If you made a show-reel of your life, chances are you’d show the hi-lites. – The day you graduated… that day you asked your partner to marry you, maybe the day you chose to jump off a bridge with a bungie cord strapped to your ankles, and let’s not forget the night you got to do tequila shots with that famous YouTuber.
Mundane actions aren’t very sexy, because what’s at stake is just a little bit of progress.
However, much like the idea of compounding financial interest, many forget that it’s the stacking of small crumbs of progress, that will eventually become the mountain that you set out to summit.
When we reach a goal, it’s usually not done with camera lights flashing and crowds applauding. More often it’s a point when we have placed one last little step across an imaginary finish line of what we were aspiring to achieve.
95% of our days are pretty mundane. You could go through a life where 95% of your days are void of real meaning, unless you are consciously maximising the use of these days. This means that as you close off each day, there has to be a concerted assessment, where you ask yourself what the most significant thing was that happened to you that day and how this will influence your life tomorrow. – If you do this, your days will become progressive. Most of us live day to day where the events of today have no bearing on the events of yesterday or tomorrow. This means that your trajectory will remain a flat curve without elevation… – But if you make a concerted effort to consciously build the one day on top of the next, even if it’s just a very small thing, you’re moving “onwards and upwards” (as they say in way too many movies).
It’s so easy to just let a day go and figure that you’ll try again tomorrow. Unless you get a sense of one day building an increment of progress towards a better day tomorrow, you may one day wake up and discover that you’re running out of time. Many get to a point where they look back on the years that have passed and ask themselves why nothing has changed in their lives.
The difference between light and dark is so small, but if you do something intentionally every day for let’s say 5 years, you can re-invent yourself over and over again and keep growing. You could pick a brand new “thing” and if you give it some time every day, who knows what you could achieve. Malcolm Gladwell speaks of the 10,000 hours. Jocko Willink speaks of the freedom you get when you hand the daily grind over to routines. Either way, you have to immerse yourself in the new subject matter and if you do this often enough, you’ll get somewhere… It is said that we’re either making progress or going backwards. Some would argue that standing still is at least not a regression, but I would argue that time is still moving forward and a stationary entity is in effect, moving backwards in relation to time.
What’s the take-away? – Look at the area’s of your life where you’re aiming for something worthy of your hi-lite reel. Realise that you need to make daily progress towards that goal by creating one tiny nugget of achievement which you will use to pave the way forward. A daily improvement of just 1% a day will see you progressing by 365% over the course of a year. (Thank you James Cleary from “Atomic Habits”) I would argue that these small wins are the cobbles that pave the road that then takes you to your own victory arch. We all want the big wins, but we forget that these are the sum of the hard-earned seemingly insignificant smaller wins. There may be days when you feel like you’re floundering. Those are the days when you need to remove the “I don’t feel like it today” thoughts and just resign yourself to executing – placing one step in front of another.
Keep moving forward!