“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked.
“Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually, then suddenly.”
That’s the thing about a lot of compounding effects, isn’t it?
Both good habits and bad. The results are virtually unnoticeable until they’re unmistakable.
The Hemingway quote above is riffing on the negative effects of a slow decline, but we’re optimists you and me! Let’s take a look at how gradually building up positive actions can eventually lead to sudden spurts of growth.
Here is this idea demonstrated mathematically:
1.00 ^ 365 = 1.00 1.01 ^ 365 = 37.3
That tiny little .01 unit of daily progress over the course of a year makes a huge difference!
When I pointed out the benefits of this kind of slow and steady growth on Twitter, someone accurately chimed in with, “I wouldn’t exactly call daily compounded exponential growth ‘slow’.”
That’s true. Compounded exponential growth eventually is … well, exponential.
But not for a while.
Let’s dig into that math a little more and see if it feels true to life.
1.01 ^ 1 = 1.01 1.01 ^ 50 = 1.64 1.01 ^ 100 = 2.70 1.01 ^ 150 = 4.44 1.01 ^ 200 = 7.30 1.01 ^ 250 = 12.03 1.01 ^ 300 = 19.79 1.01 ^ 365 = 37.78
Look at that.
Half of the total growth comes in the last 65 days.
200 days in and we’re still slogging along at a paltry 7.30, looking around, wondering what we’re doing with our life.
“Everyone else is just Garyvee crushin’ it at 37.78 and here I am frickin’ hamster-wheelin’ my lungs out. Why didn’t I just stick with that boring-ass, cushy job and phone it in for a while?”
Because, dear reader. You were meant for more.
After a while, you start to see signs of traction. 7.30 suddenly becomes 12.03. “That’s more progress in fifty days than I made in the first hundred-and-fifty days when I first got started,” you say to yourself.
Fifty days later and you’re at 19.79.
And so on. And so on.
I’ve begun to feel this over the past five or so months as I’ve been writing more regularly and producing my podcast, Bright & Early.
It used to be hard to refer prospects to something I’d created to establish authority and share my point of view – on account of the fact that, you know, I hadn’t written much of anything!
Today, while I’ve still got plenty of distance yet to travel, it’s beginning to feel easier.
Articles seamlessly link to other articles. My podcast’s guest list is growing. The words are flowing a little quicker.
In March, I’d written a grand total of about 4,000 words over the past four years for my site. In the past five months, I’ve written 15,380.
Again, I view my body of work as still very much in progress. But compared to where I sat at 1.01 ^ 1, I couldn’t be happier.
1.01 ^ ?
If you’re early on in your journey and it feels like you haven’t made much progress that doesn’t mean you won’t.
You might still be in that painful early half of the building phase where nothing seems to work. Nobody is noticing. Nothing comes easy.
Take a deep breath and make a tiny bit of progress every day, one day at a time.
You’ll have some off days, but don’t let them stack up. Keep building, keep moving forward and your efforts will start to compound.
Here’s to a 1.01 kind of day!