Blog Post by Carl Pate
We’ve all heard the phrase “don’t sweat the small stuff” coming from some well meaning individual who wants to impress you with how important he is. Well I say NONSENSE! it’s all about the small stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should worry about missing five minutes of your favourite soap or the dog chewing one of your slippers, what I mean is that all progress comes from simple, ordinary activities which, if performed consistently, have the power to change our lives.
Everything that anyone has ever achieved has come from simple activities ACTIONED one step at a time. We cannot go from where we are today to a completely different place overnight. But one action today followed by another action and another and all of a sudden our path has changed direction. And consequently our destination will be a completely different place, as long as we continue to follow through on these actions in a consistent and dynamic manner.
Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgement, repeated every day.
This is what Dave Brailsford (General Manager and Performance Director for Team Sky, Great Britain’s Professional Cycling Team) refers to as the “aggregation of marginal gains”. The principle is that a one degree shift in the right direction, supported by daily routines, will cumulate over time into massive improvements. Equally a one degree shift in the wrong direction will cumulate into disaster. There are some obvious things that you can get started on, such as some daily movement, like a walk or jog to start making progress towards a healthier body. But then there are less obvious things, things which in themselves probably make little difference to your life and this might include flossing your teeth every night or making sure that as soon as a light bulb goes out in the house you replace it. What is happening here is that you are raising your standards, little by little, every day, and whilst it appears that nothing has changed in your life as a result, these small things will cumulate into a person who has high standards in everything that they do.
We so often seek the magic bullet that will change our lives in an instant, but the reality is that your life will be changed by your small apparently insignificant daily routines – good or bad, this is what will shape your destiny.
Beware your thoughts for they become words
Beware your words for they become actions
Beware your actions for they become habits
Beware your habits for they form your character
Beware your character for this creates your destiny.
At a conference that I recently attended one of the speakers said something that I found quite profound and which really stuck with me. “The trouble with the future is that it comes one day at a time!” We all know that in 10 years (or even 5 years or 1 year for that matter) we will be in a very different place than where we are today. However, the difference between today and tomorrow is, more often than not, tiny. No-one, not even the most muscular of body builders wakes up one day and finds out they have muscles on top of muscles! It is the small, almost imperceptible, actions (one more pull up, one more bench press) that you do on a daily basis that makes all the difference. It is the small habits, good and bad, that change everything. Track the small things every day and you will change the direction that you are going in by one degree. You don’t even notice this the following day, but in 6 or 12 month’s time you are in a completely different place. But only if you apply your new habits on a daily basis and you set your system up to create these positive rituals.
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