Reflect, Revise, Remix your life!
March 22, 2021

Elephant Bites - Life Accumulates. (The Compound Effect)

Elephant Bites - Life Accumulates. (The Compound Effect)

You might remember hearing phrases like these from time to time:

You can eat an elephant one bite at a time. 

Do it step by step. 

If you’re like me you’ve heard these hundreds of times, they are in popular culture and we’re acclimated to them, and they can even get a little annoying. But the reason these phrases have stood the test of time is because they are true – that’s how it works. 

One of the wisest things you can do is to learn how the world works, and then begin to operate based on how the world works. The great thing is, we don’t have to like the way it works in order to follow the system. All we need to understand is HOW it works. Not whether we like it or not. If I want to get where I want to go, all of that has to be irrelevant. 

Let’s face it – if incremental steps didn’t work, we wouldn’t still be sharing these phrases. And it’s tiresome, because it’s obvious. Because we’re numb to these proverbs, they don’t grab our attention like they should. Maybe because we’re impatient. 

But the truth is, if you lost two pounds a month, in one year you would be 24 pounds lighter. If you saved $100 a month, in one year you would have $1200. 

So why don’t we always do it? Why don’t we act like it? I think it’s about 50/50 between these two problems. 

We don’t trust incremental change will work the way we want it to. 

Or we don’t trust ourselves to keep taking the steps (we think, why should I start doing this, I’d be wasting my time because I’ll probably quit before I’ve reached my goal.) 

I used to get inspired to practice the piano, and I’d take a weekend, and practice for six hours that weekend. All proud of myself. Then 45 days later, I’d get inspired again. In those middle 45 days, I’d question my commitment to learning, and question my ability. Then it would fester and make me feel a little bit bad about myself every day, until that six weeks or so came around and I’d do another marathon practice. 

I did not make leaps in progress until I began to sit down every day for 10 to 15 minutes and consistently work on the techniques I want to have, the skills I wanted to have. 

I did the same thing learning Spanish. I’d get excited about the language, buy a new book, download and print 50 worksheets, then spend a few hours learning, until the excitement was all burned off, worked off. Then six months later I’d get the bug again. I didn’t make progress until I said “at least one lesson a day, every day. 5-10 minutes a day.” Such a small bite, but that elephant is getting eaten now. 

I have a similar pattern with everything I’ve done. It’s easy to work when you’re feeling inspired, it’s harder to work when you’re not feeling anything. It’s fun to spend hours setting up a new business, it’s harder to look for clients, make the calls and experience the rejection. 

The great new of the day is that you don’t have to trust yourself. You only have to put faith in incremental change, and take those small bites, those small steps. And then, only work on TODAY. Take the biggest step you can, TODAY towards your goals and desires. Doesn’t matter if it’s small. Doesn’t matter if it seems like much. 

Little steps in the right direction. 

As long as you keep taking even these little steps, you will begin to see progress – and that will inspire you to take larger steps sometimes. 

Jim Rohn defined failure this way: A few simple errors in judgement, practiced every day. What if you ate just a little bit unhealthy every day for five years? The destruction doesn’t come after one day, but after 5 years of “just a little bit unhealthy” and disaster will be coming. 

Life accumulates. The good and the bad. Everything you have now is the accumulated effect of everything you’ve done up til now. This is inescapable. 


Transcript

SM013 Elephant Bites- Life Accumulates

 

Welcome to the Second Mix Podcast where we reflect, revise, and remix our lives, my name is Matthew Bennett. I’ve been talking about the Cycles of Complexity and how to get through some of the tough things life throws at us. Your ethos, in my definition, is your philosophy on life mixed with your mindset. 

 

You might remember hearing phrases like these from time to time:

 

You can eat an elephant one bite at a time. 

 

Do it step by step. 

 

If you’re like me you’ve heard these hundreds of times, they are in popular culture and we’re acclimated to them, and they can even get a little annoying. But the reason these phrases have stood the test of time is because they are true – that’s how it works. 

 

One of the wisest things you can do is to learn how the world works, and then begin to operate based on how the world works. The great thing is, we don’t have to like the way it works in order to follow the system. All we need to understand is HOW it works. Not whether we like it or not. If I want to get where I want to go, all of that has to be irrelevant. 

