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In July 1969, the Apollo 11 crewed lunar mission landed humans on the Moon for the very first time in our existence. With the help of many scientists, engineers, and technicians, three astronauts―Commander Neil Armstrong, Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin, and Pilot Michael Collins―accomplished something that up to that point only lived in our collective imagination.

It was Neil Armstrong who first set foot onto the lunar surface and proclaimed, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Indeed, the gravity of that spectacular historic event (pun intended) could hardly be overstated. It was one of those moments that not only sparked our interest in even further corners of the Universe, but also empowered us to believe that we can do anything if we set our minds to it.

So how do we take such a giant moon-reaching leap? One small step at a time.

But let’s be honest, patience is hardly the strong suit of an average 21st-century human being. With our attention spans significantly shortened by social media and the overall quick pace of modern life, patiently waiting for a cup of matcha latte at a coffee shop is sometimes too much to ask of us. Thank goodness for ordering on the go from an app, right?

If we never stand still, we risk not realizing we’ve fallen head-first into burnout. We risk spending little time with the person we loved so much before she suddenly passed away. We risk never having a chance to cross anything off our bucket list. Summer sunsets, autumn colors, winter wonderlands, and all the blooms of spring wait for no one.

Life is about moments of joy. If we rush through every day, never pausing for anything other than chores and responsibilities, we effectively shorten our lifespan. Whether we want it or not, one day we will be asked to leave this plane of existence, but haste only slips more precious time through our fingers, making our last farewell even more imminent.

Notice this: there would be no minute without a second and no hour without a minute. Small moments build a lifetime just like small pleasures add up to good mental health. So about that cup of matcha latte we mentioned before―maybe instead of nervously checking your watch you could smile at a stranger in line in front of you and potentially make a new friend while you’re waiting for the barista to prepare your beverage?

After all, human connection is the building block of our society. And how do we forge genuine bonds between one another? Simple acts of kindness will do the trick. For example, maybe that stranger at the coffee shop forgot their wallet. Could you lend a helping hand and pay for their brew? Empathy and kindness in the smallest measures go a long way and are highly inspiring. United we stand, divided we fall.

To go even deeper―we are all part of the same larger fabric of the Universe. We’re in this together and the existence of the world as we know it depends on the smallest of creatures. Look at the bees. They contribute so much to the biodiversity that is essential for our collective survival. Tiny little busy bees quite literally enable our existence because their pollination work sends a ripple effect around the entire globe making it possible for us to enjoy our matcha latte.

So bees make the world go round. Then what about us?

We always hear, “The bigger the better”, “Go big or go home”. And sure, shoot for the Moon, reach for the stars, the world is your oyster. But don’t you ever think that if your contribution is small it means it’s insignificant. Anything grand is composed of less impressive bits. It’s impossible to see single atoms with the naked eye, and yet, when combined, they create everything.

There are plenty of examples of how small actions lead to massive gains. If you apply for a role at your dream company with a no-job-is-too-small mindset, you will have a bigger chance of getting hired. If you start running 5 minutes a day and keep at it, eventually you will be able to run a marathon. As mankind, we performed a myriad of mini actions to land on the Moon. Those who underestimate the impact of small steps may lose the game.

One of Aesop's Fables illustrates this perfectly. A story titled The Tortoise and the Hare is about a boastful hare who challenges a slow-moving tortoise to a race. Predictably, the hare quickly takes the lead but becomes overconfident and takes a nap, assuming victory is assured. Meanwhile, the tortoise persistently plods along and ultimately wins the race, literally proving that slow, yet steady progress wins over arrogance and haste.

Rome wasn't built in a day, the Universe itself is still expanding. Small actions enabled mankind to start exploring the solar system and the sky ceased to be the limit. If you put one foot in front of the other with patience, who knows how far you are going to get? A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Take it. Maybe one day you will be the first human on Mars?

“We are stardust brought to life, then empowered by the universe to figure itself out—and we have only just begun.”

― Neil deGrasse Tyson

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