The Power of Little Wins

Sometimes, when I’m learning something new, doing a rather difficult task, failing at something I normally succeed at doing, or having a difficult time navigating the world, I take a seat and say to myself, ‘You need a little win today.’

 A little win is a self-administered pat on the back for a little job well done. It’s what we can do for our tired, confused, overworked, and at times stupid brains to tell it that, ‘Yes, you CAN do something right’.

It’s not a new thing. But I didn’t know that it WAS a thing until recently. I’ve used the technique for years and thought everyone understood little wins, but it’s a relatively unknown technique for getting unstuck. It’s also a recognized psychological technique.

 Who knew?As it turns out, these small wins hold the key to momentum.  In a workplace, they increase motivation, offer recognition and positively impact final results. In contrast, little fails can be devastating to the whole project’s success. Using little wins to offset fails is the solution.

In our daily lives, they tell us that we are moving forward, we aren’t ‘dense’, and we DO have value.For me, I think they started in university. I loved Political Science. But it was difficult. I had to read the textbooks with a thesaurus and a dictionary next to me. (Remember the dark ages when we had books, not screens?) When my brain was ready to explode, I’d stop and read something easy, something I could understand without working. Something that made the dopamine surge. I shutter to say that was the ‘True Romance’ magazines of the time. I was 18, after all.  But it worked. Five minutes of the rag mag and I could go back to PolySci and be engaged faster, understand more, and retain more than had I kept trying to cram more into the over-full filing cabinet that was my brain.

 If I’m trying a new chain maille pattern and I get frustrated, I stop, pull out the piece of Dragonscale I have, and do a few rows. Dragonscale is one of the most challenging weaves I’ve ever done, took me two years to get it, and now I use it to remind myself that I CAN do difficult weaves. That’s a Dragonscale bracelet in the photo.

If I’m sewing something new, or trying to learn a new technique and it’s beating me, I’ll stop, pull out the box of cat-kickers I’ve got cut out and sew a few. Cat-kickers are toys I make for 4Paws in Kamloops. Straight sewing, fast, lots of bang for the time buck, and I think about the great pictures I’ve been sent of kitties battling with the kickers, and for some of the kitties, it’s their first toy ever. Dopamine surge for sure!

 I had some writing to do the other day and after I watched the blank page on my screen for about 10 minutes, I decided to write a quick note to someone I’d just been in contact with for the first time in years. Five minutes. I felt good after writing it, my brain was working well, the fingers were warmed up, and I wrote my required piece quickly and with almost no re-writes.

 The power of little wins. Google that sentence, lots of great info.