Did you start this year with big ambitions? Did you set big goals for yourself? This is going to be your year right?
That’s great and I hope you achieve what you are looking for. I just hope you’re not taking the wrong approach.
You may think that your life needs to take massive steps every once in awhile for everything to be better. You try really hard for a month, but don’t see results. You think what you’re doing isn’t working. However that’s the wrong attitude.
It’s the small choices done repeatedly over time that will have the biggest factor in your outcome.
These small choices result in unnoticeable changes by your or others. Reading ten pages of a business book a day isn’t going to make a big change, right? How about saying no to a can of Coke?
Making small gradual changes goes again the instant result culture we’re accustomed to. Just as we microwave our meals to be ready quickly, we want to lose 20 pounds in just a week, and make thousands of dollars after a month of trying.
Many don’t contribute to their IRA because they’d rather use the money now. Plus it doesn’t seem like it makes much money anyways.
So these small choices don’t offer a huge difference and obvious change so why even bother?
Because one day those small choices are going to lead to massive results.
Take a penny or $3 million?
Darren Hardy, in the Compound Effect, shows how this works.
You are offered two choices. Would you take $3 million in cash right now or a single penny that doubles in value every day for 31 days? You may have heard this before and know that taking the penny will result in more money in the end. So why is it hard to believe?
Because it takes longer to see the result.
Let’s say you take $3 million in cash. I take the penny. After a seven days I have sixty-four cents. You have $3 million and looking at a new car. Me? I can’t even buy a can of Coke.
After 14 days I have $81.92 while you’re planning a vacation to Hawaii.
After 20 days I have only $5,243. You still have $3 million. We’re still so far apart. I look like the fool.
Then the magic starts to happen. On day twenty-nine, you’ve got $3 million while I have $2.7 million. On day thirty I’ll have $5.4 million. On the final day of the month long wait, I will have exactly $10,737,418.24!
Most people would take the instant $3 million. Even compounding a penny doesn’t seem like it’ll amount to much after thirty-one days.
That’s what Darren Hardy calls the Compound Effect and it can have a huge impact on your life.
It can work for you or against you though.
Does a Coke a day make a difference?
If we both ate the same thing and did the same amount of physical activity, but you drank one can of Coke a day and I didn’t, how would it look after just one year?
You would gain 14.6 pounds in a year. That’s 73 pounds in five years!
Doesn’t seem like much day-to-day right? It’s just a can of Coke.
If I subtracted 140 calories a day (equivalent to a can of Coke) in a year, I’d lose 14.6 pounds. We’d be 29.6 pounds apart in one year! In five years that would be 146 pounds!
Just think about how easy it is to add or subtract just 140 calories a day. That’s not just a can of Coke. That could be a couple Oreo cookies or an extra serving of mashed potatoes. It’s so easy, and we hardly notice in the short term. In the long term, it adds up.
The story of MJ Demarco
MJ Demarco saw a Lamborghini when he was a teenager and it changed everything in his life. The young owner of the car was an inventor. MJ couldn’t sing, act, or play sports, but knew that day he could get rich without fame or physical talent.
From high school through college, he studied successful millionaires to find their secret. He wanted to become young and rich. He didn’t want to be rich by working at a job until he was 65 and then retiring to finally enjoy his money.
After college, MJ had friends who were getting great, but typical jobs. Training to be a manager or selling insurance wasn’t what he envisioned. He didn’t want the safe job. He decided to keep working on starting his own business.
He kept failing and had to take crappy jobs to just pay the bills. He said he even prostituted himself to an older woman to pay for his best friend’s wedding gift.
Meanwhile his friends were getting raises and moving up the corporate ladder. They had their cars and homes and lived the typical post college life.
Just like the penny example, his friends seem so much better off than MJ. He should have taken a safe job right out of college, right?
At 26, he fell into depression. To cope, he escaped into the lives of millionaires by reading their books and other rags-to-riches stories. He drove a limo and would read everything from finance to internet programming while waiting for clients.
That penny kept compounding for him, even though it didn’t seem like it.
He decided to move away from the cold dreary Chicago winters to sunny Phoenix. He had to change his environment. He arrived poor but feeling rich. He was in control of his life.
He created a website based on an unsolved need he encountered when he was a limo driver. He lived in Chicago, but if he needed a limo in New York, where would he go to find it? His website would solve this problem.
He marketed his website like crazy. He got an unexpected offer from a company to design their website. That wasn’t his goal, but he agreed for $400 and did it in a day. In less than 24 hours, he had another call from a company wanting the same thing. This time he did it for $600 and it took him two days.
At that time, $1,000 was like winning the lottery to him.
Do you see the penny start to show some results?
Though he started making money in web design, that was not his main focus. His limo web directory was. He was getting traffic, but needed to turn it into money.
His days were long and hard. 60 hour workweeks were common. While his friends were out partying, he was working at home.
It paid off. His clients were telling him how much their business increased because of him.
In 2000, he sold his company for $1.2 million. After taxes, bad investments, and spending, he had less than $300,000 left.
After the tech bubble burst and his buyers made poor decisions with the direction of the company, he bought his website back at $250,000 just a year after selling it.
The next 18 months, he decided to work harder and make the income more passive. This is when that single penny started to show massive results.
When things started to click for him, he was making $200,000 a month and $100,000 on a BAD month from his website.
He was making millions a year and loving it.
In 2007, he decided to retire and sold his company for $4.5 million to work on other passions.
Can you see how his actions and choices didn’t seem like much at the time? In fact, his life looked horrible. Everyone thought he was crazy. His mom would constantly remind him to get a real job (she once suggested deli manager).
He tried and failed. He read as much as he could. He studied self-made millionaires.
He had no visible positive results for his efforts early on, but he kept taking small steps repeatedly over time that kept moving him towards his goal.
He wrote a great book called, The Millionaire Fastlane that tells his story and teaches others how. I just started to read it, but I know it’s going to be great.
Try and do five things a day
I hope I’ve shown you no matter what you’re trying to achieve, small choices done repeatedly over time have a huge impact on your success.
It’s hard to have that mindset because we lack patience! We want it now. Who wants to wait months or years for success?
Think about anything you’ve achieved, you’ve probably reached that point through a series of small steps done consistently. It was far from an overnight success.
Jack Canfield suggests doing five things a day towards achieving your goal. Just five things. Can you do just five a day? I believe so. If you can’t, you’re not serious enough about it. Overtime, it adds up.
Remember you’re not going to see visible results for awhile, but that doesn’t mean what you’re doing isn’t working.
Just think of that penny working its magic.
Looking to achieve your goals and change your life?
I’m starting a course soon on goal setting, which teaches you the proper way to set and achieve your goals. Writing down your goals is easy, but seeing it till the end is where most fail. It’s going to feature videos, worksheets, and a forum to connect with like-minded people.
This is for those looking to learn what it’ll really take to achieve your goals. It’s those who want to be in the top 1%. I’ll give you a plan to help you. Stay tuned for it.