Based on a Jeff Olson’s ‘The slight egde’
Water or soda?
Do you ever have a choice between a glass of water and a glass of soda and you pick the soda because “well if you have a glass of soda today, it’s not like you’re going to wake up overweight and unhealthy tomorrow?”
That’s basically how we all like to think that somehow, success only comes from doing huge, important things right. We have that big paradox. On one hand, you’re right. The little decision doesn’t really matter. This one decision won’t really affect your health in any significant way, right? Getting drunk one time won’t ruin your life. Eating chips when you feel instant urge won’t make you unhealthy. Examples are everywhere.
Power of compounding
But on the other hand, it’s really the only thing that matters. Because in a year, you will be the result of your every little decision compounded. We simply are humongous piles of our own decisions. It’s not about judging anyone but it’s especially easy to notice in our physical appearances. We can all agree that not everybody’s going to be an athlete but we can easily spot if someone is working out 4 times a week for last 3 years, right?
Easy (not) to do
In essence, every little decision matters. And these little things are easy to do. When you’re on your lunch break tomorrow can make a choice of drinking water instead of soda, fruit instead of cake, vegetables instead of fat fries. Anyone is capable of doing that. But since it’s so easy to do, it is also easy not to do, and just order the soda.
But what if you decide to do this little thing right? You won’t be any healthier the next day, but after a year you would see huge health benefits from it. We have to stop thinking just about instant pleasure because the true reward is usually postponed.
I have come back to working out in the beginning of January. I haven’t been doing that for last couple of years. At least not regularly. Now it’s 6 times a week. Just 30 to 40 minutes in the evening. It has become such a vital part of my moonlight. I’m not falling asleep over my laptop any more. I feel a lot more energized and I don’t feel any muscle or joint pains any more. What’s quite suppressing to me is that it was fairly easy and there were only few days when I really had to push myself to do it.
Just two days ago, I went to catch up with my best buddies. One of them told me how he stopped eating sweets 9 month ago. He said: ”I really loved sweets and I was really nurturing that emotion. When I was coming back to my parent’s house I was everything they had. If they had a whole bowl of candy I was on it until it was empty. Sometimes when I was at home working on my laptop in the evening I was eating three regular bars of cholate in one sitting. I love it. One day I’ve really decided to stop”. Now after 9 month he feels energized, healthier, lighter. He doesn’t experience neither energy swings nor huge sugar urges. Every once in a while, he allows himself to eat a piece of cake but this is just a reward. It’s not an urge, instinct or a habit. This allows him to really enjoy the moment.
We can apply this to anything. Like Reading. What’s if you decide to read for 15 minutes a day before going to bed? That’s pretty easy to do. But since it’s pretty easy to do, it’s also pretty so easy to ignore it. If you read for 15 minutes tonight you won’t suddenly wake up smarter or more enlighten tomorrow morning. But what about a year from now? That’s going to be at least 6 books. 6 good books can literally turn you to completely different person. Whether it will be related to finances, sales, accounting, relationships or overall happiness. But first you need to make that decision.
Every little decision
Paradox – on one hand you can fall for the unsuccessful mindset ‘well, it’s not like this little decision matters’ but in reality, the little decisions we make are all that matters. Every little decision of yours will be compounded at the end of the year. Who you are will be the result of it all. Neither you, me nor anyone else will be able to control every piece of our behavior. Luckily, we are not those little robots which do everything right. But at least we are more aware of how we think about little things and we can change them piece by piece.
Try to align more of your little decision with your vision. The more you can do it the closer you will be to the person you really want to become. Take responsibility for where you are in life. It’s always us who decide to buy that soda.
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