📣 Now boarding: Dublin to New York City.
This was my flight path almost exactly 11 years ago today (as I write this) when I landed in the States for the first time, visa in hand, and no return flight booked. I had just $783 in my pocket and was about to start a $30k salaried architecture job.
Yeah, that’s an annual salary.
As we took off I remember thinking, ‘I hope these pilots know what they’re doing.’
Narrator: Of course, they did. And that’s why I’m here writing this now.
But I imagined what would happen if we had been just 1º off from our destination. Where would we have landed? How would my life have been different?
The answer is simple: Inputs determine outputs.
If they had started the journey from Dublin with faulty instruments or a misshapen wing we could’ve ended up in no man’s land. In the middle of Quebec.
So they got me thinking …
What may seem like a small 1º difference you make today (whether positive righting the ship or negative leading you astray) can give you a massively different result in the end.
A 1º deviation from your normal habits may seem insignificant, but over a year or a decade, it can mean a massive difference between who you are and who you want to become.
It reminds me of this quote: “Someone once told me the definition of hell; on your last day on earth, the person you could have become will meet the person you became.”
Life before the 1º rule
I was struggling.
- I couldn’t meet my goals.
- I was constantly overwhelmed by my to-do list.
- I was discouraged by others around me making progress.
However once I realized the importance of precision in my inputs and the long-term impact of minor tweaks. Tweaks that in the day-to-day were small, but compounded over time were massive.
That’s when everything changed.
I focused on the little things, like breaking down the habits of the person I wanted to become and scheduling time to do them. I set goals. I set my daily priorities before the day got away from me so that I could feel accomplished and in control of my day.
9 ways I applied the 1º rule to my life
- Learned to say no
- Eliminated distractions
- Ate my biggest frog first
- Reflected on my progress
- Planned ahead and set specific goals
- Tracked my habits (good/bad)
- Planned my day before it began (Self Journal)
- Prioritized self-care and always improving (health, work, etc)
- Optimized my daily schedule to align with when I worked best (not 9-5)
Results: Increased productivity & a changed mindset
The results were pretty astounding.
My productivity skyrocketed 10x, and I was able to accomplish more in less time. My mindset shifted from constant stress and frustration to calm and focus.
But the benefits of the 1º rule go beyond just productivity.
Productivity for me is about getting the important work done efficiently and effectively so you can go and live the rest of your life.
I’ve been able to achieve better results in all areas of my life – from my relationships (ask my wife!) to my finances to my business.
Often times the areas in our lives where we aren’t intentional or looking at become the place where we stagnate or go off course altogether.
So, if you’re struggling to achieve your goals and feel overwhelmed by your to-do list, try applying the 1º rule:
Make small tweaks to your habits. With time, things will change in your favor.
You may be surprised by how small changes in your approach can have a big impact on long-term outcomes.
I made this habit tracker to help you… well, track this stuff. Check it out here.
By sticking to it, you’ll be on your way to landing exactly where you want to go – not no man’s land.
The only thing you need now is the instruments to secure your flight from A to B – in other words, systems to plan, track, and prioritize your goals.