There is an idea I think about everyday. I learned it from entrepreneur James Altucher. This is his idea: “Nothing is going to change for you tomorrow.” Habits, after all, do not change in one day. With his idea comes this single rule: “1% a day makes every habit work. Every.”
What this means is that if you want to succeed at anything in this world, you have to work a little each day. You can’t change everything tomorrow. Thinking that way will absolutely result in failure. But, allowing yourself permission to improve just a little bit daily? That’s doable. You can do that. That is how you form a habit.
“If you insist, I need to change RIGHT NOW, then it won’t work. You’ll only get worse.”
Improving a little bit every day compounds, like interest. “Compounding tiny excellence is what creates big excellence.” Every success story has lived by this rule.
It works the other way, too. Everyday you can decrease by 1%. You can increase just as easily as you can increase. Every day is a choice, and every day matters. This rule applies to absolutely everything. Here are a few places to start:
1. Learn to tell a story
Read a story every day. Read about what makes a good story. Stories are what make up this world, and you need to have at least a few under your belt in order to become A Memorable Person. Memorable during a first date, a job interview, meeting your S.O.’s parents for the first time.
One Disney exec uses a single prompt to separate out the best candidate for a job (regardless of department) within seconds.
“Tell me a story.”
Figure out what your story is. Who are you? If you’re stuck, check out this Fast Company piece detailing how UCB founder Matt Besser does it.
2. Embrace your failures
When you first start something, you will fail more often than not. That’s life, bucko! Get used to it. Speaking of Disney, Walt himself was told he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas” by his before he went on to become Walt Disney. Kurt Vonnegut wrote daily for 25 years before he finally wrote a major bestseller. Stephen King’s Carrie was rejected over 30 times before his wife pulled it out of the trash and convinced him to submit it one last time.
The greatest basketball player of all time famously said:
“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
And you expect to just be good at something right away?
3. Take a break
Protecting yourself from burnout is vital for mental and physical health. Remind yourself to breathe, switch your environment whenever possible, meditate. Try the Pomodoro Technique, prided on its focus-building and brain-training capacities. Set a timer and do some stretches every hour. Take a walk— Green spaces have been found to lessen brain fatigue, allowing your thoughts to refocus and your mind to work more clearly.
4. Get up earlier
Get up 1 minute earlier everyday. You can do that, right? That’s 15 minutes earlier within 2 weeks, 30 minutes earlier within a month. Getting up earlier will not only enable you to get the metaphorical worm, but allow you time to set your goals for the day. What are you doing when you stay up past 10, anyway? Nothing productive.