Eyes on the Prize

John Cousins
March 4, 2023
3 min read
Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

A powerful inflection point in my life came when I became aware of the micro-decisions and tiny choices I was constantly making. I started to realize that small course corrections and direction changes lead to entirely different places over time.

I stopped thinking like a catepillar and more like a butterfly. We may be worms, but we can be glow worms.

The small moments and what we decide to do with them transform us over the long haul.

Every minute of one’s life, one is either developing or diminishing.

“Each person’s task in life is to become an increasingly better person.” — Leo Tolstoy

We frequently believe that tremendous accomplishment demands massive action. However, if we improve by 1% every day, we will be 37 times better at the end of the year, and if we decline by 1% per day, we will end up approaching zero. This cumulative effect is the Magic of Compounding. Compounding works in finance, and it works with human behavior.

There is a fascinating article in the latest Sports Illustrated about Cooper Kupp and how he focused on small body mechanics and awareness to become a major force in the NFL.

A year is too short-term to visualize as reaching goals. I realized that if I thought of a year as the time horizon for accomplishment, I thought and imagined too small.

We overestimate what we can accomplish in a year while underestimating what we can achieve in a decade.

When we don’t see the fruits of our efforts immediately, we risk falling back into old habits. But to truly forecast where we’ll end up, we need to appreciate how our everyday decisions will compound a decade or two down the road — eyes on the prize.

Photo by Matt Duncan on Unsplash

“Many mickles form a muckle” was one of George Washington’s favorite sayings. It illustrates a universal truth: things pile up. And it is much easier to be mindful and take tiny steps in the direction we want to go. Looking back on his life, Zeno would comment, “Well-being is realized in modest increments, yet it is certainly no small thing.”

When it comes to personal development “sudden” is the result of a lot of “gradual.”

“I can do nothing for you but work on myself. You can do nothing for me but work on yourself!” Ram Dass

Every action you take represents a choice for who you want to be. Although no single event will change your thoughts, the proof of your new persona will increase as the choices and actions accumulate.

Woody Allen famously said that,

“80 percent of success is showing up.”

I think the other 50 percent is awareness and behavior. : )

Every day of your life, show up to your various activities and watch for small incremental shifts in your awareness and behavior, and make sure to appreciate those small triumphs.

Andrew Carnegie once said

“The average person puts only 25% of his energy and ability into his work. The world takes off its hat to those who put in more than 50% of their capacity, and stands on its head for those few and far between souls who devote 100%.”

This is your time. Seize the Day.

Little choices and actions are our chrysalides.

Photo by Bankim Desai on Unsplash

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John Cousins
Author, Entrepreneur, & Teacher

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