Underestimating and Overestimating

We massively underestimate how much small actions, taken consistently over time, start to stack up when it comes to producing results. Because the action itself is seemingly small, it is difficult to recognize the accumulation of impact it makes over time. This makes it very easy not to take these small actions, consistently, in the first place.

We overestimate the value of massive action taken sporadically and inconsistently. A great expenditure of effort every once in a while does very little as it pertains to producing long-term results. Even though we know long term results are not achieved through massive action taken only occasionally, we still try to make up for lost time by cramming.

We overestimate the likelihood that a trend in one direction is likely to continue in that direction unabated. We believe that because things are improving, they will keep improving. Or because something is getting worse, it can only get worse, still. Progress (or regress) isn’t a straight line in either direction, and even the strongest trends are subject to reversals.

We underestimate the power of infusing work with meaning and purpose when it comes to producing results. We believe that money is a replacement for culture and that it is not necessary to inspire people when you are paying them for their work. We underestimate the importance of belonging.

We overestimate the power of rules and force to effect behavioral change, believing that human beings will do their best work when given strong direction alone. Because force is easier to use than persuasion, we rely too heavily on power, even when it is the weaker choice of weaker men.

We overestimate the value of money and underestimate the value of our health. Money is valuable and necessary. If given the choice to have too little or too much, it’s smart to err on the side of too much. Health is no different. If you are going to go too far in one direction, make an attempt to be too healthy.

Consistency and purpose are difficult to underestimate if we’re honest with ourselves, and that honesty is the first step to being consistent and purpose driven.

Filed under: Values

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