Every day we get opportunities and face decisions (which inherently require sacrifice), that either contribute towards our potential, or take away from it. We must go through an OODA Loop to determine the best orientation and planning, but result wise our action should be rooted in a day by day habit system.
Imagine your entire life’s potential added up to equal your “Total Potential”. This means that every day, your actions either contribute to, or take away from your Total Potential. Since daily action creates daily habits that your life and are made or broken daily, there’s a ‘building material’ of your Total Potential; “Present Potential”.
Present Potential = Achievement of daily habit based systems to execute processes
Now we can use heuristics to formulate this into a long term strategy.
Total Potential = Present Potential x Total Time (Example: Days Lived)
This great quote helped me understand this better:
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing.
– Annie Dillard
So imagine that you set a goal of doing 30 push ups per day. To reach this goal lets say you figure you need to do one push up per day and add one extra push up each day, eventually arriving at 30 push ups per day.
In this example; Present Potential = 1 Push Up/Day + Days into the Month
That means you will reach 100% of your Present Potential on the first day if you do the 1 push up (assuming that’s all you can – and should – actually do). And if you maintained this for your entire life, you would reach your full Total Potential
But because of your body improving in strength, if the next day you only do 1 push up again you’re actually only at 50% of your Present Potential because 2 push ups was your true Present Potential! That’s why if you keep doing only one push up per day, at the end of the month you will only be meeting ~3% of your daily Present Potential because of the much increased strength that you’re missing out on using.
Now imagine your entire life span was only 30 days, that means doing only one push up per day, you would meet only 4.03% of your Total Potential!
But because results are compound, this is much much worse. 4% is a calculation based on just how many push ups you do assuming basic addition. But it doesn’t factor in the growth you could have achieved after these 30 days which might have been many multiple of times better. So in fact, achieving say 80% of your Present Potential every day means you’re probably only achieving 40-60% or less of your Total Potential because you’re missing out on all the exponential results and opportunity cost!
It’s very likely that most of us lose most of our Total Potential to opportunity cost and compound loss. If you’re achieving 80% of Present Potential right now, that 20% you’re missing daily is compounding exponentially to maybe 40% or more.
If you want to have a high potential life (I know I do!), the key to reaching our Total Potential is achieving as much of our Present Potential as possible every single day, and then letting The Slight Edge multiple that out across our life!