Insights: Daily Impacts of the Compound Effect

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Ever looked at what someone has accomplished and thought, “how did they do that?”

Whether it’s changing a habit, starting a company, or finding a healthy relationship, it all starts with the principle of the compound effect.

Our brain struggles to comprehend large changes, yet it does incredibly well with small ones.

Let’s say you start eating an extra cookie every day. It may not seem like much, you enjoy it and it gets you through the afternoon lull.

That cookie is 100 calories, so over a month you’ve gained nearly a pound. That may not sound bad, but do that every month and after 12 months that is 12 pounds.

Or if you take away that 100 calories per day, after a year you would have lost 12 pounds. However, it is not just about the weight, this 12 pounds lost might make you feel more energetic so you are more motivated to go for that walk at night time or get out socially. Now take this a step further—you are feeling more confident in yourself and become more social and then you meet someone that you have a relationship with.

This is called the compound effect.

Everything, no matter how small, has an impact on our life. It started with one less cookie and ended up with a relationship. As I’ve said before, there is no neutral. Therefore it is imperative that we make choices that are in accordance with our values, what is important to us and who we truly are. The problem is we so often excuse, compromise, or justify our choices, or just plainly do not think about them. We just let things happen.

I often hear clients talk about using drugs, drinking too much, having casual sex or spending money with little regard to who they are and what is important to them.

Once we start exploring their choices, we see that what seemed like a decision with little impact than what that choice was in the moment, we can now see has a larger effect over time.

Everything has a consequence.

Alfred A. Montapert, who wrote the book “The Laws of Life,” states, “Every person has free choice. Free to obey or disobey the Natural Laws. Your choice determines the consequences. Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of his choices.”

Have you ever heard of the butterfly effect? This is the chaos theory which states that a very small change in initial conditions can create a significantly different outcome. The example is that a flutter of a butterfly’s wing can change the weather on the other side of the world.

That is true in our life as well. I remember watching a documentary on driving that showed a sped up version of cars driving on a freeway, and how one car pulling in front of another car not only creates a change in traffic patterns for two miles down the road but also for hours later and in some cases a car accident.

This is true in life as well. We do not realize what and who we are affecting in our daily choices. Therefore, make your choices as thoughtful as possible. This is not to make you over-think everything, I’m just suggesting that you make choices that come from the heart, that have not only in your best interest but also the best interest of the greater good. I have heard a few times how when working with a client, that the work I did with them not only affected them, but their children and their children’s children. Wow, isn’t that amazing.

So be it your weight, your relationships, your career, it is about remembering that small choices have an incredible impact, especially over time.

The natural law is the compound effect.

Contact Dr. Shelly Zavala at or [email protected]

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