* The Seinfeld Secret *
Years ago when Seinfeld was a new television show, Jerry Seinfeld was still a touring comic. At the time, I was hanging around clubs doing open microphone nights and trying to learn the ropes.
One night I was in the club where Seinfeld was working, and before he went on stage, I saw my chance. I had to ask Seinfeld if he had any tips for a young comic. What he told me was something that would benefit me a lifetime.
He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day. But his advice was better than that. He had a gem of a leverage technique he used on himself and you can use it to motivate yourself – even when you don’t feel like it.
He then revealed a unique calendar system he was using to pressure himself to write.
Here’s how it worked. He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.
He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red “X” over that day. Then he added:
“After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”
“Don’t break the chain.” He said again for emphasis.
Over the years I’ve used his technique in many different areas. I’ve used it for exercise, to learn programming, to learn network administration, to build successful websites and build successful businesses.
It works, because it isn’t the one big shot that gets us where we want to go, it is the consistent daily action that builds extraordinary outcomes. You may have heard “inch by inch, anything’s a cinch.” Inch by inch does work, if you can move an inch every day.
Daily action builds habits. It gives you practice and will make you an expert in a short time. If you don’t break the chain, you’ll start to spot opportunities you otherwise wouldn’t. Small improvements accumulate into large improvements rapidly because daily action provides “compounding interest.”
Skipping one day makes it easier to skip the next.
Seinfeld understands that daily action yields greater benefits than sitting down and trying to knock out 1,000 jokes in one day. I’ve often said I’d rather have someone who will take action – even if small – every day as opposed to someone who swings hard once or twice a week.
~ The author is Brad Isaac who is a lead software programmer and blogger. ~