the smallest part of the whole

If you’re learning a new, complex, skill, you’ll fail a lot.
This is normal. 
But if you want to accomplish something and understand the behaviour and the mechanics behind your topic, you might want to reduce it to the small viable part that executes it.

For example, say you want to learn how to tackle complex problems with your husband you might not want to start with your big issue, but with a small issue. Reduce the stakes so that even if you fail it won’t be a problem.

This way you can test, fail and refine, and only after you mastered the smallest part, you go up higher.

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