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Tiny changes, compound effects

There's a truly powerful concept that we all know but tend to forget when it comes to ourselves: the power of 1% improvements.  

The power of 1% improvements


We know but tend to forget that big breakthroughs and significant moments of success are the outcome of several small steps and actions repeated over time.


These small steps gradually build up the necessary skills, knowledge, and momentum needed to bring about a wonderful achievement.


This pattern shows up all across nature.


The formation of stalactites and stalagmites in caves is a result of tiny cumulative effect of drip erosion. Over time, droplets of water containing dissolved minerals slowly drip from cave ceilings and floors. As each droplet evaporates, it leaves behind a tiny deposit of minerals. Layer by layer, these deposits accumulate, eventually forming stunning stalactites hanging from the ceiling and stalagmites rising from the cave floor.


Coral reefs are intricate and diverse ecosystems that are built by tiny coral polyps over time. These small organisms deposit calcium carbonate to create their exoskeletons, gradually expanding the reef. Each individual polyp's contribution may seem insignificant, but the collective efforts of countless polyps over many years result in the formation of massive and biodiverse coral reefs.

For the first several years of its life, bamboo remains mostly hidden underground as it develops its strong root system. The underground growth is crucial for the plant's overall health, development and expansion. It continuous to grow unobserved until the shoots are ready to emerge. And from there they grow rapidly: within 2 to 4 months, the culms can reach their full height, which can be over 100 feet tall given optimal conditions.


The same goes for our daily habits: the small actions we repeat every day.


Small repeated actions may not seem to make much of a difference at first, but once you reach a certain point, they can unlock a whole new level of performance and spring up 100 feet above ground!

Tiny changes, big impact


Often, we underestimate the significance of small habits and overvalue singular breakthroughs.


However, the math is simple: improving by just 1% each day can yield remarkable long-term results.


If you consistently grow by 1% daily for a year, you'll become 37 times better.


Conversely, a 1% decline daily leads to near-zero performance.


These examples from nature teach us a valuable lesson: the cumulative effect of small improvements is extraordinary.


Whether in sports, business, or personal life, embracing the power of 1% improvements can lead to remarkable achievements over the coming months and years.

Credits: Atomic Habits by James Clear

Habits have a compounding effect


Small changes or actions, when consistently applied over time, can lead to significant results or growth. This is known as compounding: the cumulative impact of continuous or repeated actions. Similar to how compound interest in finance grows exponentially over time, the compounding effect amplifies the impact of incremental efforts, leading to substantial outcomes.


Put simply,


Time magnifies the difference between success and failure. It amplifies the consequences of your habits.


Here are some examples of positive compounding:


  • Productivity. Each small task you accomplish adds up and contributes to your overall success. Automating tasks or learning new skills can have an even greater impact. As you become more efficient, your brain can focus on other important things.

  • Knowledge. While learning one new idea may not make a huge difference, a commitment to lifelong learning can be life-changing. Each book you read not only teaches you something new but also expands your perspectives. Knowledge builds up, just like compound interest.

  • Relationships. The way you treat others reflects back on you. When you help others, they are more likely to help you in return. Making it a habit to be kind in every interaction can lead to a wide and strong network of connections over time.

  • Finances. Consistently saving a portion of your income over time can lead to significant financial growth. Each small contribution accumulates, and with the power of compound interest, your savings can multiply.

  • Health. Regular exercise and healthy habits, even if done in small increments, can gradually improve your fitness level. Each workout, healthy meal, or active choice contributes to your overall well-being and physical strength.

  • Career. Making small efforts to improve your skills, network with others, and take on new challenges at work can lead to career growth. Each additional project, skill learned, or connection made expands your professional opportunities.



It's the things that you do regularly, your habits, that determine your long-term outcomes. For example, how you handle money affects how much money you have, what you eat affects your health, what you learn affects how much you know, and how you clean affects how tidy your surroundings are.


Choose your direction. Your current state of success or failure doesn't matter as much as the direction your habits are taking you. Even small actions that you do over and over again can make a big difference in shaping what lies ahead for you.

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