It's the Small Things

Two months ago, I attended a talk by UJ Ramdas, founder of The Five-Minute Journal and the company Intelligent Change. Ramdas came to speak at my crossfit gym during the 6-Week Challenge, in which ladies commit to a rigorous exercise and diet schedule for six weeks. A common concern of any bootcamp is how to maintain the change once the program ends. Reality shows like The Biggest Loser popularize the mentality of quick fixes, without offering the necessary supports afterwards. In fact, most contestants on the show return to their original weight after one year. Why is this phenomenon happening?

In a world of accessible, unlimited knowledge, a problem that facts our generation is the never-ending temptation for instant gratification. We want things, and we want them NOW. When things get tough, individuals become resistant and/or avoidant, moving away from situations that would lead to opportunity and/or growth.

I see this problem first-hand in schools. So many students have such potential, but it remains unrealized because of motivation. If students could frame failure in a realistic and optimistic way, they can achieve so much. Failure is a natural and unavoidable part of learning. Author Seth Godin notes that the pre-learning stage is always stupidity, simply because any ideas and skills are hard when they are first introduced. Failure is a natural part of learning!

To embrace rather than fear failure, UJ Ramdas spoke of the importance of the small deltas, the little changes and victories you create each day. Even though the media focuses on sensational stories, such as the "sudden rise of Facebook," few of these stories show the years of hard work that preceded these successes. Most if not all successes in life (with the exception of the lottery) involve tiny changes that have accumulated over time.

Thus, I implore each of us to embrace the small victories. Let us take our dreams and climb those steps one by one. Let us recognize that transformational change comes from small change, and that the best way to support small change is to choose to show up each day. The way we live each day is the way we live our lives, and by turning these small changes into habits, any transformation is possible.