Before the Industrial Revolution, we lived on farms and travelled on horseback or in horse-drawn carriages. During industrialization, we moved to the cities. And, railroads and massive steamships made commerce, education, travel and prosperity possible.
So what powered the Industrial Revolution? Water. But even more specifically and more explosively, it was steam that powered the revolution. Even at 211 degrees Fahrenheit, water is not really very exciting. But add just one more degree of that heat and something amazing happens. At 212 degrees, you get steam and steam moves mountains both figuratively and literally.
I’m convinced this metaphor applies to achieving our dreams. The differences between ‘unachievable’ and ‘accomplished’; ‘good’ and excellent’; dissatisfying’ and ‘fulfilling’; are very, very small.
For many people, the difference between remaining slim and fit versus gradually becoming heavy and unhealthy may be less than a hundred calories per day. Eating even a few more calories than they burn each day and they gain weight. Burning a few extra calories each day and they lose weight. Sure optimum health may be more complicated than this simple explanation, but it starts with a very small number of caloric inputs each day…perhaps as small as one cookie per day!
The same principle applies to any goal you want to realize. Remember the old saying, “Inch by inch, anything’s a cinch?” Well, there’s also truth in the statement, “Yard by yard, everything is hard.” High achievers know that small differences make all the difference in the world.
The Industrial Revolution changed everything, and it began with only one degree of additional heat applied to common everyday water. Boil the water, channel the steam, and you’ve got an engine that transformed the world.
What small differences will you make this next month? Perhaps you’ll make one additional sales call. Perhaps you’ll decide to vote as your conscience dictates. Or, perhaps you’ll add a little extra “oomph” to your junior league hockey pep talk. Whether in sales, leadership, or parenting, the top performers are rarely dramatically better. Typically, they are ordinary people doing ordinary things extraordinarily well … with “extraordinarily” sometimes being only a matter of degrees.
This next month, do a few ordinary things just slightly better. I think you’ll see and an extraordinary difference in your results.