“A Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
These are the words that echo through my mind every time I get stuck on a difficult problem or find myself in a rut. Just one push up, one lesson, one paragraph, just one step. Whether it’s mastering a skill or completing your first blog post. The road to success begins with taking that first step.
So now you’ve taken that first step now what? Congratulations, but being consistent and holding yourself accountable to doing the work even when you don’t feel like it, is what separates the average from the extraordinary. As my first blog I’ll be discussing 3 way’s to increase your odds of ending up in the latter category in anything that you do.
“Motivation can falter with feelings, but Discipline doesn’t care how you feel.”
When achieving goals one thing you have to realize is that your motivation will only take you so far. For example check out this graph which is describing the Dunning Kruger effect:
As you can see when starting to learn a difficult skill you have a period during the beginning, where things are going great and you are excited to learn every chance you get. However as you get more and more skilled you start to realize how large the gap is going from a beginner to a expert. This is actually a popular feeling that many people experience , in software engineering especially, called Imposter Syndrome. This feeling occurs in the valley of despair, when you feel like you don’t know enough or aren’t good enough in a particular subject. A good way to overcome this is by having the discipline to doing the work when you don’t feel like it. This is a key difference compared to motivation because motivation can wax and wane but discipline is consistent. Which is what you will need to achieve your goals.
“When you fail to plan, plan to fail.”
In your journey to reaching success and mastery in whatever your subject of interest is one thing you have to pay attention to is planning. Without a smart plan your goals wont really be achievable because practically nobody stumbles upon success. A good system to creating a smart plan and roadmap to success is:
S.M.A.R.T Goal system helps increase your rate of achieving your goals by:
Specific: Being as specific as possible to help you know what you are going to do and how you are going to do it. This also helps alleviate the time and energy it takes to come up with what to do at that specific moment so you can spend your energy on doing.
Measurable: Having measurable goals helps you keep track of your progress so you can adjust your roadmap if anything changes in the future. It also is a nice indicator of showing how much progress you have made. So that when you look back it could help increase motivation which will make it easier for you to get through the valley of despair.
Attainable: Having an attainable and realistic goal is helpful. Although It’s good to dream big, having goals that you know you can achieve will help instill confidence to achieve even bigger goals and dreams. A good way to determine if a goal is achievable is by looking for proof of concept. As in finding other people who have done the same thing or something similar.
Relevant: Does this goal make sense for your current circumstances? If your jobless and live in your moms basement. Now is probably not the best time to be creating a goal to run a marathon. Meaning make sure your goals are align with your larger goals in life and are helping you to achieve them.
Time-bound: Keep a timeline for when you want to achieve your goal by. So that you actually have a way to determine whether you succeed or fail. This will act as a sense of accountability which will in turn help you stay focused on meeting your deadline.
Through this 5 step system to goal setting you can increase your chances drastically for success in any subject.
“Efficiency trumps grit.”
When trying to become a master at a subject or achieve a goal, efficiency will always trump grit. For example someone who study’s for 1 hour studying the top 20% of things to know will always be better at something than if they would have spent 4 hours with the other 80% even though the second person studied longer. This can be seen best with the famous 80/20 rule also known as the Pareto principle:
20% of the effort gives 80% of the results meaning that the time it takes to achieve a goal can be greatly reduced if you focus on the important 20% initially to give you the vast majority of results. This is a critical aspect to achieving goals because time is our most important resource that we tend to take for granted.
All in all, there are many ways to staying consistent in our journey through life and these are just a some of the ways that have worked for me. There is still a ton more I wish to share with you as the reader and I just want to say thanks for reading my first blog post. Stay tuned for next week Monday for more blog posts like these that deal with life skills. Meanwhile this Friday and following Fridays I will post blogs that will be more technical in nature. I will now leave you with my version of Lao Tzu’s quote from the beginning.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step in the right direction” – Prince Nwaonicha