Every Step Forward is Two Steps Backward

This is just not a catchphrase or a short tale of a frog trying to climb out of water well but a fact. As the story goes that for every two steps the frog climbed, it fell back by one step, thus making its progress arduous. It is a situation which occurs more than often with everyone.  Every time you make an attempt to make progress in a task, an actual retrograde performance is achieved.
On most occasions, we think that we have taken every possible step to further on the path of success but when the realization comes that we have just come two steps backward, the path of success seems all the more difficult. A situation like this may either make or mar the zeal of achieving success.
Take a simple instance- A person observing a fast always feels that he is on the path of achieving self restraint and he has taken a step further in the process of achieving salvation but on most occasions he fails to do so. The reason being that fasting could be considered as a powerful weapon of restraint but at the same time it can be a means of indulgence as well. In other words, fasting may make you keener about food, its taste and may increase your appetite for the next time you eat. Thus, you take one step forward i.e. you take up fasting to achieve self restraint but in reality you take two steps backward in the process i.e. increasing your appetite and making your taste buds stronger the next time. This example is true and in lieu with Mahatma Gandhi’s similar instances of fasting in his book- ‘My Experiments with truth.’
It is impossible for a human to achieve success without actually falling back two steps every time when they think they have gone a step further. Take another example- you have taken a decision that you will not marry according to your parent’s whims and fancies and will take all the crucial decision about the same on your own. Good! But won’t you ever criticize your decision at any point of time? Can you give me the guarantee that every time when you will fight with them on this matter, you will never feel that you are wrong? Thus you will take one step further on the path of personal independence but your thinking will bring you two steps backward every time when you criticize your decision.
We can’t blame you or anyone for this but this is a human tendency. To achieve something is not so easy in life. Until and unless, you are hell bound on what you exactly want in life and have a proper action plan in mind, success will seem to be the most difficult task in most cases.
The former President of India and our dearest scientist APJ Kalam also didn’t get success in one shot. For those who have read Kalam’s remarkable autobiography ‘Wings of Fire’ might know that the launch of missile ‘Agni’ was not successful in the first two attempts. He had to go through a good amount of media criticism for this. Eminent newspapers with its eminent cartoonist made fun out of the whole Agni Project. Not only this, even at the time of presenting the proposal for this project in front of the Defense Minister, Kalam was contemplating as to whether he was neglecting his family commitments and obligations as he was not able to attend his niece’s wedding. Thus even he faced the similar phenomenon that every step forward has two steps backward. Therefore, it depends on the individual as to how he takes every step. Like in the case of Kalam who kept walking on his path without bothering about the failures and the world and finally succeeded in his dream of making India, a technologically self reliant country.
Same is the story of Kiran Bedi who is the first women officer in the Indian Police Service. Even she had to struggle a lot in life before she actually achieved her aim that is to serve the society and fight against corruption. She had to give up her marital life for the same reason. Even she faced two steps backward (in terms of her marital life) every time she took one step ahead in her career. It’s nothing else but her strong inner will that always motivated her to achieve her aim and finally she did succeed in that.
As a matter of fact, what we see as two steps backward in a way makes you closer to the next possible step and deepens your understanding of the factors which can ultimately lead you to the path of success. Had it not been the realization of the meaning of true fasts, Mahatma Gandhi would not have been able to perform Satyagraha in the most successful manner. Had it not been Kalam’s consistency towards his dream project Agni, he would not have been able to achieve success even after the two consecutive failures.
You might know the story of the famous Sanskrit Grammarian Panini who wrote the book Ashtadhyayi which standardized Sanskrit Grammar and Phonetics. When he was child, he got abuses and beatings from his teacher as he was not able to recollect anything despite of studying all throughout the day. Once his teacher told him that he doesn’t have an Education line (Vidya Ki Rekha) in his hand, this made the little Panini really disappointed miserable. Ordinarily this might break any individual’s strong will but Panini was different from others. He didn’t give up, instead he cut his palm to make the education line and took a pledge that he will show the world that he can study. Some years down the line, he was able to do so and in fact became the very famous Sanskrit Grammarian whose works in the field of Sanskrit are well remembered. Thus Panini is a remarkable example to show that it’s the zeal towards the goal which matters and not the number of steps taken to achieve it.
It is not the story of that frog, or great leaders like Gandhi or Kalam, or scholars like Panini, but in fact, it is the story of every common man. Name one person who says that success was easy task for him/ her or one step and he/she achieved success. It entirely depends on you as to how you walk the two steps forward again and take a new successful step every time. It is as simple as that that a child who is learning to walk falls many times. He takes one step and he is not able to take another step for another ten minutes but still he keeps on trying until he learns to walk properly. No one forces the child to do so but the inner will of that small child motivates him to stand on his legs. The same goes with us also.
It’s the end that matters and not the number of step that you take to reach to that end matters. Thus I would like to conclude with what Kalam said, ‘With faith, you can change your destiny.’ So even if one step forward is two steps backward, it’s the constant walking and faith in you aims that finally leads to success.

Avani Jain

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