The theory of small achievements tells us that life is always better if we learn to simplify it. Larger and more unsolvable problems, for example, will find their end more easily if we “disintegrate” them into more elementary pieces.
Thus, nothing can be more cathartic for one’s self-esteem than accumulating small victories, daily triumphs with which to advance. Anthropologists say that the capacity for progress is something natural in the human being.
Technological, social and cultural advance is almost unstoppable. So much so that it will not take too long to have new generations ready to explore new planets and make a qualitative and quantitative leap in the world of medicine to eradicate diseases that are now chronic or fatal.
“I go slowly, but never retracing my steps.”
Now, we can point out a central idea: these achievements are very complicated if we do not stimulate their motivation and their interest in achieving them, if we do not believe in their possibilities. Thus, we will give way to men and women who trust in their abilities, who have a good self-concept and strong self-esteem.
For example, the famous biologist James Watson, co-discoverer of the molecular structure of DNA, explains in his memoirs that at school no one usually explains to us how motivation works or how those times of marked darkness and personal defeatism are managed.
Dr. Watson and Francis Crick failed multiple times in their attempt to decipher the DNA. Moreover, for several years they considered the idea that their model would fail, being the reason why they would become the laughingstock of their profession.
However, both decided to correct their mental and emotional approach and apply what we know today as the theory of small achievements. Because there is nothing better than going little by little to gain security, trust, certainties … And achieve victory.
The theory of small achievements to improve the image we have of ourselves
We cannot require a child to run if he has not first learned to walk. Nor can anyone start a house from the roof if they haven’t laid the foundation first. Life demands calm, knowing how to do and above all that intelligence that knows how to nourish itself with the most delicate patience. However, in our day to day there is not much room for the prudence of those who choose to slow down, those who prefer small attempts, those who prefer to count to 100 before taking a step.
Most of us, in fact, move to that extreme where everything seems magnified. We have big dreams, high hopes, and big problems too. Everything surpasses us, everything seems to slip out of our hands most of the time, to the point of thinking that we have no escape, that we have already burned all our ships. These types of perceptions undermine our self-esteem and completely veto any motivation for achievement.
Now, there is a name that well deserves our recognition in the world of psychology for its contributions to the field of human motivation. Teresa Amabile, a Harvard professor and specialist in creativity, productivity and happiness at work highlights everything that the theory of small achievements can contribute. To achieve big goals or solve the most complex problems, it is best to start all the way on small scales.
The small revolutions of the day to day
Karl Weick is a well-known social psychologist who is also an expert in the field of motivation. According to him, most modern societies deal ineffectively with their most serious problems, such as unemployment, school failure or crime. What social agents and political spheres always end up doing is investing large amounts of money to provide, according to them, “great solutions”.
However, the great solutions always remain in smoke, on wet paper, in something that arrives with good intentions and disappears where it came from. Because the real key is found neither more nor less than in the theory of small achievements, in the small revolutions of everyday life. In detecting what does not work, in being a skilled and patient microsurgeon capable of identifying where the real problem is.
Thus, in countries like Norway or Finland they know that the ideal is to create simple and modest plans at the local level, to be close to the people, to design accessible organizations with which to change mentalities little.
“If you want to make big changes, you have to pay attention to the small details.”
Smaller goals to improve our self-esteem
It doesn’t matter how big that problem is or what challenge we have on the horizon. It is enough to crumble it, to divide it into smaller pieces to make those dimensions much more manageable. The theory of small achievements tells us that to maintain our emotional health we need daily victories and to achieve them nothing better than setting simple goals every day.
Little by little our self-esteem will improve and we will be able to make a little bigger changes, to allow our steps to be longer and safer, our gaze to rise and see that peak a little closer each day. Let us therefore invest our efforts in applying this simple and humble approach to push our limits a little further.