"sam is typing..."

(A Blog by Sam Marshall)

Incremental Growth

2018 04 07

Hopefully, none of this sounds too self-helpey.

In my experience, growth doesn't happen in big steps. Instead, it happens a little bit at a time. Any movement forward is growth. Sometimes, other people look like they're making huge leaps forward, but I'm willing to bet that's an outside perspective on many smaller steps forward, gathered together and unleashed by one final little burst.

This is expressed in a different way by Carl Jung:

Lifes major problems cannot be solved, they can only be outgrown

For me, the use of the word 'outgrown' sparks images of organic processes, nature, plants. I don't want to do the classic 'trees can crack pavements' thing, but when you look at it this way it's hard to accept growth as anything other than a gradual, incremental process.


I've been thinking about an incremental approach to life for a long time, and this is a sort of checkpoint for me. an affirmation that I still believe in this idea.

It genuinely brings me hope and energy to think that I never need to do a whole thing - a part of something gets me a long way. This means that the thing is closer to being finished - which makes it less intimidating - when the alternative would be unstarted.

This idea is also closely related to micro habits. For example, deciding to read a single page of a book every day is very flexible, and allows for doing more if the mood takes you. Breaking your tasks down in this incremental way can be a great approach (this fits nicely in with services like beeminder if you fancy tracking progress or putting money on the line too).

I still have a long way to go with my thinking about this approach, and there's lots still to learn - but I regularly make small steps forward, so I guess it's all good.

Thanks for reading. There's never going to be a comments section, but I'm @sjmarshy on twitter if you have any comments or ideas!