15 Minutes at a Time
There’s some great line about the most powerful thing in the world being a cumulative interest rate. I can’t remember where that’s from.
But there’s something incredibly potent in accumulated baby steps. Think about it: dieting or exercising is not about having one day where you eat nothing, or run all the miles in the world; it’s about doing small things day by day, building up changes.
Same with learning: first you learn the alphabet and a few words, then you learn sentence structure, then how to write a paragraph. You don’t just sit down and write a novel.
When I started my new self-hired job, I set two challenges for myself, among many others:
- Come up with 5 ways to make Money as a creator.
- Come up with 5 ways to do something positive for the world
Neither is an easy nut to crack.
I kept seeing those on my action list and not knowing how to approach them. I don’t remember where I got the idea but at a certain point I decided I just need to think about it and think about it every day. So that’s what I did: I spent 15 minutes every day thinking about ways I could make money; and I spent 15 minutes every day thinking of how I could change the world for the better.
And wouldn’t you know, after a few weeks of that I had about 60 ideas for each? Not all of them were keepers, of course. But now I’ve got options.
And there are two things that I really love about that cumulative effect:
- The first is that I kept finding ideas that could satisfy both goals. Who knew?
- The second is that by spending a little time every day thinking about these topics, I kept the questions fresh in my brain. So that when I go on my daily walk, I’ll see things that will trigger an answer to the question; I’d see something that’s needed in my neighborhood, and that would lead to a way to change the world for the better. Thinking of these things a little every day has made them part of the everyday fabric of my life.
In other words, by setting aside 15 minutes a day, I’ve ended up thinking about them a whole lot more than 15 minutes. And just like accumulated interest, eventually that time and energy is bound to add up to something big.
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