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The Hot Peppers

A story about the power of small changes and consistency.


Two baby peppers sat in planters, incubating under a grow light in a home garden. One pepper immediately thrived, growing tall very quickly. The other pepper was growing too, but slower. It started to seem like it was lagging behind.


The fast pepper, however, quickly soared. It grew so tall that its leaves began pressing into the grow light. It survived, but it was not unscathed. By the time the grow light was adjusted to the new height of the pepper plant, some of its leaves had been scorched. The other pepper, continuing to slowly and consistently grow, blossomed up into the new open space, unscathed.


So what can we learn about these two peppers?


Sometimes, a fast start is appealing. There is allure behind diving in with two feet and racing to the top as quickly as possible.


A word of caution with fast starts: They only work if they are sustainable. An unrealistic pace of change leaves you at risk for burnout or getting burned. Don't be in a rush. Patience and consistency are underrated and fruitful virtues.


To demonstrate in another, more relatable way, the power of small, consistent growth over time, i pose this question: Would you rather have 1 million dollars right now or a penny that doubles in value each day for the next 30 days? You may have heard this question before, and if you have, then you know the penny is the better option (on day 30, what started as a penny is now worth over 5 million dollars, 5x as much as the instant gratification of the 1 million dollars).


The moral of the story is this: Don't underestimate the power of one good decision when you make it consistently. It may not seem like much today, but over time the seemingly insignificant changes add up to something much greater, just like the compounding penny and the patient pepper.


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