Last week I wrote an article entitled, The Best Relationship Advice Ever. Recently, a friend and I had a conversation about using penny investments to build momentum. We explored how this strategy can be applied to almost any area of life.
While the previous post honed in on relationships, this article will examine how small investments lead to big business results, hobbies, and life.
What are penny investments?
The idea of penny investments comes from an old leadership question. Imagine that you are asked to choose between two gifts. You can opt to receive one million dollars right now, or choose the give of a penny a day, doubled every day, for the next thirty days. This means that you would receive $0.01 today, $0.02 tomorrow, $0.04 on day three, etc.
When I’ve asked this question, I’ve had people ask, “Is the offer is good for thirty days, or for thirty years?” Thirty days doesn’t seem like enough time for this penny a day gift to amount to much. However, if you’ve heard this question before, or took the time to do the math, then you’ll know that the most financially sound choice is to go with the penny.
The grand total of a penny a day, doubled every day, for thirty days is $10,737,418.23. That’s over ten times the million-dollar offer. I like this concept of penny investments because there are so many practical applications.
How do penny investments Help Build Momentum in Life?
There was a time when I went to the gym consistently. After years of a steady, three days a week regiment, I took a break. It was during a hectic season in life. After a month of intense study and little exercise, I tried to resume my regular routine. It was depressing. I lifted lighter weights than normal. I took longer breaks and didn’t complete half of my usual workout. The following day, my body ached. As far as my workout was concerned, that day was a penny investment.
However, a few days later, I finally recovered enough to return to the gym–lifting was much easier. I found myself regaining momentum quickly. A few months later, that initial workout routine would hardly have caused me to break a sweat.
In life, penny investments double overtime. Then they double again. This happens because everything gets easier with practice. Then, when all the little investments are added together, there is a big payoff. Now that is some serious momentum!
Why do penny investments work?
In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell writes about the 10,000-hour rule. This theory suggests 10,000 hours of practice are required to reach an expert level. And this rule applies to every area of life.
According to the 10,000-hour rule, an author who writes for seven solid hours on Saturday will master the art of writing at a similar rate as an Author who writes consistently, for an hour each day. This theory suggests that it’s the sum total of the time spent in practice that matters most.
What makes penny investments so powerful?
The power of penny investments is twofold. Penny investments feel small. It’s much easier to set aside an hour a day to write than seven hours on the weekend. These small investments allow us to avoid the million-dollar trap.
The million-dollar trap says:
- “I wrote for seven hours yesterday. So, I don’t need to do anything today.”
- “Because I ate exceptionally healthy yesterday, it’s OK to cheat on my diet today.”
- “I worked out really hard last week. So, I’ll take it easy this week.”
- “Because I studied really hard yesterday, I’ll relax for a couple of days.”
Build Momentum Fast by Being a Tortise
It is easy to overestimate the value of large investments. It’s the old story of the tortoise and the hare all over again. Think back for a moment to this classic fable about a rabbit and turtle who decide to race. You’ll remember that the hair gets off to a speedy start. Then, seeing the extent of his lead, the hair takes a break.
The problem is that the hare overestimated his lead. He also underestimated the power of slow and steady. While their hair naps, the tortoise overtakes him and wins the race.
Similarly, people have a tendency to overestimate the value of their big investments. Like the hare, we might work hard one day, take two days off–thinking we deserve the break–then realize that we’ve rested too long and have fallen behind. I know that I’ve been guilty of this before. The great thing about the story of the tortoise and the hare is that no matter how many times the story is told, the tortoise wins every time. Be a tortoise!
[Tweet “Small, steady, investments over time, lead to big results!”]
Another key function of penny investments is that they result in good habits. Habits are difficult to break. A blogger who writes for thirty minutes a day for a year will log more total writing time than a person who writes for thee hours, once a week. He will also find that the habit of writing has integrated into his life. Soon, he or she will have a difficult time not writing daily. These are two powerful payoffs for the price of a small, consistent investment!
What do the professionals say?
The idea of making frequent investments is a concept that aligns with William Glasser’s choice theory. Choice theory proposes that you and I are where we are at in life because of our choices. [Tweet ” If we don’t like where we are at, we can change our situation by making different choices.”]
How do Penny investments align with a Biblical worldview?
Proverbs 28:20 says, “A faithful man shall abound with blessings.” Penny investments are all about being faithful in the small things.
And in Zachariah 4:1O, God exhorts His people with the words, “Do not despise these small beginnings.”
Small beginnings involve doing the best we can with what we have. They are not fancy or flashy. When we are faithful, momentum builds quickly, and so do the results.
[Tweet “When we are faithful, momentum builds quickly, and so do the results.”]
How do I use penny investments in building momentum?
Whether you’re an author, athlete, parent, teacher, or student, the concept of building positive momentum, over time, applies to you. Here are some keys for getting started:
- Start now.
- Stay consistent.
- Celebrate small successes.
- Trust the process.
If you’re still not sold-out on this idea of penny investments, you may want to check out this investment chart. It provides a breakdown of the penny a day, doubled for thirty days, process. What’s interesting is that for the first week, momentum generates at a snail’s pace. On day seven, the total accumulated investment is only $1.27. Yet, by day twenty-seven, the million-dollar payoffs start rolling in.
Now, I’m fully aware that life does not work exactly like this chart. Yet, there are many parallels. In starting a new endeavor, moving the momentum needle from zero to one feels like a chore. However, with most activities, building momentum becomes easier over time. The key is to keep pressing toward the 10,000 hours of mastery, trusting the process, and then enjoying the payoff when the time is right.
Diving Deeper into Building Momentum in Your Life
Now it’s time to dive deeper! Use the questions below for further reflection and discussion.
- How does the idea of building momentum by making penny investments resonate with you?
- How have you already gained momentum in your life by making penny investments?
- What new tiny habits might you from and how would this help your momentum increase?
- What is your biggest takeaway from this post?
We’d love to hear from you and strive to replay to every comment personally. Now it’s your turn to keep the momentum building conversation going in the comments below!