We live in a culture where we celebrate major milestones, major achievements and everything that is big and great. And so we should. We should acknowledge and celebrate those big successes. However, on the downside we have neglected or overlooked what it took to achieve those big successes. We have forgotten to recognize the micro changes that went into achieving the success. We have put less emphasis on the small steps that it took to achieve a giant leap. We all strive to achieve the major without realizing that it’s the micro that is required to make the major.
There is no success without small steps taken. In fact, micro-changes are required before you are able to even observe or experience any changes. A very simple example and experiment that you could do today. For a day, perform all the task that you would normally do but with your non-dominant hand. Try brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand. I have no doubt that you would feel extremely awkward. You would require extra focus and concentration in order to get a simple task that is habit for you to be completed. And even when you do finish brushing your teeth after all that effort, it was probably not a very good brushing for your teeth. And then try the next task, combing or brushing your hair. How did that feel? Try eating with the other hand, slicing an onion, cooking an egg and so on. You will realise that something so insignificant could actually be so difficult. That one change in how you would perform your everyday task took a lot more time and effort. It was harder and uncomfortable. It was outside of your comfort zone. It was a micro switch in your mindset. By the end of the day, you will realise that even just one small change, a micro change, the implications and impact can be great.
I did that above experiment and so through my experience, I have learned these 3 simple facts:
- Micro-changes can make an impact over a series of actions and time. All our habits and actions are a result of micro-changes that we made at one point in time and repeatedly being practiced. We are an accumulation of micro-changes.
- Micro-changes require intentional and deliberate thoughts and actions. Even though they are micro or small in nature, our minds still require a lot of effort to focus and be intentional in making the changes. the difference is that because we perceive it to be small therefore simple and therefore possible.
- Micro-changes can transform your mindset and life. These micro-changes over a series of intentional changes can be transformational in your mindset of growth. Your mindset will determine how you view youself and the situation around you. Your mindset will shift from tackling a big task to breaking down the task to smaller more manageable components. Not many people are able to change their actions or thoughts easily. It is through small steps or micro-changes that accumulates over time and perseverance that achieves noticeable changes.
For most of us, we don’t even attempt to change a habit or toxic thought because we believe that it’s too hard. The image of success is too far-fetched and impossible to achieve. However, if we change our mindset to break down the challenge into micro-changes, the goal becomes easier. For example, when we are at the foothill looking up to the summit, we think that it’s so far away, too hard and almost impossible to achieve. However, if we just look down and focus on one step at a time, as we walk, the summit looks slightly closer than before you started. Eventually over time and yes effort, you would probably be able to reach the summit. There are many times when faced with challenges, I feel defeated even before starting. The challenge looks impossible to overcome. However, I also know from experience that through commitment and determination and making changes along the way, I am able to overcome and achieve the goals set out before me.
These micro-changes in your mindset are critical to help you create new habits, change behaviour and transform your outcomes. The most powerful transformation is viewing changes through the lens of micro-changes. This makes it achievable and possible. Making micro-changes is far easier that making big changes. Your mindset or perspective can be transformed exponentially just with a micro-switch.
The ripple effect of micro-changes can be huge if you persevere and practice. Practice makes permanence (not perfect). Practice as a result of micro-changes can make permanence the actions or habits that you want to create or change. More importantly the transformation of your mindset will be from the negative to positive. From “no, its too hard” to “yes, its possible if I take small steps”.
Give it a go and discover what you are able to learn from this experiment and experience.