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Yesterday I dared to struggle. Today I dare to win.
-- Bernadette Devlin


The MONTHLY Motivator - February 2019


The power of incremental improvements

How do you get big things done? By taking lots of small steps. How do you achieve all the ambitious goals you have for yourself? By utilizing the small, available moments to persistently work on those goals. How do you keep yourself motivated, inspired, encouraged to continue doing all that work? By observing and celebrating the small victories, the ones that come on an hourly or daily basis as you take one incremental step after another to improve your life and your world.

Incremental improvements give you access to a realm of limitless success. Anyone can take a small step and find a way to succeed at it. Certainly you can do that. And when you do, another step presents itself. So you take that small step. You work on it, figure it out, do what’s necessary, perhaps get it wrong a few times before you get it right. And then you complete that step, you achieve that little incremental portion of your goal. Suddenly you have some momentum, and suddenly it begins to feel pretty good. At this point you realize you can keep going. And not only that, you realize it feels really good and right to keep going, even though the work is tedious and demanding. Because you’re seeing some progress. You’re getting something out of it. You’re palpably on the path to achievement. You’re positioning yourself to write your own ticket, to choose precisely how you want your life to unfold. And it all starts with one little step. That’s the power of incremental improvement.

The biggest improvements are incremental improvements. Nobody can build a 100-story skyscraper in fifteen minutes. It takes many, many people doing many small jobs to get the building constructed, inch by inch, month by month.

The most durable improvements are incremental improvements. The most accessible improvements are incremental. It’s difficult to operate on a big scale. But it’s easy to do something on a small scale. People and organizations and systems will fight you when you try to make big changes. Yet you can make lots and lots of small changes and nobody will even notice.

Incremental improvements are always available to you. If you have just five free minutes, there is some incremental improvement you can make in that time. You could clean out a couple of hundred old emails from your inbox. Sure, you might have thousands to go through. It won’t make a huge dent but it will be something. And something is a whole lot better than nothing.

Even the smallest improvement is better than standing still, especially considering that you really can’t stand still. Because standing still is effectively sliding backwards. If you stand still, the world moves forward without you. So the choice becomes this. Either improve by utilizing the opportunities for incremental improvement, or fall behind.

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--Ralph Marston

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