The 1% Rule: Improving Your Craft
The new year gets a lot of us thinking about goals and improvements. I made a post here about what my financial goals are for 2017, keeping in mind our guest post's "How to set Better Financial Goals" over at Finance Superhero. What I'd like to discuss today is a broader topic than goals or goal setting.
Improvement. When you're awake to what's going on in your world of finance, you will find that there are few others out there that actually take advantage of the vast source of knowledge is held within the internet, or even at your local library. According to a study performed in 2003 by The Jenkins Group, one third of high school graduates never read another book the rest of their lives. 42% of college graduates never read another book after college.
I'm sure it's a giant problem from a societal perspective: without people reading and improving themselves, being exposed to ideas that other people have put great thought and in some cases their lifes work into producing, developed society is going to get progressively dumber. But, not all of us. Indeed, there are those 58% of college graduates that do continue to read after college. Of that percentage, there are probably only a few that read regularly, and of those few that read regularly, an even smaller portion actively pursue new knowledge in their field of expertise through reading. It is these people that will lead the masses when idiocy has claimed the world. This is what I would like to focus on discussing.
The only thing you have to do to be part of that elite is to improve consistently. You want to be better! 100% better even! Now that I think about it, It seems tough to improve by 100%. An arduous task indeed. This is where the 1% rule comes in. Improving yourself by 1% every day, you reach a 100% above your starting point in a mere 70 days. Thus is the power of compounding improvements.
In your field of expertise, or your career, it doesn't seem too bad to learn one new tip, trick, or technique every day. Given an 8 hour shift that shouldn't be anything at all. But so many of us in the workplace begin to get comfortable with the idea that improvement isn't necessary. Or it takes too much work to learn new skills. This is where knowledge becomes your friend. With tools such as expert books and the internet, conquering any task that may come before you in your day job has likely been encountered in some form by hundreds or thousands before you.
Ok then you have days where you may actually need to work and not learn things. This happens quite a bit and let's not pretend otherwise. What do you do on a day like this? You learn something at home. Even if it takes you two whole weeks of research to decide on which piston rings to use and what gap to set on your 454 that you want to spray with nitrous, that's still pretty good. Because technically by changing piston rings you are probably learning a hundred sub-things that add up to that one simple task when the job is finally done. No doubt this can carry over to other things you want to do like actually install the nitrous and not blow the engine, which could lead up to producing a reliable pump gas sub-11 second street car someday.
I digress, but only slightly. The takeaway here is to continually improve no matter what at a reasonable pace. Lo and behold - one day you will be replacing the completion of small tasks with tasks that you once thought were almost too large to overcome! This is most definitely the greatest satisfaction a person can feel is doing something right when it was super hard to do and learning all about it on the way.