Small improvements add up

What have you always wanted to get better at?

What would you learn to do well, if only you had the time and energy?

Some of the things that were on my list at some point or still are include:

  • Speaking in public
  • Going on dates
  • Dancing
  • Marketing myself
  • Non-fiction writing
  • Being mindful

Some of these I’ve gotten better at. Others, not so much. (I’m looking at you, dancing.)

You can probably name some things too. Why, then, haven’t you gotten any better at these things?

It’s easy to blame a lack of time or energy: “I’m always tired when I get home from work—the last thing I want to do is [insert growth opportunity]”.

But usually, we have some time and energy left over every day. Not a lot—just some. Fortunately, some time and energy is enough.

All we need to do is get a tiny bit better every single day and we will eventually get much better than we are now. 

We resist this because we want to go from here to the end point. From being a nervous wreck to a confident TED speaker in two weeks. Of course we don’t have the time and energy to do that.

But we can make small improvements consistently. Today, practice a speech in front of the mirror and focusing on saying “uh” less. Tomorrow, improve your posture a tiny bit. The day after, focus on breathing enough as you speak.

Do this every day for years and you’ll become really, really good at what you’ve always wanted to get better at. And it won’t have cost you much time or energy on any single day.


— Peter

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