WEDNESDAY, 28 DECEMBER 2016
Who begins their day with a manifesto on their lips, and a finely worked-out blueprint in their heads?
The fact is, most people’s days start with necessity: you get up because you need to go to the bathroom, because you are hungry, and because you have made arrangements with people and businesses, and if you do not show up, you’re going be in trouble.
And so begins your day. Eventually, you shower and you brush your teeth, you get dressed, and you go somewhere to earn your bread and butter, or to otherwise be of value to the community.
Layer upon layer your day is built up. Here and there you make a mistake. Here and there you say something or you do something that embarrasses you, but after a few minutes or an hour or so you are in full swing again.
By the time the day is over, you will perhaps look back on a good and relatively successful day. Did you start with slogans rolling over your lips, and a neatly printed plan waiting next to your bed for you to follow like an obedient robot? Most likely not, although you may have had a good idea of how you would like your day to progress.
So it is with other endeavours and projects that you undertake. You have a good idea of what you need to do to achieve reasonably good results. You have a good idea what you should do to stay out of trouble. You still make the occasional mistake, and every so often you slide on a banana peel. But successful results, like a good and successful day, is built up layer by layer – ten, twenty, a hundred big and small actions and steps following after another to produce a good result.
Slogans are good. Manifestoes have their place. Surely you have to know what you must do. But success is more often than not the result of layer upon layer of small, seemingly insignificant actions. Just like a good and successful day.
Not exactly on the same topic, but in the same spirit: Scott Adams wrote the following in a blog post at Dilbert.COM: “The idea of a talent stack is that you can combine ordinary skills until you have enough of the right kind to be extraordinary. You don’t have to be the best in the world at any one thing. All you need to succeed is to be good at a number of skills that fit well together.”