Improvement is a weird thing. You don’t often see it happening, despite tireless effort, never ending workouts, and what feels like thousands of hours of practice.
Sometimes weeks go by and you feel like there’s been ZERO improvement. I got the chance to talk to a friend last night about how incredibly frustrating this can be; we, like every other instant-gratification-loving human, want results NOW.
I told her about a book I read several years ago called The Compound Effect. I highly recommend it, my boss/trainer at the time was a huge believer in it and he’s a shining example of it's teaching. The book goes into far greater detail, but the overarching message is this: small, consistent actions over time lead to major, lasting results.
Champions are not made overnight. Wealth is not accumulated quickly. This isn’t a terribly new concept; we’ve all heard the cliche: Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Yet, isn’t it so simple to think: Yeah, but the Romans were idiots, obviously. Not me! I’m the exception to that rule, I can make this happen WAY faster! (Sorry, Romans, you did your best.)
It had been a while since I recorded myself sparring, so last night I took a video. While I felt like it wasn’t my best, I looked at a video from February and realized, WOW, I’ve improved! Drastically. In a way that made me think, how have I not noticed this?
Because it's microscopic. It's the little tweaks that you make a thousand times in a row. It's the hours and hours and hours of throwing the SAME kick in order to finally do it right once. Of course you can't see improvement when you're in the thick of it; but perspective is a beautiful thing and time is a critical tool. Watching those two clips back to back was like watching two different people.
And that's the compound effect in action — under appreciated yet profound.
There's an Under Armour commercial that just nails it: "You are the sum of all your training." In everything you do, the person you are right now is a result of repeated actions.
Let that motivate you to continue how you're living or spur you into making a change. Because the truth is: day in, day out, you build yourself.
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