The Compounding Nature Of Screwing Up—Or Being Prosperous 

Bill Gallagher

Real talk: Once when I was flying a plane, I flew extremely dangerously. 

Here’s what happened. 

One day when I was piloting a plane, there were clear blue skies as far as the eye could see. Suddenly, over the radio, I hear a pilot declare an in-flight emergency—he had lost power in all of his engines. The thing was, that pilot was in my vicinity. 

So what did I do? I started looking around for his plane. Yep, I let myself get distracted.

And what did that cause? Without being aware of it, I started to change my speed and altitude. 

Thankfully, I was only inattentive for a few moments. Soon, I regained my composure and started again to pay attention to flying my plane (what a novel idea!). But those moments could have been deadly. 

In this anecdote, can you see how one thing led to another and could have ended up in two planes experiencing in-flight emergencies? 

The Compounding Nature Of Failure 

As a pilot, I’ve read many post-accident investigations of flights that have gone horribly wrong. Often the investigators find that one little problem—which by itself wasn’t serious—caused another little problem, which then caused another little problem, and so on. And then those problems all combined together led to disaster. 

Recently I talked with a security expert, and she shared with me a similar sentiment—that seemingly small safety infractions might not lead to a workplace accident, yet when they add up, cumulatively they can be catastrophic. 

I was talking with Apolonia Rockwell, the CEO of a safety training and OSHA compliance firm, True Safety Services. In our chat, she talked about how it’s not uncommon for workers on a jobsite to ignore apparently small safety procedures. But Apolonia emphasized that these seemingly insignificant safety infractions can accumulate over time and have serious consequences. 

You can check out my chat with Apolonia here:

Talking with Apolonia made me realize that, like failure, success also has a compounding effect—it’s just that they unfold in opposite directions on the spectrum of outcomes. 

The Compounding Nature Of Success

Along your journey of trying to make business growth easier, faster, and more fun, it’s helpful to remind yourself of the compounding nature of success. 

Much like compound interest in the financial realm, success compounds over time, gradually building momentum and yielding remarkable results. 

Everything we do can add to our success. Indeed, success compounds through the accumulation of achievements, lessons learned, and persistent efforts. Each triumph serves as a stepping stone for the next, fostering a positive cycle that can propel you and your endeavors forward.

So, whatever you’re doing that’s successful, keep doing it. Remember, success isn’t an endpoint but a continuous journey. It’s the result of dedication, determination, and unwavering commitment. 

At times you might feel that you’re just taking small steps. And that’s ok. Because eventually, all that overall progress will create a positive momentum that propels you towards your goals. 

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