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“That’s one small step for man…” There is an algorithm in cryptography called the Baby-Step, Giant-Step. Now, I don’t really understand what this all means (if you like, you can read more on Wikipedia), but it got me thinking: Is it ever appropriate in life to take a baby step, and then a giant one? And I’m thinking that the answer is “yes.” Here are some times when I think it is appropriate:

  • The first step is one where you are untalented or unsure about your abilities, but the next step is something you’re used to. For example, maybe you need to call somebody new to set up a project. The project is a giant step, but you’re nervous about the phone call itself.
  • You take a few baby steps to determine if something will work out, and then take a giant step when you realize you know what you’re doing. For example, if you want to start investing, it doesn’t make sense to start off by investing a lot of money. But if it turns out that you’re pretty good at investing, then why not invest more?
  • It can help to break up the monotony. Baby steps feel safe, but they can be slow going. A big step every so often can feel exciting.
  • You have a deadline, and you won’t get there simply by taking baby steps the entire way.
  • You may be more alert at the time of the giant step. If you’re not a morning person, it might be easier to take baby steps in the morning, and then bigger steps when you’re more alert.