One small change can add up to big results over time. We all know it, but we don’t always practice it. One extra serving of veg, five extra minutes working on an important project, a few quid in a savings account… Before you know it, you’re Tony Robbins.
If you’ve been following along for a while, you’ll already know I’m all about the baby steps (see my ‘1 Push-Up’ Challenge as a classic example). Taking one giant leap from here to immediate and lasting success would be amazing, but totally unrealistic. But making one small change today could easily get you there if you give it time to grow.
In the banking world, compound interest means you earn interest on your interest. So if you put €100 in the bank and you earn 10% interest (you wish — I’m just going for the easy, round numbers here), you’ll then jump to €110. But then you’re going to earn interest on €110, pushing you up to €121. And so on. Even if you never add a single extra cent to it, it’s going to keep growing. (Lord jaysus, lads, am I giving out productivity tips here or financial advice?!)
My point is that all we have to do is plant the seed. That one small change will set down deep and sturdy roots that continue to nourish your life long into the future, and are what will eventually help you reach for the sky.
- If you’re in business, focus on getting one more client. Just one. Work on providing excellent service to them. Turn them into a loyal customer and, eventually, a brand ambassador. Treat one client right, and they’ll be the ones bringing in more business for you. That loyal client is your compound interest.
- If you’re a blogger, focus on getting one more regular reader. Don’t worry about all those other sites who have thousands of views every day; anyone can find a way to increase traffic to their blog. Instead, ditch the “quick hits” and look for that one reader who genuinely loves your site, engages with it, and shares it with friends. That regular reader is your compound interest.
- If you’re a parent, just one small gesture or kind word can change your child’s life. Telling them you love them, you’re proud of them, or simply just hugging them can mean they grow up to be confident, self-assured individuals. It can make them feel loved and valued. It can strengthen your bond and deepen their trust in you. Those precious moments are your compound interest.
Sometimes the change can be something seemingly silly. An example from my own life is when I started flossing daily. A tiny change, and it only takes me a minute or two every day. But let’s look at the benefits: less chance of needing (expensive) dental work, and reduced risk of heart disease. So by that one small action, I’m not only saving money but, potentially, my life.
And now it’s your turn. Think about a goal you have. Maybe it’s to grow your business, or even to start one; maybe it’s to be a better friend or partner; maybe it’s to improve your health. What one small change could you make right now that will add up to major improvements over time, even if you never did anything else?
Could you set up a direct debit so a small amount is going into a savings account every month? Could you send a letter to a loved one, telling them how much they mean to you? Could you attend one conference or class on a subject that interests you so you can gain more knowledge and skills in that area? Could you write a few lines in a journal every day that eventually will turn into a complete memoir of your life?
Focus on quality, not quantity. There’s no point breaking your arse trying to plant hundreds of flower seeds when what you need is a sturdy tree. Find one good acorn and let compound interest carry it through to oak tree.