The compounding power of small wins

Done with intention, the small wins can have a compounding effect on your life. It sure has changed my life profoundly. But who has the time to give a hoot about these small wins (or “little things” as people would like to say) when all the money and excitement is in going after the big kill?

Just a few of us. And that’s not good.

These snippets from the DailyStoic.com’s newsletter are a powerful reminder as to why the small wins should should matter to you. I’m also including some of the reflective questions that I asked myself while studying this piece. If you can take out time (and I’m sure you can), do review and answer them. They’re powerful.

The Stoics believed it was the little things that added up to wisdom and to virtue. What you read. Who you studied under. What you prioritized. How you treated someone. What your routine was like. The training you underwent. What rules you followed. What habits you cultivated. Day to day, practiced over a lifetime, this is what created greatness. This is what led to a good life.

What’s your daily routine like? Does it include the things that add to your wisdom and virtue? If not, why not? If there isn’t enough time, what can you do to gain some of it? What can you let go to embrace these “little things?”

In one of his most famous letters to Lucilius, Seneca gives a pretty simple prescription for the good life. “Each day,” he wrote, “acquire something that will fortify you against poverty, against death, indeed against other misfortunes, as well and after you have run over many thoughts, select one to be thoroughly digested that day.”

One gain per day. That’s it.

Certainly gaining something each day doesn’t sound awfully difficult. But is that something you are able to achieve? If not, why not? Where will you be if you aim for a gain per day over the course of one year? How would it have changed your life?


“Well-being is realized by small steps,” Zeno would say looking back on his life, “but is truly no small thing.” Which is why today and every day, you need to think about those little things. They are worth sweating. You need to create good habits. You need to stick to your rules. You can’t make excuses to yourself, saying “Oh, this doesn’t matter.”

What are the habits that you believe are worth sweating for? What rules can you create so you can stick with your habits?

Can you see the beauty of the small wins? They add up into something big, overtime. And committing to them not only can determine your success or failure but also who you are.

The stoics believed in the compounding power of the little things. What’s stopping you?

By Sunil Nair

Nurturing leaders of tomorrow.

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