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Deepak Garg

Deepak Garg, Founder & CEO, Rivigo

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Pursuit of Self-improvement

1% improvement every day on any dimension leads to 40X improvement due to the magic of compounding.

Photo Credit : tutorialbyte.com,

One of the strongest principles of nature (or the universe) is evolution. Everything around us is evolving to its best version. Human beings are a product of 100,000 plus years of evolution. There is an inherent need in each of us to improve and get to our own best self. If one is not improving, one is working against the natural principle of evolution. Anything that works against nature, decays and eventually dies.

We at RIVIGO have a leadership principle called “1% improvement every day” which mirrors this nature principle of evolution. 1% improvement every day on any dimension leads to 40X improvement due to the magic of compounding. In the new age world of digital disruption, one needs to “vertically” scale up to seize the opportunities and win in the marketplace. It requires a non-linear compounding self-improvement curve with a healthy disregard for present day education, titles, knowledge and work. Through this note, I’d try to bring the input side of the principle to life so more and more leaders can embrace this principle in full.

Baseline does not matter, big goals do

It is apparent that if one can improve 40X in one year on any dimension then the baseline is irrelevant. You can start from anywhere on any skill and get to become the best of the best in the world through constant pursuit of self-improvement. 10,000 hours of practice (assuming 8-10 hours a day) takes about 3 years of work on any skill. It can make a novice tennis player into one of the best tennis player. This is where your mind and physical being play together with unison. 20,000 hours of practice takes 6 years but gets your soul, mind and physical body together in the pursuit of the skill. This is where you can reach the world’s best performance level of that skill.

 So if one does look at this mathematically, to go from zero to infinite (master) skill level one would take maximum of 3 to 6 years so your current baseline skill level is irrelevant. The way compounding works is that most amount of impact comes through later and most people give up before that. Set yourself a big earth shattering goal – an infinite for yourself and then put those 10,000 hours of practice.  

There is no trade off

Most people don’t pursue self-improvement thinking there is a trade off with life, fun, joy or whatever. I think it is a myth. There is no trade off and I’d argue the opposite. There can be no long term joy or fun or success unless there is constant endeavour to improve and learn. So learning leads to self confidence in inputs and better outcomes which are very relevant for joy. Lack of learning or growth leads to dullness. One enjoys good food or a drink most when one has earned it well.

Stay fully input focused

Most average leaders give up before reaching the desired goal. They start measuring outcomes with ferocity. In early part of the practice, outcomes come slower. It leads to frustration. In some cases, where early outcomes start to come through, the consistent focus on outcomes leads to high ego and pride. It leads to less inputs and distractions again leading to failures and frustrations. If one is on the path of self-improvement, one needs to ferociously measure inputs. The world will take care of the outcomes and reward you just. Do not let ego come in your way. Do not let early success or celebration come in the way. It is important to believe that outcomes over time will match inputs. So it is right, healthy and important to only measure and judge our efforts by inputs.

One of my favorite example is Golf. If you are not focused on the ball during the swing and get distracted by the outcome (of where the ball needs to go), you’d definitely hit the waters or the woods. One can only focus on the base of the ball during the swing to get the best outcome.

Virtue of discipline

Let me share with you an interesting note on achieving perfection through discipline. This is the note Benjamin Franklin wrote to himself when he was in 20s. Benjamin Franklin believed that if you pursue anything with discipline, it becomes a habit. He believed that perfection can be a habit and part of one’s nature. These virtues and particularly constant work on himself made him America’s greatest author (of the time), inventor (used kite to discover electricity), politician, entrepreneur and social worker. So all of you who are young and have the fire, I’d encourage you to make such a list for yourself and work on it with complete honesty and hard work. You’d also find a small section in the note on how he kept track of the 13 virtues in his notebook. He’d measure it daily and every hour.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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