Each summer I take a mini-sabbatical of a week or two at my ranch in the beautiful Nicola Valley, to collect my thoughts and refresh both my mind and body. While rereading one of my all-time favorite books, Psycho-Cybernetics by Dr. Maxwell Maltz, I was reminded of the guiding principle of Ivan Pavlov. Famous for the study of conditioned reflexes in dogs, Pavlov was also a fervent believer in the power of making progress through good habits and gradual improvement. “Gradualness, gradualness, gradualness”, he said, “from the beginning of your work, school yourself in severe gradualness in the accumulation of knowledge.”
I follow the same principle in my life, both personal and professional, and have made continuous improvement the bedrock system for the long-term achievement of my goals. As mentioned in previous newsletters, I monitor my daily performance for good habits, since I believe one must inspect what one expects, and I strive to eliminate the smallest poor habits that impede me. I have documented this in what I modestly call Percy’s Creed and have made it available to anyone here. Whenever I speak, I invariably have someone mention how they have downloaded Percy’s Creed and have it posted where it can be seen throughout the day.
Last week, I spoke at the Passive Income Through Real Estate Meetup in Vancouver, hosted by Bai Jiang, and touched on this subject while discussing the impact of disruptive innovation on real estate investment. The concept of continuous improvement and the gradual accomplishment of big goals resonated well with the audience, since it gives people hope. By focusing on what can be accomplished in the certainty of one day, rather than the uncertainty of a life time, we feel more hopeful of the future. One attendee, Eimon Yin, said it best in her #InspireMeSunday – Eamonn Percy blog post “a big change would be like collecting rain water with a big barrel. I can collect the rain water when it rains. It may be little when I start but as time passes by, I will fill it full.”
How do you use this concept to be a better business owner, operator, executive or entrepreneur?
- Set up an accountability system which monitors your daily behaviors and actions, such as a business partner, collaborator, coach or a self-inspection system.
- Focus intensely on daily achievement and worry less about long term results, as they will come with good short term, intense action and habits.
- Don’t wait for perfection, just work with whatever tools you have in your hands today. Take action. The circumstance and information are never perfect, so don’t delay. Gradualness will take care of the rest!
Eamonn has a B. Eng. (Electrical) from Lakehead University, MBA (Finance) from University of Toronto, and has completed Executive Education at Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He lives in Vancouver, Canada. Follow him on twitter @EamonnPercy