One Degree at a Time

Mark’s Market Update – 4/8/2022

I’m reading an amazing book right now – Atomic Habits by James Clear – a really clean, and honestly, amazing read.  

Life is a matter of course corrections. While it can be great to pivot 180 degrees, that kind of change can be disruptive, and uncomfortable. I’ve done it – several times. I went to college my first year in Fairbanks, Alaska (from Albuquerque). That was a 180-degree shift. Moving to Austin (and starting over) – 180-degree shift. Stopped drinking on January 3, 2021 – a 180-degree shift.  

Those course corrections can be meaningful and can result in compounded growth. But, they’re hard…and they oftentimes come with a price. 

I think that the other way to make a course correction is to make little ones. Life is, really, a matter of processes that people get used to doing (habits). As I’ve known in the back of my mind (which the book is bringing into the foreground) – making small changes to those habits can, over time, result in a profound impact on life.   

My eldest son, Connor, is a golf kid. We have aspirations that it may help him get into college. Maybe even a scholarship. Maybe even something more.  

But, he didn’t get where he got today without, literally, 1-degree course corrections made by his coach, Brian Gathright. And we’ve watched him make these corrections. Turn the left knee out (imperceptibly). Move this thumb (imperceptibly). Adjust this shoulder (imperceptibly).  Adjust the angle of the lie of his clubs (imperceptibly).  

Tammy shows me the before and after videos all the time – and I look at them and say, “What changed?” (Literally – I can’t tell). 

Almost two years later – he’s playing a different game (and, depressingly, I can’t even come close to what he’s doing now). It’s a 180-degree adjustment – one degree at a time. 

Changes can be made in any system, any process by 1 degree – not noticeable, but they gain speed and traction over time.  Add 1% to your 401(k) this month. Then, do it again in three months. Then again in six.  Walk 1000 yards. Then, 1100. Do 30 pushups, then 31.  

Change systems. Change processes. Change your life, and the lives of those around you – 1 degree at a time. You won’t notice it. 

But, you will.