Inchworms, Inchstones and 1 Percent Better Every Day
“The truth is, what you do matters. What you do today matters. What you do everyday matters.” ~Jeff Olsen
We humans don’t always catch on real quick and it’s understandable. It’s hard to place value on slow and steady in a world of hot and ready. In a world of 24/7/365, always on and instant access, it’s boring. Baby steps, incremental improvements and inch worm speed just seem obsolete and old school you know? We want what we want when we want it and today, much of the time we can get it.
It’s March, spring break time and we need to look good fast. Ads that promise a “bikini body in 21 days” are one of the surest signs of spring. “Lose 12 pounds in your first month” or “7 minute-a-day work out for abs of steel.” Me? I tried the fourteen day miracle diet once and lost two weeks! Aren’t we cute that way? We expect to undo months of bad choices in three weeks so we can look good in a swimsuit for three months.
Inchstones do become milestones
“Inch by inch, life’s a cinch. Yard by yard, life’s hard.”~John Bytheway
We talk a lot about milestones and huge leaps of progress these days. Small improvements don’t impress us much. I fell in love with the term “inchstones” the minute I heard it. Small, yet solid and measurable. We need to take a closer look at that. Albert Einstein called compound interest the eighth wonder of the world. Let’s widen our lens and take a closer look at how incremental improvements, as little as just 1% per day, can have a dramatic effect on our progress in any endeavor using the compounding effect of time.
Here’s why. In the worlds of The Slight Edge author Jeff Olsen, these “baby steps” are easy to do and easy not to do. That means there’s no noticeable change immediately but over time, here’s what happens.
One of my favorite bloggers, James Altucher, makes the math crystal clear in an article he wrote for Inc. magazine. A one percent improvement each day makes you 38 times better in the course of a year! That’s a hard concept to quantify but in simple terms it’s easy. A thousand times a day we make what are sometimes called micro-decisions. Will it be the cookie or celery? More TV or more healthy sleep? Take the elevator or the stairs? Tidy up 10 minutes each evening before going to bed or let the mess compound til it’s overwhelming?
And that’s just in the physical realm. What about choosing to spend fifteen minutes a day reading something that will increase your knowledge instead of scrolling through Facebook? Put the screens away and sit down to talk with your child or play a game? Listen and seek to understand before you judge? Another favorite author Matthew Kelly simply calls it “doing the next right thing.”
Think like an inchworm
We were created by God from love. Our divine purpose is to become the best possible version of who we were designed to be. What we become is infinitely more important than what we have or do so the choices become quite obvious. Live life inch by inch, do the next right thing, one small step at a time. Make this your aim and you will see life with new eyes and every day can be a beautiful adventure. See you later in the week for my tribute to a gentle man in a cardigan sweater.
“Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.” ~ Stephen Covey