The best results come from compounding growth over time.
If you’re a competitive snowboarder, your skillset didn’t come from learning a trick. Your skillset came from snowboarding, for years. You learned tricks, but they didn’t make you a good snowboarder.
The most successful investors have all be investing for a long time. And if you ask many of them the most important rule of investing they will echo the words of Warren Buffet, “Don’t lose money.”
Not losing money enables investors to take advantage of compound interest over time.
This applies to relationships, farming, science, personal finances, math. It doesn’t matter.
Significant progress comes from compounding growth. Therefore the best strategies are the ones that encourage compounding growth. This means the best strategies are sustainable ones.
Compound growth in math terms looks like this.
What it means is that when you move forwards in time, the additional quantity of improvements, things, or knowledge you acquire is added to what you have, and that makes you capable of acquiring more, which means whatever it is you’re seeking, you get more, faster, over time.
This results in a graph that looks like the upper line of this chart, which I refer to as the ‘yay much happy such good results’ line. You could also refer to it as the ‘fuck yeah best dopamine curve ever’ line.
It’s the line most people want in most of the things they do in life.
To get this line you have to do sustainable things. Because the process of compound growth doesn’t come from events. It comes from the process. Finding the hottest girlfriend will not result in an upward curve like this. Because that goal is event-based.
Learning the principles that make you attractive to women and practicing them will, working on a relationship to consistently make more exciting things happen within it will, and thousands of other things will. But they’re all process-based, not event-based.
Having the goal of learning a specific piece of music will not lead to a compounding knowledge of music. Though it may encourage you to keep studying which definitely will result in that curve.
So being goal-oriented is helpful to the degree that it pushes you towards sustainability.
When we grab onto a get rich quick scheme without learning to manage our finances, try to do a health hack while maintaining an unhealthy diet, or push towards a new hobby with only the dream of the accomplishment energizing us without the enjoyment of the process, we fail because our work isn’t sustainable, not because the scheme doesn’t work, the life hack is a hoax, or the dream is unattainable.
This is why masters of skillsets are so hesitant to teach people ‘tricks’. Because they’ve lived with their skillsets long enough to understand that the trick isn’t a shortcut. It’s a manifestation of the skillset that was developed over time.
And I’m not saying you can’t learn, earn, or grow faster. I’m saying that having the patience to do things that are sustainable results in steadily faster and bigger results over time.
The Warren Buffet concept of ‘don’t lose money’ is trying to communicate the idea, ‘don’t do things that take you off your path.’
And sometimes the things that take you off your path are distractions that are obviously disconnected from your deeper wants.
But often, for the ambitious people with dreams, it’s actually doing things that are too hard without laying the groundwork ahead of time. Or, on the flip side, the sneaky distraction of working on the fundamentals too much without ever approaching the thing you really want to do.
We have to learn fundamentals.
But we have to learn to approach the work we desire and face it head-on, without taking on such a large chunk that it makes us too tired to get up tomorrow and go again.
Sustainable activities result in compound growth. Compound growth gives you the best results.