We all love to hear people's 'big break' stories. From Justin Bieber escaping YouTube obscurity to become a global star to entrepreneurs whose business took off after a celebrity mention, tales of breakthrough moments give us all hope that one day we might experience a similar stroke of luck.

But is your obsession with these tales of instant stardom actually holding you back? That's the interesting contention of a post by author Jeff Goins that appeared on Medium recently.

"These days--perhaps more than ever with the relentless rise of breakout tech startups and the ease of starting an online business--we're still obsessed with the leap," he writes. "We assume great careers happen because one extraordinary person makes a big bet that pays off. That's not how it actually works most of the time."

Baby steps beat one giant leap.

What's the problem with admiring bold leaps into success? In short, it often holds us back from doing the sort of things that really might make us successful in the long run. We're so busy scanning the horizon for big opportunities that we don't start tackling the small tasks that would add up to huge accomplishments.

"Most people think that in order to start something great, they've got to go big. But that's not true. Every day, people pursuing their dreams make this mistake. They shoot for the moon without taking the first step. And as a result, they fail," Goins warns. "Everything from yoga to auto mechanics takes practice. And the more you work at it, the more effortless it will become. Habits make everything easier and each of us better."

His post delves into the science of why this might be so, as well as offering real life examples of entrepreneurial heroes who appeared to have a 'big break' when in actuality they were slogging it out for years before they became household names. It's definitely worth reading if you spend time pining after a 'big break' or a 'career leap,' but there are also plenty of other experts who make similar points to Goins.

Blogger and entrepreneur Mark Manson, for instance, frames the question a little differently. We often feel shame for being unable to make some sort of big life leap, he says, which makes it even less likely we'll change. His prescription is the same as Goins, however -- just get started with small actions. You'll feel like a winner and the baby steps will eventually get you somewhere awesome.

Who is another surprising believer in the slow-but-steady route to success? Even dramatic risk taker Richard Branson tells would-be achievers to think less about single game-changing actions and more about accumulating small wins.

Do you agree that many people put too much emphasis on finding their 'big break'?

Published on: May 12, 2016
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