I’m a huge proponent of self-improvement and growth. The idea of making small improvements compounds over time and can become extremely meaningful.
Let me give you an example:
Most people would agree that typically making a 1% improvement isn’t much of an improvement. And I would agree. On the other end of the spectrum, a 100% or 200% or even 1,000% improvement is quite substantial.
However, what if you are able to make many 1% improvements over time, this is where things get quite interesting. Assume you are able to make a 1% improvement everyday for just 1 year. How much do you think you would improve?
These would all be great improvements, but the actual answer would be a 3,788% improvement. At the end of a year you would be over 37 times better than you were when you started. All from just a 1% improvement every day. The formula is: (1 + 0.01) ^ 365
This is an example of the power of compound growth. Einstein has been attributed to saying, “compound interest (growth) is the 8th wonder of the world.” And even if he didn’t say it, I’m sure he would agree with this idea.
Compound growth is incredibly powerful and is quite possibly under appreciated by most people outside of mathematicians and athletes. One such person who I’m confident understands the power of continuous improvement is Wayne Gretzky.
It truly is hard to comprehend just how great Wayne Gretzky was on the ice. He made the All-National Hockey League First-Team 8 times, holds the record for most points all-time, most points in a season, most all-time assists, youngest player to score 50 points, most game winning goals in play-offs, and the list goes on and on. He retired in 1999 and STILL holds 60 records in the NHL. And if you can’t remember all his amazing records, you can just call him by his moniker, “The Great One.”
He understood the idea of continuous improvement, hard work, and living a fulfilled life. Here are some of his own words on these subjects.
We all can't be Wayne Gretzky, but we can strive to take his ideas and incorporate them in our lives.
-Paul R. Rossi, CFA