Most people stumble through life hoping that things will somehow one day get better.
And some people take the time and initiative to ‘make sure’ things will get better.
The theory of incremental improvement states that by consistently reviewing and evaluating yourself on a regular basis (both from a work & personal perspective) you can over time, turn your weaknesses into strengths. Whether it’s your dislike of paperwork or your fear of speaking in public, we all have something that we wish could be better at.
But very few of us take the time to work on these issues. The first step is identifying our weaknesses – if we don’t know what’s broken, then how can we even attempt to fix it?
A daily review is a great way to understand what your strengths are and also more importantly what your weaknesses are.
Once you have identified what you need to work on then you can find ways to make small improvements. The key is consistency – each small improvement eventually adds up to a big change. If you think about it – everything we’ve ever learned has been through following a series of steps. We aren’t born with the ability to walk, talk or eat – we learn all of these things over a gradual time period.
The things is you’ll never improve, unless you understand what your weaknesses are – so the sooner you set aside time to review – the better.
Here’s how I use incremental improvement – instead of wasting the travel time it takes me to get to and from work, I use this time to improve upon areas that I would consider to be weaknesses. I listen to audio CDs in the car that tackle those areas I feel need work. Half an hour each way to work doesn’t sound like much – but after one year of doing this I will have spent the equivalent of 6 weeks working purely on my weaknesses (based on full time working hours). It’s the consistency of doing a little bit each day that eventually makes the difference.
If you’re having trouble identifying your weaknesses and strengths it can also be a good idea to ask for feedback and constructive criticism – even if this does mean putting your ego on the front line.
Simple Life Strategy: Incremental Improvement
There are many ways you can use the incremental improvement theory. Here’s my top 6 tips to get you started:
- Do a daily review (if daily is too often, try for weekly or fortnightly)
- Ask yourself – what did I do well? What could I have done better?
- Identify what you need to work on
- If you have trouble figuring out your weaknesses/strengths – ask friends & family for feedback
- Put in place steps to gradually improve your weaknesses
- After some time you will suddenly notice a vast improvement! (incremental change creeps up on us)
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