Poco a poco

Poco a poco

Life is often full of canto rodados (boulders) that stop us dead in our tracks. Those earthly problems threaten to absorb some or all emotional, physical and material resources. The meek play ostrich by sticking their head in the sand, thinking it will magically disappear; the mighty recoil in the shadow of the “procrastinator”—the Chief Constable of Manaña. A normal human reaction to being overwhelmed is to pretend it’s not happening or to delve in and tackle it in one go.

Regardless of the nature of the challenge, there’s a well-proven strategy for solving it. It’s called Poco a Poco and is based on the philosophy that moving glaciers is difficult, so move ice cubes instead! Basically, this means to “bite-size” a problem by breaking it into smaller pieces. These individual chunks are manageable and can be more easily examined for solutions on a “little-by-little” basis. This makes it possible to see a problem in different lights and to explore all different solutions. “Little by little does the trick,” declared Aesop, and he was absolutely right!

There is a caveat, however. Be sure you’re not left surrounded by lots of bits and pieces that don’t fit together! To avoid this remember to zoom out and look at the problem or situation from a broader view. This strategy moves us from our comfort level to a place where we normally don’t go. Those who like to fly high above a problem must parachute down, and those who dive instinctively into the details must take a helicopter up to 30,000 feet to see the bigger picture. Regardless of your inclination, remember the Peruvian proverb, “Little by little one walks far.”

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