We expect success to be a beautiful straight line on the graph, showing steady progress. Or maybe a beautiful curve, bending upwards in a very regular manner. The reality is nothing like that.
Let me show you a graph I am proud of. It shows the last 5 years traffic growth of iPleaders blog. Ignore everything else, just focus on the shape of that curve. It will tell you how we have grown in the last 5 years.
It was very slow in the beginning. It was just a start.
But see how the traffic jumps up. You can see where all we have changed gear. You can see where things didn’t go well. There are dips that represent some crisis or the other. And there are peaks, that represent a breakthrough we worked for a long time.
That’s what success looks like. Not the peaks, it’s the entire curve. Including very little growth in the first 3 years. Those were the hardest years.
Those were the years when it was hard to believe that one day we will hit 1 million unique users per month!
Those were the days when some experts told me that I am in too small a niche to do well.
Those were the days when we felt like dwarves in front of more established legal websites.
Those were the days when it was hardest to justify continuous hard work and allocation of resources to the blog.
It gets easier. Not always, not forever, sometimes you just face those troughs where it seems that things are going downhill.
You have to hold on to your nerves then and continue to work on your long term strategy. These are just 5 years, what do we have to do if we want to be around and thriving for 50 years?
Do you want to know how I did it so far?
I had no idea how much we will grow, what it would take, or what is going to happen eventually. I still do not know. However, I make small improvements continuously. I deal with what I can deal with and ignore the rest.
There is always so much to do, I certainly can’t do everything. Once in a while, there are slip ups. Every now and then I make mistakes, or can’t even understand what is it that I have to fix.
Look at the graph when I take the data of only last 1 year. See how erratic the lines are? It randomly goes up dips and plateaus for no apparent reason.
I cannot control those rough edges. I cannot produce a smooth line. I can only keep taking the right decisions and execute the projects that are most likely to take the graph upwards in the long term, and ignore these short term booms and bursts.
They are irrelevant from the long term perspective anyway, and there is no point engaging with them!
So, I don’t bother too much about the temporary changes, I am only concerned with long term trends. I know what I need to do. I need to soldier on, follow good principles, and keep doing things that I can do (as opposed to things I should do but not able to do) which would increase the chance of my eventual success.
And I have a lot of patience. I just need to know I am putting in all the effort I can put in.
Then there are days when I know I am not doing enough. There are many days on which I realise that I am not living up to my potential. On those days, I have to forgive myself, I have to take care of myself so that I can hit the ground tomorrow running.
This is a war. I am at war with myself – every single day, every single hour, to give my best.
I know I will not win every hour. Or every day. But I will keep moving forward. Every small step counts. Every small decision that pushes me forward even by an inch counts.
When I can’t take big action, I will at least take one small action that I can take. I will, however, not make the mistake of sizzling in my worries, fears, desires and allowing myself to not take any action.
In every given moment, there is only one mantra: what is that one big thing I can do that will move things forward? Well, what if you do not have the strength or clarity to do that big thing? Then rephrase the question.
What is that one small thing I can do that will move things forward?
If you can run, run. If you can’t run, perhaps, you can walk? If you can’t even walk, can you at least crawl towards your goal? Just don’t sit idle.
This approach always works.
Where else can I put this method to use?
Almost anywhere really. I have been applying this to dieting, exercise and getting fit.
I see my friends getting worried if they break their diet even once. One piece of cake and they feel guilty like they have brought about the Armageddon by this little indulgence.
Then they abandon their diet altogether.
Here is what I do. When I am really craving or the situation warrants, I break my diet. A piece of birthday cake? It’s alright. Rest of the time I am on keto. I am doing intermittent fasting very often. I measure my progress religiously. I work out more often than I don’t. I track my workout habits.
There are many small decisions that go into it. There are many steps I keep taking every day to increase my chance of reaching my fitness goal. And it has been small steps.
About a year back, I weighed 107 Kgs, and body fat percentage was 31%. This is the point where I began the turn around. By the way, most of the time went into learning what does not work for me. For example, having a dietician didn’t work for me. Having a coach who woke me up every day and made me do yoga still did not work. Keto diet worked. I had to read a whole book on the science behind this diet, and I had to withstand unsolicited advice from many people who warned me that I may die from keto or my kidneys are going malfunction etc.
Nonetheless, there were ups and downs. But as of this morning, I weigh 88.1 Kg. My body fat percentage is 27.1. I did a full body check up last week, which suggests that I have excellent health, except slight insufficiency of Vitamin D3.
A friend who knows me for a while and met me after long said that I look 10 years younger than I did before. And this is when I am only halfway to my target. My target is to reach 18% body fat percentage.
But you know what the curve looks like? It looks horrible. Let me show you.
Just see how the two metrics I am tracking, weight and body fat percentage, have been fluctuating almost every day. Sometimes it looked like I lost all the gain I had made so far. However, the very next day the trend manifested. The trend is clear, I am losing weight and getting rid of fat. Whatever I am doing, it’s having the intended result over the long term.
There is a long way to go of course. And it gets easier the further you go.
It all starts with taking the right decisions. And not losing patience when results don’t show up. You have to stick to it. You have to forgive yourself for the slip-ups. You are human and prone to human weakness. Our strength is not in being a stone that does not budge but in our ability to adapt and work on a long term plan.
The ability to work on a long term goal is what differentiates us, the homo sapiens, from other intelligent apes and animals. This is our real strength.
No matter what happens, forgive yourself and gently put yourself back in the right course of action. Make small progress in the right direction, and at times those small things will add up to cause big changes and big successes.
What is the career goal that you badly want to achieve?
Whatever goal you may have in your career, you can use this method.
Let’s say you want to become an extraordinary lawyer, earning a lot of money, handling important cases, running your own chambers or law firm. It is a long term vision, and not going to be achieved in a hurry.
Can you keep doing things, small or big, whatever possible, whenever possible, to increase the likelihood of that happening? Can you do really small things as well, when the possibility of you achieving your dream ever looks remote, no matter how small progress you make, as long as you make some progress?
Can you focus yourself like that? Can you make it a habit to crawl towards your career goal when you are not able to run towards it? Can you make it a habit so that you detest being stationary?
If you want to be an amazing lawyer, one of the best decisions you can take is to take up one of our diploma courses. Here is a list below. Out of these, few are about to close for admission by 30th April.
Take what decision you can take. Even if it is not related to taking a course, drop me a mail and let me know what small progress can you achieve in next 2 days, before April is over, towards your life goals.
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