"The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest." - Albert Einstein
The last speech of that class was on basic financial management. I started off the speech by saying that a reporter asked Einstein what is the most powerful force in the universe. The reporter thought Einstein would say something like, "Love is the most powerful force in the universe," or "God is the most powerful force." They were basically trying to back the guy into a corner, but were unsuccessful. POW! Compound interest! Who would have ever guessed Einstein would have busted out with that?
Compound interest is simply, "Interest which is calculated not only on the initial principal but also the accumulated interest of prior periods." Instead of getting a return on what was put down initially, the individual receives a return on the "return" from previous periods. I think this concept of compound interest applies very well to any sort of discipline or practice that someone goes about cultivating.
When I started swimming years ago, I couldn't make it across the pool swimming freestyle. Swimming 200 meters was an accomplishment. But I realized that if I just kept practicing that the practice would build upon itself, and I would develop "feel" or mastery for the craft. But the underpinning of this idea is something that most hard-ass drill instructors miss: enjoyment. I really enjoyed being in the water, and feeling of holding water. So, killing myself to knock out what most 8 year old swimmers did as a warm-up was worth it.
Lately, I have been looking at my life on a wholistic level, and trying not to be as granular as I usually am. Historically, I get really upset when small little things aren't right where they should be. I can get fixated on them very easily. I recognize that this habit of being fixated on small imperfections gets in the way of enjoying the big picture. Some call this OCD, but for me I have to set a long-term horizon in order to force change and become a reality. I keep coming back to Gordon Byrn's words that we can achieve much more than we think possible in the long-term.
My driving thought for this week is come up with a simple plan that I can achieve each day, and really enjoy. I've been bringing fruit and nuts to the office alongside drinking 8-10 ounces of water on the top of every hour, which have really helped to keep my energy level and focus going through the afternoon swoon rather than eat a grain-filled big lunch that will just dip me down and lead me into a nonproductive comatose state. Again, this just comes down to a little extra planning.
Author: Michael Munson lives in Phoenix, AZ and is one of my Girevoy Sport (G.S.) Kettlebell Students who regularly practices endurance swimming, running, and high intensity workouts. To read more of Michael's work follow him here: http://www.zenaccountant.blogspot.com/