The One Degree Shift

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Recently I finished reading the book “Double Your Income doing what you love” by Raymond Aaron. The ideas in the book were very refreshing and original. Some of the ideas were different to what you typically read in other self-help books.

However, one idea really hit home with me. The idea resonated with me a lot.

Raymond Aaron talks about the concept of the One Degree Shift. He illustrated this with the example of a how a motorboat makes a course correction.

Let’s say you are on a motorboat – you realize that you are going completely in the wrong direction – instead of going North you are going South. In order to reach your destination you obviously need to change direction. How do you do that?

This is what I have learnt you need to do – you make a one degree shift using the rudder, then another one degree shift , and eventually step by step you are going in the right direction. A series of one degree shifts will eventually take you in the right direction.

The One Degree shift

This is a great analogy to any lasting change you want to make in your life.

Let’s take the example of your health. You realize that you overweight (it is not politically correct to use the word “fat” anymore-jeez!!), you are so out-of-shape that even walking over to your refrigerator to grab something will have you gasping for fresh air. Everything is a struggle because you are out-of-shape.

What do most people do? They o course, wait for the New Year to come along. Then on Jan 1st, they want to change everything. Yes they are Superman, and they are confident they can change it all at once. They sign up for the premium gym membership (with personal training) and they clear everything from their kitchen cupboards & refrigerators (only green stuff left in the house). And expensive workout gear from Lululemon (You have to get it from Lululemon to prove that you are working out,right?). The excitement,motivation is all there. Then what happens. Few weeks later, enthusiasm wanes and things are back to normal. If you don’t trust me, go to your gym during February.

Actually things are not back to normal, they have got a little worse – you are still out-of-shape, but now you also feel like a failure.

The same frustrating experience can happen when wanting to change your personal finance, career, etc.

Now let’s go back to Raymond Aaron’s One Degree Shift. Remember the motorboat analogy.

Instead of changing everything (and waiting for the holy & auspicious occasion) – just start now- but start with only one thing.

Just start walking 5 minutes a day. Then increase it to 10, 15 and eventually 30 minutes a day. Then walking will not excite you anymore. So now you will upgrade to jogging and then running.You perhaps sign up for a 5k race.

You are becoming more active ,you feel good, you feel healthy. Then you realize that you are not getting the proper nutrition – so you start cutting back on soda,chips,etc. And soon you are eating a healthy nutritious diet. Your outlook on life starts to change.

You also realize that because you are now much healthier- you also have more energy. And you are happier..

Suddenly it seems like you have more time because of the new-found energy levels. So you start signing up for a new courses/classes. Overtime you learn some new skill and maybe even smarter. And perhaps even be more productive at work, make more money and so on..

You get the gist? Perhaps I rushed the sequence, but I am confident you can relate to this.

Instead of making 25 changes at once – you make one small change, and do it well.

That 1 Degree shift will slowly and surely start to impact your overall life. Instead of continuing to go downhill, before you realize it you are going uphill – in the right direction.

What is the one small thing you can change today? And how will that impact your life one year down the line?

“If you make a 1 percent change for a long enough time, you’ll be heading in the exact opposite direction sooner than you think. If you change your rudder by 1 degree, it doesn’t take you years to change” – Raymond Aaron

The One Degree shift

Written By
Nissar Ahamed is the Founder & CEO of CareerMetis.com. He is also the host of The Career Insider Podcast and the co-host of The C.A.R.E. Podcast

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