This month’s encouragement, former procrastinators, comes from The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Pair the basic takeaways from this book with mini habits or other beneficial routines, and you’ll have a dynamite combo.
Consider small things and repeated behavior biblically. We’re saved in an instant, but sanctified slowly, step by step. Uneducated disciples and highly educated Paul all had to go through daily life in Christ to become mature believers. A child learns to crawl, stand, walk holding mom’s finger, walk alone, run. Making small efforts over and over, he eventually enjoys the fruits of his labor, racing siblings, climbing mountains.
In David, Joseph, Caleb, Mary, and others we see consistent faithfulness added up to greater things in those people’s lives, help for us and others, and glory for God.
Scripture commends the servant who is faithful in little. His master rewards him with much and invites this servant into his joy.
The Bible uses words such as ways, custom, slave, keep, practice, walk, continue, constant to refer to our habits or routines. When we recognize these words and connect them to our own repeated behavior, we begin to see the large effect of small actions in our lives.
Financially, to “compound” is “to earn interest on principal plus on interest that was earned earlier.” (Merriam Webster) There’s growth in the account beyond what I deliberately put in.
Hardy says the compound effect is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices. At the time, the steps don’t feel significant and we are tempted to not bother.
He uses an illustration I first heard applied to evangelism. Choose between taking $3 million right now or a penny that doubles every day for 31 days. Spoiler: the penny’s the wise choice. Why is that hard to believe? Hard to choose? Because it takes so much longer to see the results. You choose the penny and Suzy chooses the $3 million now. Day 20, you have $5243 and Suzy, $3 million. Day 29, you have about $2.7 million, Suzy $3 million. Day 30, you have 5.3 million, Suzy, $3 million. Day 31, you have $10,737,418.24, Suzy, $3 million.
Hardy illustrates using two guys. Scott cuts 125 calories daily -a cup of cereal or a soda. (Not doubling, just daily) He adds about two thousand extra steps daily. Brad adds one drink per week, about 125 calories. He adds more TV to his life. After 5 months, there’s no perceivable difference in the men. After 31 months Scott has lost 33 pounds. Brad’s gained 33 and is 67 pounds heavier than Scott. Small changes over time, big results.
Today’s action may not appear to cost us or reward us. We may not feel any pinch or joy today. But our future is coming.
Recall something you did over a period of time and now regret. Recall something you practiced over a period of time and are now glad about.