The Power of Little Actions
When people think about time traveling to the past, they worry about accidentally changing the present with one small action, but no one in the present really thinks they can radically change the future.
The Doubling Penny
If I were to give you the option between one million dollars cash today, or a penny that doubled in value every day for thirty days, which would you choose? If you have heard this scenario before you know the penny is the way to go. [The math is listed below]
While it is unlikely you will ever find this magical penny, the concept still pertains to your life. Something that may seem like a little decision that doesn't mean anything, adds up over time. It is my theory then, that successful people become successful by making the little decisions right, every day, for a long period of time.
Million Dollar Cars & $100,000 Cups of Coffee
In America life is lived in luxury. How do I know? Well, most of us drive million dollar cars! Don't think so? Let me prove it to you. The average car payment in America is nearing $500 a month (currently at $475), and most Americans upgrade their car after their payment is up, meaning you'll always have a payment. You might not think it sounds like a lot until you think about it this way: If you were to invest that $475 into a good investment that has a 12% rate of return, you would have over $100,000 in 10 years. At 20 years, you would have made $470,000. And at 30 years? That investment would be worth $1.6 million dollars. So the $500 monthly payments are really costing you up to $1.6 million dollars.
Another example shows just how much impact little numbers have in the long run. A recent study shows that the average Star Bucks consumer spends around $3 a day on coffee, annualized that is $1,100 per year. If you invested that same amount at a pretty average return of 8% for 30 years you would have $129,919 after the 30 years.
You Can Make A Difference
The examples I gave were not meant to discourage you from driving a nice car, or buying Star Bucks. They were simply an illustration to show just how powerful small actions can be over the long haul. As Aristotle once said, "we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act but a habit." The great thing about doing great things is that it doesn't have to take a lot of effort in one moment. It just takes a little bit of effort, every day, for a long time.