After a week off of posting, as well as two previous weeks with minimal posting, I’m back to getting posts out at a regular clip. I’ve had my head down putting finishing touches on my first Incremental Life-related book, The Road to Awesome. I’ll be telling you more about the book and a lot of other really cool stuff later this week.
I pushed publish on the very first Incremental Life post almost ten months ago, and as a result of my final round of writing and editing I’ve been of a mind to reflect on what it means to live The Incremental Life.
Many people today are so focused on achieving success that they disregard the lessons learned along the way. They’re so intent on reaching their destination that they fail to enjoy the journey and miss out on making the most of each moment along the way.
As I was digging through my notes from back before I wrote my first post, I rediscovered some words I wrote while I was in the process of formulating and codifying the ideals behind my blog. These notes, written well over a year ago, remain as true several month later as when I first typed them out. Here are some of the truths I’ve learned in my 40-something years so far that form the foundation of The Incremental Life.
The Incremental Life is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Except in rare cases, there’s really no such thing as an overnight success. Yes, sudden fame or fortune may find you, but that’s not the same as success. Like a lottery winner, a sudden windfall of money or notoriety doesn’t guarantee long-term wealth or popularity.
An interesting email hit my inbox over the weekend, one announcing Pei Wei’s 15th anniversary. While not as successful or as well known as some quick serve restaurants, Pei Wei does extremely well in the American marketplace. But that success certainly didn’t happen overnight, nor did it happen without hard work and excellence. I’m also certain there was great deal of trial and error along the way.
The facts are there’s no way Pei Wei could have achieved their current level of success very quickly. Could it have happened faster? Certainly, but there’s no way they could have opened up the 200+ stores that exist today all at once. Pei Wei’s growth has happened incrementally, and will continue to happen incrementally. Sure, these growth increments may be larger now than in the past, but the growth remains incremental. (Proverbs 10:4; 12:24; 21:5)
The Incremental Life is a Process
In stating that The Incremental Life is a process does not imply that there is a particular procedure one must follow. Rather, The Incremental Life is one of stages, not separated episodes. Each stage in your life is one that becomes a building block upon which the latter stages are built. Throughout the stages, you are gaining wisdom, insight, and knowledge that enable you to prosper in ways otherwise unattainable.
Again, we can look at lottery winners who strike it rich but then end up destitute and worse off than before in a year to two. What happens to them? Why couldn’t they handle the money? How could they blow it all so poorly and so fast?
It’s because they’d never built good money management habits over the course of their lives. Rather than learn how to manage their finances well when they had little, they sudden had thousands or millions of dollars dropped in their lap along with little or no guidance on how to be the wise stewards
By contrast, The Incremental Life builds both patience and contentment because those who live it must endure hardship and toil over time. Those who live this life often learn most from their setbacks and mistakes. While they may experience these hardships in life—hardships which may bring the to the brink of insanity—their experiences are forged during a time when life is hard and finances are tight. By the time someone living The Incremental Life begins to taste real success, they’re much better-suited to handle what life may throw their way.
Livers of The Incremental Life prove their faithfulness in little things, so they are given stewardship over mighty things. (Matthew 25:14-30)
The Incremental Life is Interconnected
The Incremental Life is a connected whole—a life that is not lived in a compartmentalized manner. Everything we do in life is interconnected, and we’re foolish to think we can keep one part of our lives completely isolated from the rest. Each and every aspect of our lives affects all parts to some degree. (Proverbs 4:23)
Understanding this truth, that all of life is interwoven into a cohesive tapestry, it comes as no surprise that our lives begin to feel frayed along the edges when we attempt compartmentalization. We’re stressed and stretched in ways we were never meant to experience when we think we can live a double-minded existence. (James 1:8)
The Incremental Life Leaves a Legacy
The Incremental Life is a life that is well-lived, and as a result leaves a legacy behind. It doesn’t mean it was a life of perfection, or even necessarily of wealth, power, or influence. It’s one that the people who watch it being lived—family, friends, strangers, enemies—want to emulate. (Proverbs 13:22)
- The Incremental Life has goals and dreams in view—a destination.
- The Incremental Life has steps mapped out toward those goals—a plan.
- The Incremental Life has intentionality behind every step—a purpose.
- The Incremental Life has no excuses for shortcuts—a work ethic.
- The Incremental Life has counted and understands the costs—a budget.
Are you still new to The Incremental Life? I invite you and challenge you to investigate it and join us on the journey. Step your way back through the posts you find here, and keep moving forward with us as new posts are written each week.
Decide today to begin living a life of intentionality, focus, and purpose. Start living The Incremental Life.
I’m Jeff M. Miller, and I help ordinary people who are stuck in a rut change their behaviors so they can be extraordinary. I’m an entrepreneur who retired from my full-time job in my early 40s to work from home. I’m a financial counselor, life coach, graphic designer, and passionate believer in helping others improve their lives a little more each day.
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