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Japanese Proverbs: 塵も積もれば山となる

This proverb is for those that think their continual efforts won’t result in success:

塵も積もれば山となる (ちりもつもればやまとなる)
Chiri mo tsumoreba yama to naru

Mostly literally, it means specks of dust piled up will become a mountain. Interpreted, don’t underestimate the little things because they can add up! We can look at this from a negative and a positive connotation. Negatively, think of all those bad feelings you may have against someone, all those little jabs someone may have taken at you. They will build up over the course of time until it is so incredibly huge, you can’t help yourself but blow up and let the mountain of piled up stuff loose. We don’t want that, of course.

On the positive side, continual efforts to make changes in one’s life or to improve your career/status can really make a difference over time. Here’s an example most people can relate to: losing weight. You didn’t gain the weight overnight; it happened over the course of time through the influence of many small factors: food, lack of activity, poor health habits, etc. There’s your mountain. The process of losing weight is taking those “specks of dust” — those small bits of effort — and with consistency and commitment, creating the mounting slowly but surely.

There is something to be said for continued efforts and I hope that everyone realizes that you can’t expect an instantaneous miracle. You have to work at it, build and cultivate it… and then before you know it, you’ll be on top of your mountain. :)