Imagine for a moment if you improved one aspect of your life by just 1% today. Let’s consider relationships. What would happen if you were just 1% nicer to your loved ones? How about if you were 1% nicer to someone at work? How about 1% nicer to everyone at work?
This is what would happen: After people got over the initial shock, they would return the favor. They’d start being nicer to you. Picture how much better your day would be then.
Unfortunately, though, most people don’t realize the power of making small improvements. That’s because everywhere you turn, there are messages telling you that “better” isn’t good enough. Just switch on the TV or flick through a magazine, and you will be bombarded by celebrities, stars, award winners, record breakers, heroes. The fastest, strongest, richest, smartest, and best looking get all the attention . . . until someone faster, stronger, richer, smarter, or better looking comes along! It’s easy to see why some people get discouraged and believe that because they’ll never be the best, there’s no point in trying.
But that’s just plain wrong, because for even the highest of achievers, it’s never simply about the awards and the accolades. For true champions, it’s the journey that counts. The spirit of competition is more important to them than winning or losing. It’s no accident that the Olympic motto is “Swifter, higher, stronger”—not “Swiftest, highest, strongest.” True success is all about striving to be better every single day. Whether you win or lose, you will always have a winner’s heart if you’re always trying to do better.
You may never be the best in the world at what you do, but you can be better today than you were yesterday. Try it now and see what happens. Then try it again tomorrow.
Your personal relationships will benefit from more harmony and love, and greater understanding and support. At work, you will see a boost to your own productivity and of those around you. More professional opportunities will arise, and you will gain greater respect and cooperation from your colleagues. If you have children, they will feel a stronger sense of connectedness to you; they may start getting better grades and you may notice fewer squabbles at home.
And you will have found the path to continual improvement day by day, and to a life filled with purpose and meaning.
(Tom Connellan is a New York Times bestselling author of 10 books. In demand as a keynote speaker by firms such as FedEx, Acura, BMW, Neiman Marcus, Canadian Tire, Marriott, Home Depot, Sobeys, and TD Canada Trust, he has gained a reputation as a “tough talking and truth telling” speaker because he delivers actionable ideas. His latest book, The 1% Solution, shows you how to build a structure for continual improvement in your personal life and career. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit http://www.theonepercentproject.com/.)