Success is Built on Habits, not Defining Moments


success habit small changes big differences

As children we grow up watching Disney movies.  I love Disney movies.  There are heroes and bad guys, and there is always a defining moment where the hero makes a difficult decision involving sacrifice for someone he or she loves.  The sacrifice is heartbreaking but everything works out, and everyone lives happily ever after.

In Disney, defining moments determine the outcome of the story.  Unfortunately too many people think life is a Disney movie; they keep waiting and hoping for their “defining moment.”

Life is not a Disney movie, and there are no defining moments.  A single moment will not determine your success or failure.  In fact, the decisions you make in crucial crossroad decisions are really decided over many years by little things you choose to do or not to do everyday.

Success (or failure) is defined by the little things you do consistently every day for months and years – your habits.  Can you improve just 1/10 of 1% every day?  Just find one little thing every day, and do it slightly better.  You will be 3% better in a month.  You and everyone else will not even notice the difference.  But by 3 months, you will be 9% better, and by 6 months you will be 20% better.  In one year, you will be 44% better.

If you are 44% better at what you do, you are creating 44% more value, and you should get a 44% pay raise every year!

Successful people work on self-improvement every day of every year for decades.  Let’s look at the numbers:

After 2 years, you would be 207% better than your former self and 207% better than all your peers who were not also making a 1/10 of 1% improvement every day.  By now, you are a completely different person.  Your old friends are not your friends anymore.  You no longer understand each other.  Everyone thinks you are talented, how else could you be twice as good at seemingly everything?  Let’s keep crunching numbers:

After 3 years: You are 298% improved

After 4 years: You are 430% improved

After 5 years: You are 619% improved

That’s 6.19 times better than the average guy, making 6.19 as much money.  You can go from being loser to a success story in 5 years just by improving 1/10 of 1% every day.  Once you start winning, you will not stop:

After 10 years: You are 38.4 times better

After 20 years: You are 1475 times better

After 30 years: You are 56,643 times better

This Forbes article claim CEO’s earn 331 times the average worker,  and 774 times a minimum wage earner.

According to this report, the average CEO is 59 years old.  So they have been working at least 35+ years.  So what are CEO’s doing wrong?  They have had 35+ years for self improvement, and they are not even making 1000 times the lowest skilled person in America.  Why does the average CEO make so little?

I crunched the numbers.  If you improve yourself just 1/20th of 1% every day, after 35 years, you will be on the level of the average CEO.  Wow, I just lost a lot of respect for those guys!

Everyone can improve 1/10th of 1% everyday.  In fact if you are just starting out, you can easily improve a full 1% everyday, and at a full 1% improvement, the numbers go crazy.  You are 38.8 times better in just one year!  That means you are a completely different person making completely different kinds of money in just one year.

Success is built by small incremental improvements made consistently every single day.  How do we consistently do something every single day?  We are creatures of habit.  Habits determine our success in life.

What are habits?  Where do they come from?  How can we change them?

I discuss that topic in Habits: Where is Your Autopilot Taking You?

Thoughts?  Post a comment or ask a question.  I will respond!

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This topic was inspired by Brian Tracy’s books. I have read (or listened to) every one of them. I highly recommend any and all of his books.

Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy


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