If someone were to offer you either a) 1 million dollars instantly, or b) 1 cent doubled everyday for the next 30 days, which would you take?
Let me help you out with the math for the second offer. If you had taken it up, you would be all of $5.12 richer after Day 10. Feeling a little rueful already for not taking the million-dollar offer instead?
But wait, persevere on. After Day 20 of doubling, you’d have earned about $5,243. Not exactly a million dollars, but at least it’s still a decent consolation, considering you started off on a single cent.
We aren’t finished though. This is where things get interesting. Ten more days of doubling, and boom… a whopping $5,368,709.12! That’s over FIVE million dollars for consistently doubling the amount each day for 30 days! What just happened there?!
The above illustration tells us something—that BIG results don’t necessarily involve a drastic moment of herculean effort, but even more powerfully, come from small but consistent actions carried out over a period of time.
Frighteningly, this can work both ways, negative and positive. For example, we may not find ourselves waking up terribly unfit after one day of gobbling down fast food for all three meals. Neither do we develop well-defined abs overnight by somehow completing 200 crunches in a day!
However, all it takes is one meal of fast food each day for a couple of months, or 20 crunches a day over the same period for effects to start showing, if ever so slowly. Add another year or two to that, and you can only imagine the result!
What if we apply this concept to various aspects of our lives? Our leadership? Our career? Our family? Our health?
Rather than focus on making huge improvements or seek dramatic solutions that we believe would give us success in these areas, such as attending pricey motivational seminars or purchasing all sorts of online coaching programmes hoping for transformational outcomes, what if we embark on doing something small on a consistent, continuous basis, which given time, will deliver even more powerful results?
For the latter to happen, we need to start looking at the things we do daily. What drives them? Our habits. Habits are the stuff that we regularly do naturally, and almost unconsciously. Checking our email. Surfing our social media accounts. Browsing the news. Without fail, we perform these actions day after day. How do such habits form?
I love how a saying I once heard in a talk puts it:
Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”
True, isn’t it? If we trace our habits to their roots, they all begin as thoughts. For big, positive results to happen then, we need to start being thoughtful of what we are doing. Instead of living each day on auto-pilot, we need to make wise, conscious decisions to do the small things that will eventually deliver the spectacular impact that the one-cent doubling example demonstrates.
What habits are you practising today? Be mindful of them and do a stocktake. If something doesn’t align with what you want to achieve, no matter how trivial it may seem, eliminate it and replace it with something equally trivial that does. It may be deleting a time-sapping game from your phone and downloading educational audiobooks to listen on your commute. It may be getting rid of an hour of TV time every night and waking up an hour early each morning for a brisk walk.
Zig Ziglar often repeated, “You are what you are and where you are because of what has gone into your mind. You can change what you are and where you are by changing what goes into your mind.”
Are you ready to change what goes into your mind and let them form good habits that will give you staggering results in time to come? Are you prepared to make wise little decisions each day that will lead you to rise above mediocrity and into the echelons of success?
The sooner you start, the sooner that moment will come!
Check out The Habit Tracker printable template that can help you establish positive daily habits!