Why early wins matter

“Chester, I heard you are the guy to beat”, said my classmate.  Her statement came from the fact that in the first week of doing my master’s degree, I had finished reading one of the textbooks.  You see, I wanted to set an expectation of myself to be hard working and diligent.

Previous to starting the master’s degree, I had studied a little psychology, and had come across something known as cognitive dissonance theory.  The essence of cognitive dissonance is that people tend to act in a consistent manner.  By finishing reading the book on the first week, I was setting an expectation of myself to consistently act in such a disciplined manner.

This behaviour of performing exceptionally at the beginning of  a task, I call early wins.  One of the reasons, I kept blogging is simply because I had early wins.  In a time long ago, I had a blog with over 150k views and 100+ posts, but even before this, I had a blog post with over 30k views within my first ten posts.  I think this formed the impetuous for even further writing.

Benefits of early wins:

1.       Gives Hope – If you are undertaking something that is very demanding, having an early win can give hope that you can achieve the rest of your goal.

2.       Set Other’s Expectations – If you perform well, others will notice and will be expecting such future performance from you, and it is harder to let others down than yourself.  It’s also probably good to note that if people have poor expectations of you, you should probably move away from these people.  As with positive expectations, we also tend to live up to our negative expectations.

3.       Other’s follow your lead - Given that you are ahead of the pack, others will defer to your judgement in unsure situations.