When people are looking down the barrel at their lives, they’ll do anything to keep them moving. When their lives, or some aspects of their lives, are headed for failure, survival kicks in to keep their heads above water. We live our lives on a chart that balances between Failure, Survival and Success; unfortunately many times we don’t reach success. Take the classic example of weight loss. Many of us see a certain number on a scale and that triggers us to tell us we’ve gone too far and are approaching bottom. We implement some healthy habits to reduce our weight, drop 10 or 20 pounds and then let old habits creep back in so we never reach that weight we really want to achieve and if we do, we rarely maintain it. Once we reach one level, we fall back down. We continue to ride the rollercoaster from almost-success back down to near failure over and over again. But why?
It is the seemingly harmless and innocent choices we make on a daily basis that pull us back towards failure. So why do we keep doing them?
- They’re easy to do. This seems counterintuitive, but the same simple things we need to be successful are the same things that are just as easy not to do. It’s easy to save a few bucks a day, but it’s just as easy to buy your morning coffee.
- The results are invisible. The things that create success in the long run are the same things that don’t look like they’re having any impact in the short run.
- The small things seem insignificant; we convince ourselves that they don’t matter. Who cares if you skipped a day at the gym? The key to success is in the mundane, the smallest things that we convince ourselves aren’t impactful.
There’s hope though; you can chart your success course and reach the destination. One simple thing allows us to go beyond just surviving: keep doing the things that got you from failure to survival. It is encouraging because the road to success is simple, in fact it’s likely we’ve already done all of the things needed to succeed, but simply gave up too soon. Keep making the easy, right decisions (like not hitting snooze) and you’ll thrive.
Source: Slight Edge Community (slightedgecommunity.com)
To take the concept one step further, think about it in regards to compound interest. You have capital and you invest it. (In our human example, we go to the gym 3 days a week.) You leave the money in the market and the value compounds. You see the number grow and grow as companies work harder to increase the value of your investment. Now, what if you pulled all of your money out of the market? (You return to old habits like skipping a day at the gym or eating healthy) At that moment you’re satisfied with your return, but it’s probably still not ideal. Now that the money isn’t invested, you begin to experience negative returns considering inflation, (you start to see your weight creep back after skipping more and more days), until we reach near rock bottom again.
Don’t let yourself get back to mere survival. Continue to invest in yourself. Make the small, smart decisions each day that compound over time. We’re designed to grow over the course of our lives. Make the choices in your life through the eyes of time. You might not be able to see the payoff now, or a week, or even a month from now, but in a few months you’ll see a real difference. When making your next “easy” choice, ask where this decision, if repeated, will land you in the long run. Make time your ally, not your enemy. Utilize it to compound positive actions. Apply this simple principle to your relationships, your health, your weight, your finances, your knowledge, anything and with time, you’ll see incredible results.
For further information on this topic, pick up a copy of The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson