My sophomore year of college I was given a piece of advice that would change my life. I had ventured into a professor’s office hours for help with a 20-page research paper. It was two weeks before the due date and I was struggling. My professor was astonished that I was just now coming in for help. I explained that I had set all these goals for starting at the beginning of the term, a complete 180 from the previous class. I had previously waited until four days before the due date to start a 20-page paper. I was visibly upset with myself, distraught that I had failed so miserably at improving. Professor Schuler advised me that we should attack tasks, goals, life, the same way the Japanese conquered territory instead of the Prussian method of conquering. Japan is still around but who has heard of Prussia? Prussians typically went all in, spread their resources too thin, and then would ultimately lose territory/everything. This method could be compared to what I had done with my goals of completely changing the way I wrote papers. I created lofty goals, did not know how to start, and then was wildly upset when I had failed so miserably. What I should be doing is conquering the way Japan used to conquer territory; 10% at a time. 10% is manageable change. 10% is a significant change.
Growth is challenging. It is challenging to recognize that you have room to grow. It is challenging to want to grow. It is challenging to find the intrinsic motivation to do something about changing. Whether it be personally, physically, or professionally really tangible goals are hard to identify, write, and then achieve. Don’t beat yourself up about achieving all of the things right away. Look for that 10%.