Many people abandon their goals and fail to realize their vision because they don’t see immediate results. They interpret their failure as an indication that they lack the necessary ability or that it was the wrong goal in the first place and then give up. In this article, Joey Klein, author of the upcoming book, ‘The Inner Matrix,’ outlines how and why minor adjustments can compound and lead to significant gains in performance over time.
Ancient Chinese philosopher and poet Lao Tzu famously said, “Every journey begins with a single step.” An extrapolation of this idea yields, “Every goal is reached by a series of small steps.” Sometimes in our enthusiasm for achieving our goals and advancing our causes, we forget this simple principle. We want leaps and bounds when success is made up of less-exciting work of small incremental improvements.
One reason we often forget this principle is that it is largely unseen, especially in other people. We can, if we’re wise enough to stop once in a while and look back along the trail we’ve traveled to see how far we’ve come, see the results of our step-by-step efforts. But, it’s harder to see in those that we aspire to emulate.
Imagine this scene that plays out over and over at ten-year high school reunions; Bob and Sally stand together in the corner of the room discussing the achievements of their classmates. One will inevitably turn to the other at some point and say something like, “Boy, Marie sure has had some lucky breaks. Look how much she has accomplished. She’s finished her graduate degree and launched a successful startup. I wish I had her luck.”
Bob and Sally only see the results of what Marie has accomplished. They have no visibility into the small but meaningful changes she has made every day since high school.
Willpower or perseverance?
In his book, The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy says, “Assuming willpower is what you need to change your habits is akin to trying to keep a hungry grizzly bear out of your picnic basket by covering it with a napkin.” To create or change habits, you need persistent adherence to proven systems and routines.
Marie didn’t go from high school to CEO of a well-funded tech startup in a few leaps and bounds. No, she, like all successful people, developed a vision of what she wanted her life to be like, set goals to align with that vision, and measured every step of the way so she could make daily incremental improvements.
It doesn’t take much
The success of incremental improvements comes from the fact that it doesn’t take much – at least not all at once – to totally change direction. Anyone can do a little better than they did the day before. Make just one more meaningful contact. Do one more set of squats than yesterday. Learn one small thing about what’s important to you. The changes compound, and over time, when you pause to look back, even you will be surprised by how much you have accomplished.
About Inner Matrix Systems
Inner Matrix Systems, based in Denver, is a personal mastery training system for high achievers. For more than twenty years, IMS has delivered a proprietary methodology that rewires, trains, and aligns the nervous system, emotions, and thought strategies to create real-life results. CEO, Joey Klein, and IMS have worked with more than 80,000 individuals from around the world through both live and online training programs, as well as one-on-one coaching. Clients have included: Boeing, IBM, Dell, Google, Panda Express, Coca Cola and The World Health Organization. Joey is the author of The Inner Matrix: Leveraging the Art & Science of Personal Mastery to Create Real Life Results (June 2021).