The Story Behind Small Steps
When I started with personal development, I used to challenge myself to my limits, thinking this must be the best way to grow. Although it did help me make a lot of progress, it got harder and harder to motivate myself, because of the growing difficulty of every next challenge. At one point I felt stuck. I would need to do preposterous things to go further.
Later on however, I got this strong intuition that I should do the opposite: doing things which would seemingly make me grow very little. I didn't quite understand what I was on about, but it came to be one of my greatest discoveries!
The thing about small steps is that it means less risk of failing, because it's easier to accomplish. It also means that the benefits of the brain's reward system will kick in more often.
How I See It
A Big Step
Imagine you are taking a big step. It looks like the illustration on the left (from left to right). In the beginning of the step, you have a certain perspective of your step.
A Small Step
Now look at the small (green) step. It has the same bigger perspective as the big step. It is however easier to get started, as you don't need the same determination or preparation as for the big step.
An Exponential Step
Now, when the small step is completed, the big step has progressed too, but without new perspectives and without rewards. Since the step is still being taken, it's unlikely to look beyond it. The small step however, has already given a reward, and some experience. Since it is completed, a a new, better perspective can be taken towards reaching the goal. Since the aim of the small step starts at the higher point that the one of the big step, you can see further, and aim even higher if you want.
Most Motivational Ever
With this realization, I also realized I could break down virtually anything with small steps. For me, this way of thinking is the most motivational ever. And it has improved the quality of my work a lot.
I'm getting deeper into this in later posts named "Microscopic Optimism", and hitting the jackpot at "Nano Sequence Optimization."
- Write me in the comments below some small step you have taken which has given you success!
Further ReadingThe Science Behind Baby StepsStudy: Proximal Self-Motivation