Some stories stick with you for life. When I was 11 years old, my teacher told our class a story about a banker who stole a few cents from many different bank accounts and for a long time nobody noticed because the amounts were so small. As time went on, he became a millionaire from the few cents that he kept accumulating over time. I cant verify the truth of this story, but I remember it nonetheless and I take out a great lesson of aiming for marginal gains. The power of small.
Everyone would like to succeed overnight. Be it in their career, getting in shape or being better at something. And because of this impatient desire to succeed, we try and take big steps only.
Its the small steps that count! Doing little things makes a big difference.
I always hear people say “I want to make it big!” without realising that big is made up of many smalls. There is still one cent in a million dollars. By focusing on the importance of the small margin, one can make steady progress to gradual big gains.
Don’t skip steps
Every step is important. We have become people who filter information ruthlessly. When we scroll down a newsfeed, we select what we want and skip past what doesn’t interest us. When we read instructions, we skip past steps and try and fill in the gaps with our own initiative.
When I assembled my children’s trampoline, I started off reading the instruction manual very carefully and followed it step by step. When I thought I got the hang of what was going on, I started doing my own thing. Then, it started getting hard to pull the springs in to place around the trampoline and I struggled because I was trying to do it the hard way without reading and following all the steps. I ended up very stiff the next day because I chose not to read the small details of the correct way to set it up.
Celebrate the win, no matter how small it may seem. Its the accumulation of small wins that add to a trophy cabinet full of achievements. At the end of your day, think about something that you consider a win and add it to your collection. Do the same tomorrow. At the end of the year you will have at least 365 celebrations.
Continuity of purpose
Starting one thing and then stopping and starting something else will not get you very far. You can not expect to see gains in anything, if you keep chopping and changing. Its okay to do various things, so long as there is a commitment made to finish what you start.
Look for the gaps
The margins for success are very small and they may seem difficult to find but they are there. Sky Cycling Team in Europe starting looking for small ways to improve their overall performance. They even researched what pillows would help them sleep better so they could be better rested before a race.
Hair grows very slowly. It doesn’t grow fast enough for us to physically watch it getting longer everyday. But every day, it does grow and after a few weeks, you can notice the difference.
If you want to do BIG things, break down your goals in to smaller bite size chunks. If you write songs, start with one a week and at the end of the year, you will have 52 songs (thats 4 or 5 Albums) – in one year!
Even if you have faith the size of a mustard seed [very small], you can say to the mountain “MOVE” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you! (Matt 17:20)