Beginner Level

The impact of small things

How small changes can lead to big outcomes
minutes read

Analyze the power of small doings!

Our brains have evolved in such a way that our attention spans grow shorter every day. In such an age and time, some apps specifically design algorithms to cater to our brief attention spans and feed into our need constant need for an immediate dopamine surge. This is to ensure that we’re spending more and more time on their platforms.

It seems that we are bound to this circadian cycle and this cycle has manifested and imposed itself onto other, crucial aspects of our lives without our consent. How many times has it so happened that you’ve thought of accomplishing something, taken a few steps towards it, didn’t get any reward quickly, and before you knew it, you had instantly given up!

For example, you were tired of all the books piling up at the end of the semester when the exams were near, so you decided to study regularly during the next semester. But then the next semester started and there was a lot of fun to be had, there was the bulging responsibility of being a cool and responsible friend, and you didn’t even acknowledge that you had books to read over and a goal to accomplish! This cycle repeats itself time and time again even though you know it’s unhealthy and you’re the one that’s left suffering. However, it’s hard to break free from it because there is no immediate surge of satisfaction that you receive from it.

Behaviors that are rewarded are more likely to be repeated throughout a longer period.

Consistency is the key.

This is why committing to something extreme all at once is not advised. A person who has smoked cigarettes for years wouldn't be able to give up on it randomly and quickly, on one fine Thursday morning. A morbidly obese person wouldn’t be able to lose all the excess weight in a week and continue with the rest of their life as a perfectly healthy and fit individual from the next week. A newborn human baby doesn’t instantly learn how to walk as soon as she is out of her mother’s womb. The message being conveyed here is - things take time and consistency is key. We underestimate the time and effort it takes to reach such an extensive goal.

What we also tend to underestimate on a large scale is the power of small things over a repeated period. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, pretend that we’re back in the fourth grade, and revisit this old tale. Viru, a weak student couldn’t keep up with the rest of his classmates at the ashram. He couldn’t understand even the most basic concepts, and his Guru initially asked him to exit the class because, despite the best of his efforts, Viru couldn’t progress even a little bit while all his classmates were promoted to higher grades. They presumed that maybe he just wasn’t cut out for studies and they agreed that he should leave. Whilst leaving the ashram for good, Viru felt thirsty and decided to fetch some water from the well to drench his thirst. As he approached the well, he saw a lot of women from the village fetching buckets of water from the well. While this sight was nothing new, something else caught his attention this time - the marks on the inner portion of the well, covered with big and sharp gashes. Confused, Viru asked the women where did all these cuts come from. At first, he thought maybe the women were so powerful to cause such marks on the stone wall, but the women clarified that it wasn’t them but the repeated use of the rope against the stone wall that caused the well to have such significant gashes. This was a moment of realization for Viru, and Viru swore that if a soft rope can cause such massive damage to a strong and mighty stone wall, then why can’t he practice consistently and learn?

The story sounds inspiring, doesn’t it? We can incorporate the same analogy into our lives, and use the example of the rope as the repeated, positive changes we make on a timely basis to let it impact our lives. But step needs dedication and time. One can only be hell-bent on that particular goal to stick through the trials and tribulations that it has to offer, for it to have the impact that they envisioned it to have.

Thus, sticking to a goal is something people find so hard to work through! They’re already embarking on the journey with preconceived notions, the notion that the journey is going to be most likely a convenient, feasible, and linear one. If things take a turn or go slightly off the track from their imagination and expectations, their initial instinct is to just give up!

The Plateau of Latent Potential

The graph above highlights a prominent disconnect between our idea of how we think about the turn of events and how they should take place VS what happens as they take place and form a concrete shape. We envision merely a one-dimensional view to achieve things and just hit the target according to our narrow understanding. On the other hand, the graph highlights the actual reality of the events that transpire when you set out to learn a new skill or achieve a goal. People tend to forget that life keeps happening when they’re prioritizing a target, the day-to-day events of life do not freeze. Hence the stirring every now and then in between the valley of disappointment are visible and astonishing on the graph presented above.

Other than that, the essence and perhaps the reason that goal is even sought after is maintained when a goal is executed when there is no rush! Treating a target like Arjuna's concentration towards the fish's eye has its perks, it also makes people brush through and miss out on perhaps the other pretty important aspects, essentially the purpose of even achieving that goal, overall, rather than just on a personal scale.

Therefore, the graph also illustrates why introducing smaller changes to your life is a much more simple and effective way to achieve and excel at your targets. As you’re already accustomed and aware of what the process has in store for you, but on a much smaller scale, it isn’t as astonishing for you as it is for someone who just immediately started after setting a high expectation for herself and dived right in!

That’s why, instead of introducing yourself to targets and goals, and deadlines, you must introduce yourself to healthy systems that are lasting and sustainable.

As James Clear has said in his book called the Atomic Habits, “Time magnifies the margin between success and failure. It will multiply whatever you feed it. Good habits make time your ally, bad habits make time your enemy.”

That’s why we have a few daily tips that you can commit to that can magnify your success.

Follow the 21/90 rule.

There is an ample amount of research done that states that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, and another 90 days to make it a part of your lifestyle. If you intend for time and fortune to be on your side, start introducing healthier, productive alternatives to your life. For example, if you’re a GATE Mechanical aspirant and you intend to clear the exam but don't seem to find the motivation or courage to solve numerical questions, start by attempting any 2 of the questions, be it they are harder or relatively easier.

While 21+90=111 seems like a long time to commit to something, three months’ wiggle and fly away like a little bird in a grand scheme of things. So, especially for making big, life-altering changes in your life, 21+90 days would be an absolute bargain.

Don’t let the bad days stop you from achieving your goals

We all have days when fate doesn’t treat us the best and in turn, we live and breathe through some of the hardest days. It is only human to pursue the easier things in our lives and drift from our long-term goals on such days. We’re here to tell you that it’s okay to fail and slack off on such days, but don’t let such days hold you down and not let you fall back on your schedule to achieve what you see yourself desire the most. Slacking off on some days is fine, but you must persuade yourself to keep looming forward, towards your path.

Progress is never linear, so quit trying to achieve it.

Heading 1

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Heading 3

Static and dynamic content editing

Block quote

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

Text link

How to customize formatting for each rich text

  • Item A
  • Item B
  • Item C
  1. Item 1
  2. Item 2
  3. Item 3

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Chandresh Mahajan
Exergic Founder, GATE AIR-37, Ex-Indian Oil Officer

Others also liked...

We’re here to help!
If you’re still having any queries, we’ll be happy to answer it.
No salespeople
You won’t be talking to any salesman. You’ll only be engaging with GATE Toppers as  advisors.
No spam ever
We will NOT keep calling you to sell courses (like other EdTech companies). Spam-free guarantee.