Start Small

By Eduardo [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Sleep per Day: (Target) 7h30m / day (Actual) 7h07m  / day (33 day average)

I realized that a lot of times my biggest successes came when I stuck to something through thick and thin.

Because like the tale of the rabbit versus the snail, the snail won because it kept making progress bit by bit.

Even the maths shows the importance of not slipping back in progress. If you bought a stock and it dropped 50% in value, you’d need a 100% comeback in order to just recover. Think about the possibilities if you reduced or even eliminated your losses in progress in any aspect of life.

But at the same time there’s a danger of not acting at all. As I mentioned in a blog post “Done is Better than Perfect“, perfectionism shouldn’t paralyze one into inaction.

So the best way is to keep sticking to something through thick and thin. And the best way to do that for me is to start small and ramp up gradually since I get too excited too quickly and then burn out very soon afterwards.

That’s what I’m trying to do with many aspects in life.

For investing, I realized I was still investing with too much capital whenever I got jittery with the volatility in price, so I decided to gradually exit all individual stock positions until I held enough cash to make me sleep well (which is at least 1.5 year’s worth of cash). I now have 1 year’s worth of expenses in cash and I aim to boost that figure up to at least 1.5 year’s worth with any bonuses I get while I regularly invest in a commission free index fund with leftovers from my monthly salary after deducting living expenses and taxes. Even though holding lots of cash is going to kill my returns, but as long as it gives me peace, it will allow to stick through my investing plan whether tomorrow is a bull or bear market.

For exercising, I follow the New Blood plan of the book “Convict Conditioning” (I don’t get anything for mentioning or posting this link), which only requires me to exercise twice a week, since that gives me no excuse to not exercise at all and allows me to not burn out too quickly when my unfit body starts “objecting” to the exercise stress I give it if I were to exercise more frequently.

For writing, I try to force myself to write 15-30 minutes a day. I may not post the blog post in the end, but at least it forces me to produce something, and this tactic has made me a much more productive writer so far.

For sleeping, I’m further re-adjusting my ambition level from 8.5 hours to 8 hours. The closer I am to a very easily achieved target, the more likely I will follow it.

For volunteering, I’ve requested to start regular volunteering with half day on Saturdays first before I decide to ramp up my volunteer time.

As long as I’m inching forward, I’m going to be making much more progress than most humans can imagine to achieve.

All it requires, is for me to start small.

Start small.


Not advice. No offer. Do not rely. May lose value. Risky. Conflicts hidden/obscured. (Borrowed from Terrence Yang‘s Disclaimer on Quora)



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