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The Heretic is a free dispatch delivering insights into what it takes to lead into & in the unknown. For entrepreneurs, corporate irritants and change makers. Raw, unfiltered and opinionated.

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Feb 1st, 2015 Share: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

Marginal Gains

We humans have a tendency to overestimate the role of “breakthroughs”: Media feeds us this story of either the lone inventor or a group of people getting together, chipping away on a problem for a long time and than, one night, having the glorious Eureka moment. The moment when a startup goes from barely scraping by to overnight success.

That sounds great. But is typically not what happens.

What happens in reality is that any success is a series of marginal gains. Of many hard-won little victories, each and every day. Of pushing and persevering. Of making tiny gains — often so small that you can’t even measure them. Only in aggregate do they show results.

It’s so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making better decisions on a daily basis. Almost every habit that you have — good or bad — is the result of many small decisions over time.

Instead of praying for that breakthrough — focus on making a tiny improvement today. And tomorrow. And the day after tomorrow. And the day after that.

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