#926 Gains: Micro + Jumbo

Aggregate/Compound + Combo Locks

In our last +1, we had fun hopping in the Optimizing River of Flexibility for a little CANOE-ing fun. (Constant And Never-ending Optimizing Experimentation for the (joyful!) win!!)

Today I want to pull that thread just a bit further.

As we discuss pretty much all the time, it’s (super!) easy to overlook the power of tiny little changes.

We strive to do our best moment to moment to moment. We run little experiments. Make slight improvements. Stick to the Optimal behavior such that our best becomes our new baseline. Repeat.

This is the whole point of entire books like Atomic Habits, The Compound Effect, The Slight Edge, One Small Step, Etc. Etc. Etc.

But here’s the thing…

Sometimes you make a tiny little improvement and throw it into the big bucket of tiny improvements and cross your (Sorites) fingers that over the long run what all the experts say is, in fact, true. The gains will aggregate and compound and change your life.

James Clear comes to mind. He says: “Making a choice that is 1 percent better or 1 percent worse seems insignificant in the moment, but over the span of moments that make up a lifetime these choices determine the difference between who you are and who you could be. Success is the product of daily habits—not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.


Sometimes, you make a little change and CLICK!!

It’s as if we just found the last number on a combination lock we’ve been trying to open for years.

Jim Rohn comes to mind. He says: “Ideas can change your life. And sometimes all you need is just one more good idea in a series of good ideas. It’s like dialing the numbers of a combination lock. After you’ve dialed five or six numbers, the lock may not come open. But you probably don’t need five or six more numbers. Maybe you need just one more number, one more idea. Maybe a seminar or a sermon can provide it. The lyrics from a song could do it. The dialogue from a movie could do it. Conversation with a friend might do it. If you keep your eyes and ears open, you’ll find that one last idea you need. Once you find that idea, the lock comes open, and there’s the door for you to walk through. Just one more idea, no matter where you get it, may be all you need to open that door of opportunity.

The fun part?

You never know whether the next little experiment is going to wind up being a nice little +1% investment in the long-term Optimizing campaign or a “Holy WOW! That little decision literally just changed my life!” combination-lock-clicking moment.

For example, I’m (obviously) constantly Optimizing.

It’s been fun to see all the little things add up over the years such that I barely recognize some aspects of myself from a couple years ago let alone a couple decades ago.

It’s ALSO been fun to see some INSTANT changes.

Like when I stopped consuming dairy nearly 20 years ago and my lifetime of excess mucus disappeared over night. (Seriously. 🤓)

Or… Like when I stopped eating grains 7 years ago and my gut and migraines and weird skin issues disappeared nearly overnight. (Seriously. 🤓)

Or, more recently, when I started eating my last meal 4 hours before bedtime and saw my resting heart rate and heart rate variability get Optimized (by nearly 10% and over 30%, respectively) THAT NIGHT. (“Show me the Glymph!!!”)

Today’s +1.

Let’s do a quick inventory of a few of the micro-gains that have added up over the years:

1. ________________________
2. ________________________
3. ________________________


How about one or two of the “Holy wow! That changed my life” jumbo-gains?!

1. ________________________

Nice work.

Group high five.

Now, let’s get back to Optimizing. 🤠

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