In their article "The Power of Small Wins," Teresa Amabile and Steven J. Kramer share their research on workplace motivation. They found that the daily events that ignited emotions and fueled motivation were the same for ordinary workers and famous innovators.
The secret? Incremental progress.
They write: "Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work. And the more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run."
This progress principle applies to any meaningful endeavor. Making progress toward a goal or developing a habit, creates a positive feedback loop. Not only will you be getting closer to your goal, but the progress itself will motivate you. You will get excited that things are actually happening. This will make you more likely to keep going.
This is why the micro-habits I mentioned in the last video are so important. When you are just beginning, the most important way to jump-start your effort is to make progress.
Incremental progress, small wins, will get you going and keep you going. And progress multiplies exponentially. It's the domino theory.
In his YouTube video, “Domino Chain Reaction,”vStephen Morris, PhD starts with a domino that is only five millimeters high and one millimeter thick. He then lines up 12 additional dominoes that are successively 1.5 times larger. The last domino is three feet tall and weighs 100 pounds. He knocks over the first domino, which results in all the dominos falling. A chain reaction started by a domino the size of a Tic Tac ultimately results in knocking down one that is the size of a very large dog.
Morris calculates that if he had another 16 dominoes, for a total of 29, the last would be as tall as the Empire State Building. This is the power of incremental progress.
It’s amazing what you can do when you focus on incremental progress. All you need to do is get started.
Domino Chain Reaction (geometric growth in action) (youtube.com)