How to Climb A Ladder

Say you want to climb a tall ladder. Here's the worst way to go about it: refuse to move until you find a way to teleport yourself straight to the top.

You have to take small steps. You put your foot on the first rung, check your balance, hold on tight, then push yourself up to the second rung. Then you put your foot on the next rung, check your balance, hold on tight, and push yourself up again.

Repeat however high you want to climb. Small amounts of progress add up.

Skipping a rung is foolhardy. Just focus on the next rung. Then the next.

Here's why this is important: every skill is a ladder. There's no shame in starting at the bottom. That's just how it works.

If you want to climb the ladder, you have to put your foot on the first rung.

Published: April 27, 2015 Last updated: April 27, 2015

I Enjoyed This Post
Read more essays by Josh Kaufman →

The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

The #1 International Bestseller, Revised & Expanded. A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then go out into the world and make your own. More →

The First 20 Hours

How to Learn Anything… Fast!

A practitioner's guide to rapid skill acquisition. Accelerate your learning by deconstructing complex skills, practicing the most important elements first, and removing barriers to deliberate practice. What do you want to learn? More →