3 Ways Small Wins Will Help You Create An Empire
We don’t realise how capable we really are
What do you need to change your life? What do you need to become fluent in French, become a journalist, or to build a business empire?
One improvement a day.
One small win.
Of all the things that can boost inner work life, the most important is making progress in meaningful work — Havard Business Review
Small wins are the moments you realise you can do ten pull-ups without stopping, after months of effort. It gives you that spark, that realisation you are capable.
How about those days that start terribly? You sleep through your alarm, wolf down half a piece of toast instead of your usual coco-pops, and in rushing to work you forget the important documents for the meeting you are presenting. You are unsure of what else you’ve forgotten and you can’t focus. One bad thing leads to another bad thing, and so on.
This is the power of the snowball effect.
Don’t say it doesn’t matter. Because it does. Learn to use this to your advantage.
Fortunately, small wins have the opposite effect. That’s why one of the greatest things you can do is starting your day right. You start your day off on the right foot: cleaning your bed, having breakfast, doing the morning dog walk. You gain momentum. This is not theoretical.
We are naturally negative. Around 80% of our 12,000–50,000 thoughts are negative, according to the National Science Foundation. We insult and ridicule ourselves even when we are trying our best. That’s why when we give ourselves evidence that we are capable of something more than this, it means something.
How small wins will change your life:
- Small wins accumulate into businesses, books, gold medals.
What begins as a mundane task accumulates over time into something beyond our greatest expectations: progress in our chosen craft. Working out once a week turns into working out every other day which turns into joining the local triathlon group. This turns into completing your first triathlon which turns into a desire to win the race. This turns into gold medals.
It’s never as linear as this example, but you get the point: each small win transforms into motivation for the next bigger thing. If you want to get anywhere, use this to your advantage.
- Small wins give us evidence that we are capable.
We don’t realise how capable we really are because we need evidence that we are even capable of something before we can pursue it. We need something that justifies us to take the next step, a checkpoint of sorts. I wouldn’t write a book, for example, if I didn’t think I was capable of doing so. Likewise, no person ever looks at the cello for the first time and decides that they want to devote their life to becoming a solo cellist. Thus we need small wins. Small wins give potential cellists motivation at each step, which then propels them to more difficult and delicate tasks: performing in front of an audience for the first time, writing their own music and so on. The same goes for you.
- Small wins allow us to build strong foundations.
Anything that will last, anything of value takes time. That includes building ourselves up. However, it does not take long to transform your life completely. A year of improving 1% a day will mean you are 37 times better by the end of the year. Small wins compound and accumulate. Writing for just 20 minutes a day will mean you’ll have put in 120 hours of pure writing for your book. It takes about 120 hours to write a book. That’s 20 minutes a day… Each small win reinforces your chosen identity.
“Trees that grow tall and live long grow slowly — especially at first, but then grow steadily. They may be underground a long time, and a vulnerable sapling for longer still, but like any good idea or habit, once the roots are in, they’re hard to dislodge.” — Ryan Holiday
Small wins may seem disconnected and not part of an overarching plan, but in retrospect, they become our foundations, evidence of our new identity. We then act in accordance with our new identity, which creates a catalyst for positive change. Thus, it is these foundations that act as a springboard to achieve even greater heights. Use the power of the compound effect to your advantage, or it will be your ruin.
“Well-being is realized by small steps, but is truly no small thing.” — Zeno