My buddy Nick and I met Saturday for coffee, as we do every week.
We’re reading the book Love Does by Bob Goff. (Protip: if you want to change your life, this book would not be a bad place to start.)
To say we’re reading the book is not an accurate portrayal. More like, we’re studying the book. Underlining key phrases. Seeking understanding. Just looking for an idea or phrase that helps us progress, if even just a little bit.
Just a little bit.
My journey over the last few years has led me to understand the power of small incremental improvements.
Just 1% daily.
James Altucher is an author, podcaster, and entrepreneur who introduced me to the 1% rule. The following is an excerpt from his post on the subject:
“I wish I could go back and tell myself one thing: nothing is going to change for you tomorrow.
Diets don’t work tomorrow. But every diet works.
Habits don’t change in a day. But 1% a day makes every habit work. Every.
The reason is: they work if you do a little each day. If you relax and give yourself permission to only improve a little each day, then a good habit works.
It’s permission to improve. It’s also permission to fail. Because when you first start something, you’re on day one.
If you want to succeed at anything, you have to give yourself permission to fail twice as much as you thought you would.
If you insist, I need to change RIGHT NOW, then it won’t work. You’ll only get worse.
If you insist the habit changes tomorrow, then the habit will certainly fail.
Coolio, the rapper, wrote lyrics every day for 17 years before having a hit.
Commander Hadfield, the astronaut, improved his skills every day for 20 years before getting into space.
Kurt Vonnegut wrote every day for 25 years before he had a major bestseller.
Even Mozart, despite being a prodigy, wrote music for 10 years every day before becoming a true master.
Improve a little each day. It compounds. When 1% compounds every day, it doubles every 72 days, not every 100 days. Compounding tiny excellence is what creates big excellence.
You can’t be a master in one day. You have to improve a little every day.
Picasso created 2 works of art a day. That’s 50,000 in a lifetime. It adds up.
“But it’s too late for me!”.
No, it’s not. Compounding creates fast results.
If I read 5 pages a day from non-fiction books, then in a year I will have read 1830 pages of knowledge. And each page I read will build upon the pages I’ve read before.
And it’s 1830 pages 99% of people won’t read. Most people don’t pick up a book after age 20.
If I write 1000 words a day, then in one day that’s nothing. In one year that’s the equivalent of 6–8 novels.
Also you can also decrease 1% a day. We can say, “aww, it’s only one day. Don’t pressure me!”
Such an easy choice. It seems trivial. 1% up or 1% down. But it sneaks up. And then we’re old and lonely.
Every day matters.”
You can read the entire post at https://jamesaltucher.com/2015/08/habits-one-percent/
This idea is powerful. Just 1% improvement daily equates to a 37 times improvement over the course of a year.
The question becomes, improvement of what? Improvement for what? What thing can I do daily that’s worth improving every day?
My storytelling mentor is a guy by the name of Ryan Fletcher. He’s the guy who inspired me to write my book, and also the guy who introduced me to James Altucher.
Ryan convinced me to begin storytelling daily as a way to improve my craft. My daily storytelling makes me 1% better daily, which over time has made me a better writer. A better businessman. A better husband. A better human being.
Here’s to mentors who challenge you to grow. Here’s to friends who come along for the journey.
Incremental improvement, just like Nick and I every week.
My gift to you today? Go buy “Love Does”, by Bob Goff.