The One-Percent Rule

We humans are an impatient lot. When we want to do, achieve, or get something, we want it today, if not yesterday. This leads directly to impatience and frustration. It leads many people to give up when they’re on the verge of success.

Success takes time. Achievement takes time. Learning a new skill takes time, even if it’s something simple. Have you ever watched a young child learn to do something you take for granted, such as learn to walk? Success is halting, uneven, often looks like going backward, and sometimes involves falling on your backside (or your face).

The same is true of doing more difficult things as an adult. It takes about 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. That’s almost 5 years of full-time work! This is why it’s said that we overestimate what we can do in one year and underestimate what we can do in ten years.

This is where the One Percent Rule comes in. It allows you to make visible, satisfying progress rapidly without expecting overnight success. It’s a simple rule: when you attempt to do something, aim to do it one percent better than before. Or finish one percent more.

If you practice this rule and do so faithfully, before long you’ll have mastered the skill or finished the task. Perfecting something is hard; doing it 1% better or finishing one percent more of a task is relatively easy. It’s a goal you can see and reach almost immediately.

You can apply this rule to anything. Are you trying to learn to live by a budget? Aim to do 1% better each month. Are you trying to increase how much you save? Increase it by 1% per month until you reach your ultimate goal. You’ll see the progress every month but not feel a lot of pain from it.

Do you want to improve your self-talk? Set a goal of achieving 1% improvement every week or month. Trying to start and keep an exercise routine? Once you get the habit down, aim to increase it by 1% a week. Using a software program to learn a new language? Make your goal completion of 1% of the program every time you log on.

The uses of this rule are infinite. It’s one of the best ways to improve your mindset and achieve the personal development you want. It will fulfill your brain’s desire for immediate gratification and simultaneously fuel your long-term success.

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