“Repetition can be boring or tedious — which is why so few people ever master anything.” -Hal Elrod
Most people change gradually and unconsciously over time. These changes usually aren’t that good.
Small things always grow into big things. The little habits now (both good and bad) always develop into bigger, more prominent behaviors.
C.S. Lewis once described humans and our behaviors like an egg. “You cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg,” he said. “You must be hatched, or go bad.” We don’t have the option of continuing to practice negative, limiting behaviors without them growing into debilitating traits in the future.
So how can you continue to become better versions of yourself? How can you repeatedly evolve into the person you deeply want to be? How can you control and master this change?
Quietly, doggedly, simply.
Constant Personal Evolution Only Happens Through Repetitive Personal Development
“Every day, improve your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual life by 1%.” -James Altucher
Little things become big things. Improving 1% in one area every day will become a 3700% increase in just one year!
This is how you become a better version of yourself every day — continually developing your personal life.
But it’s not easy. Continuous improvement is often boring and tedious, a huge turnoff for 95% of people.
The Boston Globe once studied a typical day for Olympic snowboarders. The athletes are “up at dawn, stretch, watch video of the previous day, hit the slopes till lunch, go to class, do more conditioning, eat dinner, and then go to study hall for an hour and a half. At most, they get about an hour of ‘free time’ a day, but it’s usually used for homework.”
Often, these individuals weren’t the strongest, fastest, or most physically-gifted; the world’s most successful people were simply the best at staying motivated.
They continued repeating what they needed to do to improve, no matter how boring or tedious is was.
Consistent, daily development is how an ordinary individual can become literally the best in the world.
In his book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t, Jim Collins and his team studied 11 different companies that went from dowdy, tired businesses into world-class superpowers.
After 2,000 pages of interview manuscripts from the leading company business executives, Collins remarked:
“Throughout our research, we were struck by the continual use of words like disciplined, rigorous, dogged, determined, diligent, precise, fastidious, systematic, methodical, workmanlike, demanding, consistent, focused, accountable, and responsible.”
The most incredible, successful companies in the world all shared a deep commitment to continual growth; quiet, dogged, simple growth. They weren’t fancy, they were just consistent — to an almost-boring degree.
While other companies hurdled forward at breakneck speeds, or slowed to a panicked freeze when the market was slow, the great-companies didn’t change their pace. They kept marching, one step forward, every day, no matter how poorly (or well) they were doing.
They were simply going to improve, again and again, every day.
This is how you become a better version of yourself every day. Quietly, doggedly, and simply.
Losers Play the Short Game. Winners Know the Long Game is What Produces Actual Success.
“Losers play the short game which is based on winning quickly and a belief that they’re smarter than the average person. You can avoid a degree in losermanship by playing the long game, getting educated, investing in what you know, diversifying your risk and learning from people who are smarter than you. Success, fame and money are not achieved overnight.” -Tim Denning
I’ve “started going to the gym” many times in my life.
I’d always quit after a few weeks, though. I wouldn’t see immediate results, I’d get frustrated, then stop going entirely.
I don’t think this cycle is unusual. In fact, I believe it’s how most people approach most kinds of personal improvement.
Losers — anyone who lets impatience, selfishness, complaining, or blaming dictate their behavior — can only see the short game.
“I want to get a 6-pack,” they say. “And I want to own my own business. I want to be rich, famous, live in a big house, and only work when I want to work.”
But when they start working feverishly towards these goals, they quickly realize they’re not going to get there in the short-term. In fact, when most people realize this lifestyle is only possible after years of incredibly hard work and monk-like discipline, they usually just give up.
This is loser-thinking. It’s immature and unbecoming of a truly extraordinary person. The short game is for impatient, immature, and selfish people who don’t want to put in the work to truly succeed.
The long game is for winners.
“Getting ahead is based on manageable tweaks, not tectonic shifts.” -Neil Patel, Hustle
Achieving the life of your dreams and experiencing continuous personal evolution means commitment to the long game.
You become the person you want to be not by enormous lifestyle changes, but slow, manageable tweaks over time.
You Can’t Exercise Your Big Muscles If Your Small Muscles Are Weak
“The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth.” -Ryan Holiday
My old coworker once told me a fascinating phenomenon happens to your body when you go rock-climbing.
At first, your “small muscles” (tendons, fingers, and wrist stabilizers) are simply too weak to actually climb for more than a few minutes. It doesn’t matter if you have enormous “big muscles” like biceps or 6-pack abs. If your small muscles aren’t strong enough, you literally can’t rock-climb. You’ll snap your wrists if you try anything beyond short, basic climbs.
It takes about 2 weeks to develop these small muscles. Once you build these small muscles up, then you can rely on the rest of your muscles and ability. You can literally do things that were impossible just a few weeks ago.
Your “big muscles” are completely useless until you get over the initial hump of training your small muscles.
Most people will never spend the time to develop their small muscles. They spend all their time developing enormous skill-sets with no foundation to sustain them. That’s great you’re a master at something — now can you keep doing it every day?
Most people can’t.
Many people often quit right before the critical moment of breakthrough; they mistakenly think the tough-going at first is how it will always be.
In the words of Hal Elrod:
“95% of our society — the ‘mediocre majority’ — fail, time and time again, to start exercise routines, quit smoking, improve their diets, stick to a budget, or any other life habit that would improve their quality of life. Why? Most people don’t realize the seemingly unbearable first 10 days of a new habit is only temporary.”
Most people can’t work through the initial difficulty of the short game. They’re doomed before they even began. Just like how I’d constantly stop going to the gym after a few weeks, most people don’t realize the short game is pointless.
Real success only happens in the long game.
You Will Win If You Remain Faithful to the Process
“You win if you remain faithful to the process. The process is testing you as well as teaching you. If you pass the test and learn the lessons, you get to go on to your next process. If you fail a test and quit rather than retake the test, the process spits you out.” -Robert Kiyosaki
The personal transformation that occurs when you train yourself to become a millionaire is infinitely better than the money itself.
Being someone who knows how to make a million dollars is infinitely better than simply having the money.
Yet this isn’t how most people see value. Most people perceive all the value to be in the result, not the process.
When you commit to the process — never giving up, creatively overcoming setbacks and obstacles, trying new strategies — a powerful metamorphosis happens. You literally transform in the process.
This change is the real value.
You will gain a powerful strength of character through the process of quietly, doggedly, simply engaging in personal development. This makes all the difference. Earning a million dollars means nothing; the person you become in the process is infinitely more valuable than the money.
“Even if a man fails again and again to accomplish his purpose (as he necessarily must until weakness is overcome), the strength of character gained will be the measure of his true success, and this will form a new starting point for future power and triumph.”
-James Allen, As a Man Thinketh
“Depth is where the gold is buried. And you have to stay committed to something and go deep to dig it up.” Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
It takes a long time to become the best in the world at anything.
It takes time to even become simply “good” at something. In today’s culture, the need for instant-gratification is so strong, you’re practically guaranteed to find yourself in the top 5–10% in skill if you simply keep practicing.
Almost no one else has the patience.
The greatest companies and individuals in the world used to suck at what they do. The only difference between them and their competitors is they just kept going.
Every day, they improved just a little bit. It wasn’t fancy, no one was writing articles about them or banging down their door for interviews…
They just kept going.
Quietly, doggedly, simply.
“Becoming great is a quiet, deliberate process of figuring out what needed to be done to create the best future results and then simply taking those steps, one after the other, turn by turn.” -Jim Collins