack of knowledge, chipping away at their lack of skill. All things have small beginnings.
I read the story of a person who started a daily blog. He told the story of how he celebrated when he got 100 visits in a day for the first time. How did that happen? He kept showing up. After a few years, his blog became one of the top 50k sites in the world. How did that happen? He kept showing up, and kept developing his business voice. People started to notice. One reader became two. Two became four. Four became eight. It takes persistence to build an audience. All things have small beginnings.
The Fighter is Against Yourself, Not Your Opponent
Tomorrow night in UFC, there’s a fight that’s third on the card, featuring a guy who is 37 and has never had a pro fight before, and a man who is 24 who has only had 2 fights before tonight. On the surface, this looks boring. But people were compelled to watch, because of the story.
Phil Brooks ascended to fame in pro wrestling, first by wrestling shows where only a few dozen people showed up, and then larger and larger shows. Eventually, he was called up to WWE, where management didn’t think he had what it took to be a main event star, but against all odds, he ended up being one of their most decorated and popular champions.
Then he left that profession to do mixed martial arts. His first fight took him two years to train for, and he is debuting when most fighters retire. It doesn’t matter if he wins or loses tonight, as the journey itself has been a victory. Persistence even in the face of criticism and long odds makes for a compelling story. All things have small beginnings.
Your Reward is the Work Itself
The truth is, the people who attain their goals are almost never the smartest, or fastest, or start off the richest. They are not usually the strongest, and do not have undue advantages. The people who attain their goals are simply those who refuse to quit early, the ones who show up every day, whether they want to or not, and put in the work, without promise of reward.
Hope is not a strategy. But hope is essential for us to strive to become the best possible version of ourselves. With persistence, and time, and the opportunity to shine, each of us can get a little closer to the individual dream we are chasing. Persistence is what turns something small into something great, something lasting, something worthy of showing up each day for.