I'll use an illustration a fellow Toastmaster once gave:
When we travel on our roads in Nigeria, we maneuver around the numerous potholes we see. Over time, we become experts at avoiding the potholes and become comfortable with seeing them daily and almost everywhere. But for each day we do nothing about the potholes, nature widens them for us. The rain, sunshine and occasional bump into them make them wider. Then one day they get so big that they turn a 3 lane road into a tortuous single lane road, and lead to accidents. And we are forced to pay them attention, and fix them after a lot of damage had been done and at a very high cost. While we could have avoided the human and financial tragedy if we had fixed them when they were just a fist wide.
We stood still and let the small potholes grow big to become an emergency. And it's almost the same thing we do about the roads in our lives. The roads of friendship, family union, career fulfillment, spirituality and personal development. We stand still and let the smallest issues grow into an emergency before we do anything.
The title for this post is taken from a Chinese quote which says, "Be not afraid of growing slowly, only be afraid of standing still." And there's a wealth of wisdom in that short statement. Nothing in life is meant to stand still. Even neurologists tell us that the nerves in our brain work on the principle of "use it or lose it". And we've got a great saying about life itself, "Life goes on." Relationships that aren't growing are dying. No middle ground. Whatever is not getting better is only getting worse.
The bulk of the problems we face in life are from the little things we stood still about and are surprised to see grow into an emergency. Like the mother of an armed robber who is sobbing uncontrollably and tearing herself apart at the news of the arrest of her only child; she must have stood still as the child was growing up. Or the man getting an emergency call at work about his wife's decision to file for a divorce; it must have begun as a small pothole.
As hard as it is to try to fix all the small issues in our lives, we shouldn't be afraid to try. Even going at them slowly. Especially the issues that surround the most important parts of our lives. The only thing we should be afraid of is standing still.