The 1 % theory

Every guru out there has a 1% improvement theory. Something in the lines of: “1% improvement a day every day for 365 days and you’ll be 365% better! Just 1% is all that you have to do!”

Here’s the challenge — the theory is mathematically flawed because 1.01^365 = 37.78. So, we’re looking at a 38% improvement over the claimed 365%. That shouldn’t be a significant turn-off because it’s at least 38% over zero!

But the encouragement brings with an implication — you’ve got to consume a whole lot of content to learn more. That might sound reasonable, but we have data clearly stating that content consumption doesn’t equate to results. Why? Because we’re missing out on the most critical aspect of learning — doing, a.k.a., Execution.

Executing is hard work. It can stretch us, break us, demoralize us, but it’s what will help us grow more than merely consuming content. You can spend days, weeks, and even months consuming world-class content but then what? Regurgitate all that you know here and there during conversations with your friends, family, colleagues, and peers?

And then what? If you can’t translate your knowledge into action or outcomes. Suppose that offends you, great!

Understand: there’s a reason why content marketing is a sub-industry by itself. There’s a reason why content is shared with you and millions of others. To educate, entertain, and encourage you to take action. I don’t have to tell you what that action might be—more content through an email newsletter, an ebook, a course, or whatever.

And I’ll repeat myself; there’s nothing wrong with consuming content at all. But there’s a high likelihood that you’re going to go overboard with content so much so that you’ll have more content than the time to consume them, let alone use what you know to implement.

The biggest victims, in my opinion, are all the wannabe strategists who would go out of the way to tell everyone around them that they’re a “strategy” person. Thanks to all the content consumption, these folks can talk and drop knowledge bombs, but none of that is practical because they haven’t ever tried anything they’ve learned.

That also means most of their strategy won’t work because their clients will figure out their lack of experience soon. And when they do, they will fire them for someone who’s a practitioner and has tons of knowledge, wisdom, and expertise to solve their problems.

Professionals get hired to solve problems. Not to drop knowledge bombs that nobody can use. So, the 1% theory can only take you so far. As they say, talk is cheap but, so is learning if you don’t or can’t execute.

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