Win Small, Dream Big

Ivdad Ahmed Khan Mojlish
February 12, 2014
Win Small, Dream Big

Sounds oxymoronic, right? Let me explain.

I still remember a nail-biting cricket encounter between India and Pakistan that I had watched several years back. Batting first, India piled up close to 350, leaving Pakistan to score at around seven an over. Although the game wired down to the last ball, and Pakistan eventually won, the magic of the ‘nail-biting finish’ didn’t strike me as much as did something else — the manner in which Pakistan approached the run chase.

Loaded with nimble strokes, occasional boundaries, and tons of singles/twos, their innings exemplified the beauty of winning small. Instead of attempting to bludgeon every ball out of the park, the batsmen seemed content reaching certain milestones with respect to the number of overs bowled. In the end, a seemingly uphill height was overcome not with might but with art, an art that embodies and appreciates the accomplishment of shorter goals, leading to the fulfillment of bigger dreams.

Popularized by the phenomenal business bestseller author, Jim Collins, among other luminaries, the concept of “small wins” came into the limelight fairly recently, even though the sources of real-life applications could be traced back to periods that are long gone.

I am a firm believer in the notion of “small wins.” No matter how unattainable a task might seem, I first try to break it down into sub-components, set small aims, allocate a certain time frame, and then go about trying to solve it. By doing so, I feel more motivated and less fatigued to get over with the task.

Often times we tend to get overwhelmed by the magnitude of tasks that are presented in front of us on a daily basis. But if we could give shape to our mental make-up with a ‘take one at a time’ stance, the odds of accomplishing get significantly higher.

Perhaps, there’s no one better than the author, Daniel Coyle, to have framed the power of small wins more beautifully. In his blog, he writes, “The best performers and teachers I’ve seen don’t get caught up in seeking big breakthrough moments. Instead, they hunt the little breakthroughs — the small, seemingly insignificant progressions that create steady daily progress. In short, they love baby steps.”

In the same vein, the book “The Progress Principle” studies the undeniable connection between successful people and the “win small” attitude. The benefits are manifold: you stay grounded; you develop a clear focus on the world around you; you enjoy the present versus getting bogged down by future ambiguities; and finally, you learn to avoid unhealthy shortcuts. In short, what the small win attitude does is make you more jovial, healthy, and confident.

To best make use of this belief, I’ll end with a few suggestions. First, if you are in the habit of carrying a notebook around, then there’s nothing like it. Writing tasks down as they come makes you more organized and helps you to monitor progress at the end of each day.

Second, if you are struggling to cross a certain hurdle — such as finishing a book — make it a point to pick a certain number of pages that you’d perfect each day. It could be setting a target of reading, say 25 pages per day. With the passage of time, you will get the confidence to take incremental steps in beefing up the intensity, and before you even know it, you will find that you have come a long way.

And finally, never forget to celebrate these small wins. Every time you run past a milestone, or leap over an obstacle, make sure to pat yourself on the back, flash a brilliant smile, and thank the Almighty. Congratulations, you’re now one step closer to achieving your big, audacious dream!

WRITTEN BY: Ivdad Ahmed Khan Mojlish

Ivdad Ahmed Khan Mojlish is the Co-founder and Managing Director of LightCastle Partners. He loves to read, travel and passionately work at the intersection of development and technology. He has an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, and has previously completed BBA from Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka.

For further clarifications, contact here: [email protected]

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