How many times have you heard people saying: That’s it! I’m going to do it once and for all. Then, the next thing you know, they’re starting all over again. So, what’s wrong? Perhaps I should’ve said: What’s right? Why do they go back to square one again? Are they just not good enough? It seems most of us expect our one-shot attempt to be a magic bullet. That’s all it takes to hit the target, then things will be OK, done and dusted in no time. No doubt it’s an unrealistic expectation. But our love-hate relationship with a fairy tale ending isn’t going anywhere. It is here to stay. It doesn’t matter where we come from, we all like feel-good, happy endings.
Arguably, what I’m paraphrasing here is considered to be the mainstream: Experts say it takes 28 days on average to form a new habit and 10,000 hours to master a new skill. It goes to show repetition is the key to mastery. Every time we do things repeatedly, it means we literally start from scratch at least once or several times. Say if I’m a negative thinker and I want to be a more positive thinker. To achieve that new self, it’d require a range of self-talk exercise and self-discipline regimen day in and day out for as long as it takes. Trying things like that is dead boring and counter-intuitive. Why? It turns against our obsession with instant gratification. Our brains just aren’t wired to approve things that are uneasy, dull, mundane and repetitive. But are we just going to give in or give up?
Through my research, those so-called successful people have one thing in common: it’s all about taking small steps in succession. They built their business empires from the ground up, one small brick at a time, way before they saw the profit start rolling in. Reaching our peak requires daily work and maintenance. It takes time.
Of course I have my fair share of challenges in this domain. Take this blog post for example, from spending a couple of hours trying to come up with a smart, catchy title, to losing the point of what I meant to write about half way through, then editing, deleting again and again etc. Judging by the output, the word count, it’s been a very slow, arduous process. But hey here’s an unexpected find, as I dived into the topic a bit more, I started to create my own “live”, “real-time” learning experience. Many baby steps, some repetitions have taken me up to this point, this paragraph, these words I’m writing. When I struggle to make some progress next time, I know this is the blog post that I’ll come back to again and again…