 

Let’s face it – if incremental steps didn’t work, we wouldn’t still be sharing these phrases. And it’s tiresome because it’s obvious. Because we’re numb to these proverbs, they don’t grab our attention like they should. Maybe because we’re impatient. 

 

But the truth is, if you lost two pounds a month, in one year you would be 24 pounds lighter. If you saved $100 a month, in one year you would have $1200. 

 

So why don’t we always do it? Why don’t we act like it? I think it’s about 50/50 between these two problems. 

 

We don’t trust incremental change will work the way we want it to. 

Or we don’t trust ourselves to keep taking the steps (we think, why should I start doing this, I’d be wasting my time because I’ll probably quit before I’ve reached my goal.) 

 

I used to get inspired to practice the piano, and I’d take a weekend, and practice for six hours that weekend. All proud of myself. Then 45 days later, I’d get inspired again. In those middle 45 days, I’d question my commitment to learning, and question my ability. Then it would fester and make me feel a little bit bad about myself every day until that six weeks or so came around and I’d do another marathon practice. 

 

I did not make leaps in progress until I began to sit down every day for 10 to 15 minutes and consistently work on the techniques I want to have, the skills I wanted to have. 

 

I did the same thing learning Spanish. I’d get excited about the language, buy a new book, download and print 50 worksheets, then spend a few hours learning, until the excitement was all burned off, worked off. Then six months later I’d get the bug again. I didn’t make progress until I said “at least one lesson a day, every day. 5-10 minutes a day.” Such a small bite, but that elephant is getting eaten now. 

 

I have a similar pattern with everything I’ve done. It’s easy to work when you’re feeling inspired, it’s harder to work when you’re not feeling anything. It’s fun to spend hours setting up a new business, it’s harder to look for clients, make the calls and experience the rejection. 

 

The great news of the day is that you don’t have to trust yourself. You only have to put faith in incremental change, and take those small bites, those small steps. And then, only work on TODAY. Take the biggest step you can, TODAY towards your goals and desires. Doesn’t matter if it’s small. Doesn’t matter if it seems like much. 

 

Little steps in the right direction. 

 

As long as you keep taking even these little steps, you will begin to see progress – and that will inspire you to take larger steps sometimes. 

 

Jim Rohn defined failure this way: A few simple errors in judgment, practiced every day. What if you ate just a little bit unhealthy every day for five years? The destruction doesn’t come after one day, but after 5 years of “just a little bit unhealthy” and disaster will be coming. 

 

Life accumulates. The good and the bad. Everything you have now is the accumulated effect of everything you’ve done up until now. This is inescapable. We are either accumulating the good stuff or the bad stuff. Or maybe a little bit of both. 

 

Are you accumulating liabilities for your future, or are you accumulating equity for your future? The choice really is yours. 

 

Because success is also cumulative. A few simple disciplines practiced every day. 

 

Whether it’s errors in judgment or simple disciplines, it’s going to grow over time and accumulate – either in regret or success. 

 

The beautiful thing is that those little steps to success aren’t really that hard – in fact, they are a lot easier than regret – and the returns in your joy and your self-esteem – those are early returns that make it easier to keep going. 

 

The promise here is clear – if you keep taking small steps towards your goals, you will reach them. 

 

What’s the next thing on your list? Where can you make even the tiniest bit of progress today? I assure you that one step will lead to another, and then another, and you’ll not only be cleaning up that list of things you’ve got blocking up your mind, you will also clearly see the next steps you need to take. 

 

I want to be proud of every day. At the end of each day, I want to be able to say, “If every day is like this day, then it will be no problem achieving all my goals, in time.”

 

Thanks for listening. You can grab the transcript on the blog at secondmix.net if you want to look these over again and extract everything that is useful to you. If you have any questions please email me at matt@secondmix.net, I would love to hear from you!

 

Please give me 5 stars whenever and wherever you can and subscribe to get the most up-to-date episodes. If you know anyone who might find this information useful or helpful, please join my mission and tell them about this show – I’ll be here every Monday and Thursday until the national debt is paid off. 

 

Take those steps that will make your week incredible.  I’ll be back on Thursday - until then keep reflecting, revising and remixing your life. I’ll see you soon!