Do not skip steps?

中国日报网 2015-07-03 13:41



Reader question:

Do not skip steps?

Please explain this sentence, particularly "skip steps": We take on too much, skip steps, and often, as a result, we give up.

My comments:

To skip is to not do what you should do or normally do. Students, for example, sometimes skip classes to go to the movies – or for no bad reasons at all.

To skip steps, literally, is to take fewer steps than you have to or normally would. For instance, if it takes 9 steps to climb up a staircase and you take eight, you're skipping one step.

If the stair case is not steep and if you are agile, skipping one or two steps on a staircase is okay. It's something you would do, or probably even should do if you're in a hurry, like when you have to rush to another meeting – the third one, actually – in the morning.

Which brings us back to the point of discussion here – to rush, or not to rush?

We as modern people living in the city probably do take too much – too much work, too many tasks and too many goals to reach – and as a result we find ourselves in a hurry quite a lot.

We often have more tasks to complete than we have time for. So we have to rush through them, skipping steps in the process. The results, in consequence, are less than satisfactory. In the end, we give in and give up – giving up jobs and dropping goals altogether.

I think that's what the speaker meant by "We take on too much, skip steps, and often, as a result, we give up."

We give up because we eventually find that we're not very good at this and that. We're not very good because we skip steps, failing to do everything necessary in a step-by-step way.

Take Chinese calligraphy writing, for example. There are crash courses that promise to teach you that in a week. It takes a week for you to learn to hold the brush correctly perhaps but calligraphy in a week just doesn't happen. It doesn't work that way.

Take another example. Young players today can all jump and dunk the ball but lack in fundamentals. They cannot even dribble. The reason is simple. They have skipped steps – In the beginning, they haven't bounced the ball enough. They should have. They have tried to run before they can walk properly, in a way.

Dunking the ball looks much more glamorous than bouncing the ball. But their lack in fundamental skills such as bouncing the ball eventually set their careers back.

It is the same with any other skill learning. There is simply no skipping steps, no cutting corners in honing your skill, any skill.

Actually I have plenty of other examples to give but perhaps it is not necessary. You will learn when you learn, in real life. All in good time.

No skipping steps in learning life's lessons, either. Trying to teach too much by way of advice, you see, is itself a kind of skipping steps. It makes me feel like cheating you, you know.

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