Chip, Inch, Nudge Away at Change

Change can happen suddenly and it can happen steadily.

Sudden change needs no publicist. It is brilliant at hogging headlines: the stock market soars, the hurricane sweeps through, the overnight success (though I have yet to find the writer who wrote a book in one night and skyrocketed to success the next morning).

Today, I’d like to do some PR for steady change. The writer Anthony Trollope put it this way: “A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.”

In that spirit, each day, if I…

Write three pages, that’s 90 in one month, nearly a whole book in two.

Cut 10 minutes off my phone time, I free up more than an hour a week.

Get up two minutes earlier than the morning before, that’s an hour in 30 days.

Whenever possible, I like to chip, inch, nudge away at change. Anything more and I can resent it, gin up excuses not to do it.

And if this steady change feels like it’s too small, too slow to be consequential, I remind myself of two things:

First, worthwhile change takes time. Worthwhile change that I can sustain takes more time.

And second, this beautiful wisdom from historian Gershom Gorenberg: “A very slow drip erodes rock.”

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