The greater the obstacle to achieving a goal, the more difficult that goal is to accomplish.
This is because energy is precious – and our brains are hard-wired to conserve energy for emergency expenditure whenever possible. It is simply human nature to be lazy and to choose the path of least resistance. We instinctively do what is convenient so we can remain comfortable.
New beginnings such as starting the new year, starting a new business, or maybe adding a new office are all exciting events. The reality is that building a business takes hard work, grit, persistence and determination. Of course, that is why most people don’t open a business of their own. We drift toward that which is easiest. Before we know it, we are spending large amounts of time on the things that do not matter.
Consider Amazon Prime, fast food, and social media; they have all built their businesses around EASY. They have removed any obstacles that may prevent your clicking that bright yellow “Buy Now!” button, or grabbing your quick, no-thought-required dinner from the drive-thru window. These easy activities quickly become habits that are done subconsciously. Did you know the average person checks their phone 344 times every day?!
Consider also the most expensive luxury services where you simply expect to pay more for convenience and comfort: First-class airline tickets, VIP seating at sporting events, fine dining, and oceanfront accommodations. You pay a premium for convenience and comfort!
If you have the drive and ambition to overcome your human nature easy-way tendencies, you too can see your ambitions and dreams come to life. I can remember the first referral and patient who walked through my newly opened clinic’s doors in 2005: Clara MacIntire. I was exhilarated. I thought, “WOW I can do this!” I dreamed of having multiple offices that generated millions of dollars in revenue. Achieving those lofty goals requires time, energy and focus.
Consider your own business goals. Perhaps your goals include achieving 15% profitability each year, or paying off all debt at home, or consistently contributing 15% to your retirement accounts.
Everyone can agree that accomplishing these goals would transform your life! But for many, these financial ambitions seem to be out of reach. Why? Because achieving these goals requires hard work – especially if you expect to reach these goals in a short period of time, without guidance. You would have to make sudden, drastic changes in your lifestyle. Although the rewards would be great, many will not embark on such a journey.
However, with a slightly different approach, with slow and steady progress toward your goals, the seemingly impossible becomes super easy. By taking a long-term approach, with a focus on small wins and accomplishments, we experience progress, which in turn motivates us to keep going toward our long-term goals.
In my lifetime, this Law of Least Effort – the human-nature instinctive desire to conserve energy and seek comfort – has been a constant tension to manage. But it is manageable!
Yes, mini wins are the answer. By the way, happy Valentine’s day. See ya soon.