I talk a lot about massive action. But there are only so many hours in the day.
Realistically, you can’t focus on more than a small handful of things and expect to get meaningful results from them.
Great results require great focus and great action.
However there’s always plenty of room for side quests.
Side quests are small little habits that don’t require a whole lot of focus or effort but can lead to massive results when paired with your main goals.
I’ll give you an example.
Sandy has a job she loves and she strives to earn a promotion. Every day she goes into work focused and determined to give it her best and learn everything she can. Sandy also has three kids at home and is currently working on her master’s degree.
Sounds like Sandy has a pretty full boat. Taking on anything else will probably only interfere with these three major commitments.
Nevertheless, she finds that she would like to start getting into better shape. Whereas most people would just forego their health under the excuse of not having enough time, Sandy chooses not to procrastinate and let herself go.
But instead of making an enormous diet and exercise routine, Sandy chooses instead to take up just a few small habits, i.e. side quests, to help her get into shape and set the foundation for a more intense focus later down the road.
To meet these ends, Sandy decides to take the stairs every day instead of the elevator. She also power walks from her car into the office. Instead of sitting down and checking her phone after lunch, she takes a leisurely stroll around the block before going back into the office. When she leaves work, she again takes the stairs and then power walks back to her car.
Overall, Sandy spends virtually zero extra time and hardly any extra focus.
Day after day passes with no results. But to Sandy it doesn’t matter…she’s not after tangible results. What Sandy has done is set herself up for a huge mental shift down the road.
As her schedule loosens, Sandy finds she’s able to do just a little bit more each day, without taking all that much more focus. Naturally, without even thinking about it, she starts eating just a little bit healthier…she starts getting outside just a little bit more…she starts taking her children on walks instead of watching cartoons.
The change happened so slowly that she hardly even noticed it was happening. Best of all, since it evolved slowly, she never had any stress or worry at all. Sandy simply did just a little bit and over the course of a year or so, a little bit ended up being a lot.
Not only did she lose 10 pounds that year, but she also felt more energy. Looking back, Sandy always remembered being tired after lunch break. Now, having eaten just a little bit less, a little bit healthier, and also getting just a little bit more exercise, she realizes that she hasn’t felt tired after lunch in days.
Last week, a couple co-workers even complimented her on her pleasant, energized disposition. Not to mention that random clerk at the drug store that said her complexion was radiant.
Within two years, Sandy had the promotion she dreamed about, she was finishing up her master’s degree, and she couldn’t help but feel like Supermom.
Could Sandy have done all of this without her side quest? Probably.
Did she do it faster and better as a result? Probably.
But the main idea behind the side quest mentality is that it affects you on the inside.
After Sandy finished her degree, she had a lot more time to devote to her physical and mental well being. She enrolled in a weekly yoga class, started going on jogs, and naturally began eating more fruits and vegetables. Now her kids drink real fruit smoothies every morning, instead of just sugary cereal.
Because Sandy didn’t procrastinate, she was able to make huge strides in her overall health…over time it ended up being a massive change that occurred just a tiny bit at a time.
Sandy decided to take action, even if just a tiny bit each day, which built her momentum and her confidence.
Often, all it takes is just a tiny amount of effort to really get the ball rolling. And once you see that you’ve been rolling the ball, a magical thing begins to happen: you start to feel really good about yourself.
Your confidence boosts, your self esteem raises, and your discipline and willpower automatically strengthen.
Within just a couple short years, you will look back at your life and see a massive difference.
I guess all of this is just a long-winded way of demonstrating the incredible effects of compound action.
By itself, a single stair won’t get you too far…but put a bunch of small steps together and you will soon find yourself on a whole ‘nother level.