The Power of a Small Change

One thing that amazes me is how small changes can really dramatically improve our lives for the better. In 2016, we sent out a survey to job hunters asking:

how many jobs did you apply for last week?

Almost Half of the Job Hunters Apply for 5 or Less Jobs

The response stunned me. 45 % said that they applied for less than 5 jobs per week. In order to be able to say: “I have a better chance than 45 % of all job hunters of finding a job”, you only have to increase the number of jobs applied for to 5 jobs a week. Imagine, just doing a small chance to that and doing 10, 20 or 30 a week. How will that change your life?

Another example is language. Swedish is often considered important for the Swedish workplace. Let’s say that you are going to Swedish courses right now and want to improve your Swedish as fast as possible. You will have all your course work that you are focusing on. But, let’s say you want to to make a tiny change that can help you improve your language faster. What can you do?

Going the Extra Mile

Why not learning 5 words per day outside of the curriculum. These can be words for your specific industry or it can be the most common words in the language.

Here is a list of the 1000 most common words in the Swedish language. As you learn the language. Why not take 5 words from this list every day and learn them? How long time will that take from you every day? In 200 days you will have learned 1000 words.

road with three pieces of agricultural land next to it

Learning the Most Common Words First

In 200 days, you will know 74.85 % of all the words commonly occurring in the language. This is a pretty incredible endeavor in 200 days. Increase that to 10 words per day and you can know 74.85 % of the words in 100 days. If you want to understand the math for this, check out Zipf’s law.

The important thing is to stop there. It should be something you can do daily. Something that won’t put you on the edge. Here is what we know. Most people won’t do this. Most language teachers are not thinking like this. But you can and that is an edge for you.

These kind of really small changes that gives an improvement are literally everywhere and this is how to find them.

The problem, I think, is that we often think about big changes. Something like, I will learn 100 words per day. Or, I will workout five days a week. When you are trying to do a big change at the time, you are basically setting yourself up for failure. It is better to create some tiny changes that you can easily implement. Like, learning five new words. Instead of going big right from the start.

three pages of a book flipping with lots of words on

The Long Game

Everything is a long game. Finding a job, learning the language, starting a business. I know that it is appealing to try to do it in a shorter time. To find a hack. To do something quickly. Great things come slow, though. Embrace the long game. That is one that most people are not playing. Most people are not saying; I will learn 5 words a day and in 200 days I will know 74.85 % of the language. So maybe try?

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *