“Your wish my command,” says the Genie when the one who holds the magic lamp reveals his desire. Then his wish is granted in a flash. In another fairy tale, the Fairy Godmother sprays some magic dust from her magic wand to make someone lose weight, gain strength, or fulfill a dream.
At least in my life I have never had any genie or fairy godmother show up with a promise of giving me what I want, without putting forth my own effort. However, there is a secret formula that guarantees success. This formula has been tried and tested over years and almost every winner backs it up.
If you have ever made plans and failed miserably to shed those extra pounds, acquire that new skill, upgrade your education, learn a new language or even become a master of what you do/want to do, then this formula is the ultimate solution for you.
The Compound Effect: This is about taking action consistently over a period of time to achieve your goals. Darren Hardy suggest a formula for this:
Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = Radical Difference
He explains this with an example. Suppose you have two choices: 1) You can get $3 million in cash today or, 2) you get a penny and double it every day for 31 days. Which one would you prefer? If you take that $3 million today and someone else takes the other option, it feels awesome on day one, when you get $3 million and the other guy gets 1 penny. Now, let’s fast-forward the same process to 31st Day. On this day you would have what’s left of your $3 million and the other guy would receive $10.7 million. That’s the power of compound effect.
The same principle can give us the results that we desire if we are willing to put forth effort every day consistently over a period of time and watch it compound. While doing this, you might feel that it is tiring and monotonous, but that’s part of this process. You wouldn’t feel like a hero in the start, but at the end of the entire process you certainly would be a hero.
Let me share a 3-step process that continues to help me achieve my goals:
- Set a Goal First, Not a Process:
Many people have difficulty in knowing the difference between a goal and a process. I have a friend whose goal was to be able to see his feet while he stands (reduce belly fat, if you are still wondering). He spent many regretful years for not being able to achieve his goal. His problem was that he mixed up his goal with a process, which ultimately became his new goal. He believed in an early morning workout (which was of course more heroic for him). Waking up before the sun was another challenge for him. And, on the days when he wasn’t able to say goodbye to the bed in time, he skipped the workout with high hopes that he’ll catch up the next day. He was stuck in this cycle for years. His life became much easier when he separated his goal and the process. The key is to choose what do you want to achieve before you start thinking about how.
- You Can Eat a Whale if You Eat it in Pieces
We can recall Rocky Balboa in the Hollywood movie Rocky or Sultan from the Bollywood movie Sultan – rising, practicing hard, and changing their fate within no time. Well, I don’t say that is impossible either. However, the willpower on screen and in real life might differ. The key is to break down your goal in smaller portions and work on it piece by piece. These pieces should be small and easy enough to repeat day in day out. For example if you want to write a book, start with writing one page everyday; for a healthy life, take a 10 minute walk everyday; to finish a book, read one page everyday. It may feel like a slow process but it will ensure consistency. This step requires 100% commitment to repeat it everyday.
- Celebrate Your Small Wins
Imagine a football match between two highly competitive teams with a missing score board. Without a scoreboard, there will be no incentive for players to put their blood and sweat into the game, at least not for long. Each goal provides players a reason to celebrate or to be more competitive. Each small win that we achieve everyday tells our neurons that we are moving in the right direction, which further fuels us to become better, stronger and faster.
Let the compound effect shape a better future for us. What do you think?