The problem is you are looking for “hacks” that will get you the results you want as fast as possible and with as little work as possible.
We’ve all been caught up in the loop of starting a new project, business, relationship, learning a skill, or starting a positive habit only to fall back flat on our face.
“Habits don’t change in a day. But 1% a day makes every habit work.” — James Altucher
You want to be an author, what 1% daily improvement are you doing with your writing.
You want to be fit, what 1% daily improvement are you doing with your body.
You want to be an athlete, what 1% daily improvement are you putting into your practice.
We live in an instant result world where we think we can transform our lives at the snap of a button. But in reality, it doesn’t happen like that.
Life is a series of steps that need to be climbed one step at a time. Not once. Quit trying to transform your life at once.
It was Socrates who said: “Just as one person delights in improving his farm, and another his horse, so I delight in attending to my own improvement day by day.”
Improvement is a gradual process. And the compounded result of it is what shows as a transformation to the outside world.
What 1% incremental improvement can you add to your life every day?
I found myself in a situation not quite long ago after telling myself that I want to focus on speaking less and practice listening more. Each time I fail at it, I despise myself. But then, I say to myself Rome wasn’t built in a day so just keep at it and you will get there.
Rather than doing a total transformation of your life today or tomorrow, why not focus on getting 1% better on whatever it is you’re trying to improve. That’s it. Just 1%.
The truth is 1% daily improvement is all you need to transform your life. But because you are always in a rush, you overlook the basics.
John Wooden was right when he said:
“When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. When you improve conditioning a little each day, eventually you have a big improvement in conditioning. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens — and when it happens, it lasts.”
I remember when I started out writing on Medium, I wanted my writing to be like that of Thomas Oppong, Gustavo Razzetti, Srinivas Rao, and the likes. However, if you look at these people, their writing didn’t start out perfect like that. A constant improvement over time is what got them to where they are with their writing.
My first writing was terrible to the extent that I had less than six views, one read, and zero claps. Through constant improvement, my writing changed, and gradually, I began to see the benefit of 1% daily improvement in my writing.
Everything is a process.
The truth is nothing happens instantaneously in our lives.
Success happens as a result of compounded good daily actions. Failure happens as a result of compounded bad daily actions. But they are never instantaneous.
Our success and failure are what reveals what our daily actions have been whether we’ve put the 1% daily improvement to use or not.
Everything is a process which is why you need to put the 1% daily improvement to use all the time.
Our art is a process.
Our relationship is a process.
Our business is a process.
Our life is a process.
Why? Because there is no end to any of these. They are continuous irrespective of whether you get it right or not. So stop focusing on the end result and start paying attention to the process.
What you can only achieve is mastery. And when we say someone has mastered their craft, art, or work. What we are alluding to is their ability to grasp, and then fine-tune the finer details that encompass the palette of their vocation to produce remarkable results writes Eze Onukwube.
Self-improvement isn’t a destination because you’re never done. Even if you have some success, if you want to maintain it, you have to keep doing the things you were doing that got you that success in the first place.
And in order to make self-improvement the focal point of your life, you need to ask yourself the question.
What’s the one small thing you can start doing that would improve your life?
For me, my 1% daily improvement is learning a new thing every day. Which is why I always ask myself the question: What have I learned today?
If I haven’t learnt anything, that means I haven’t improved myself in any way.
Every career, skill, habit, or art is built on a foundation of learning. If you don’t make learning the focal point of your life, it is going to be difficult to grow. Because learning is the basis of human existence. And this was why Socrates made the statement: “I know that I know nothing.”
Instead of trying to make radical changes in a short amount of time, just learn and make small improvements every day that will gradually lead to the change you want.
The stoic philosopher Epictetus once said train yourself on any habit and you will be able to unconsciously go to that habit in trying times. For me, that habit is learning.
When you make learning a life long habit for yourself, you will realize that what you haven’t learned is more important than what you know.
Learning begets learning and when you decide to learn something new, you are not competing against other people. You are competing against your previous lack of ability, and any improvement is a win.
This article can be best summarized by one of Charlie Munger quote where he said:
Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Discharge your duties faithfully and well. Step by step you get ahead, but not necessarily in fast spurts. But you build discipline by preparing for fast spurts… Slug it out one inch at a time, day by day, at the end of the day — if you live long enough — most people get what they deserve.
So I urge you, don’t aim for a total transformation of your life at once because it is unachievable. Rather, focus on the micro shift of 1% daily improvement in any area of your life while making learning the focal point of it. And in no time people will begin to see the transformation in you.