A popular psychological strategy is to set small goals or start slowly.. This strategy usually fails due to a lack of significant progress despite having achieved several small goals. . There is a good reason for this.The S curve or logistic function is a useful model to understand why this strategy rarely produces the expected results.
DW was kind enough to plot this sigmoid for me. Imagine that you are sitting at the bottom left with some aspect of your life.The bottom left is a budget disaster situation. , being out of shape, being socially incompetent, being unproductive at work, not having an education, etc. whatever ails you. The ultimate goal is to sit at the top right.The top right is a wealth situation.
being in top shape, being popular, being hyper-productive, knowing everything, etc. Pick one and call it P. If this is too algebraic for you (it is for some!), just think “Productivity” instead of “P”. .It will work with a lot of patience, but often this patience is hard to come by. The increase in productivity is proportional to the current productivity (quite low on the left) and is proportional to the potential for higher productivity (currently very high). . This makes sense, firstly, because if you’re already productive, you can more easily become more productive by building on what you already have, and secondly, when the potential is high, then there’s no holding back. Conversely, if your productivity is very high (upper right corner), then your potential to increase productivity is low (the curve is no longer going up very fast) and you won’t be much more productive despite your efforts (going further down the road). right). ). This is the main point of the Pareto principle and one of the key principles of
The 4 hour work week
Here’s an equation for the geeks logistic functionWhat it says is that with few resources, the capacity for change will be proportional to the resources. This is like compound interest.Compound interest itself never made anyone rich. Invest $1 at 8% and wait 30 years and get $10. This is nothing. But invest $100,000 at 8% for 30 years and you’ll get $1,000,000. That is real money. To get anywhere, it is very important to accumulate resources as quickly as possible. Setting small goals in this situation is a guaranteed way to not see results very quickly. On the contrary, putting in a lot of effort is a guaranteed way to see immediate and increasing returns.
Once a foundation has been built, motivation should come automatically. . In the middle of the curve where there is a linear relationship between effort and results. Work harder and get more results. Work less and get less results. In other words, this is the stage where the extra effort is more rewarding than at the beginning. It’s best to get to this stage as quickly as possible, because starting too slow causes people to give up more often than not.
With more effort, the productivity ceiling begins to appear due to limits of resources, clients, responsibilities, market size, etc. You may have come across a job description that could be done in 3 hours even though you nominally had to work 8. In that case, you know what I mean by hitting the productivity ceiling. In such a case, it makes little sense to increase the work effort by 25% if the return only increases by 5%. In such a case, it is better to start additional projects or seek more responsibility.So there it is.
Almost every business works like an S-curve that goes from the bottom left corner to the top right corner.
. It is important to embed this curve in his thinking because it includes the ideas of compound growth as well as the law of diminishing returns. Understanding this curve reveals that, by sheer scale, setting small goals to start with won’t accomplish much. Most likely a few weeks of half-hearted efforts will pass and the project will be abandoned because it didn’t seem to make any difference anyway. Instead, push hard at first and keep going until the returns are linear (in the middle). Continue as long as you see linear growth. When this growth starts to slow, it’s time to set different (not bigger) goals instead of continuing to compete for too few returns.
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