If you do not know the “Law of Accelerating Returns” (LAR) which was first coined by American inventor and innovator Ray Kurzweil in 2001, you should. It could help you live a happy life.
What is LAR? The Law of Accelerating Returns states that consistent effort will eventually lead to returns on an accelerated scale, meaning after sustained effort, positive results will come quicker and quicker. As Kurzweil described it, LAR pertains to technological innovation; however, it applies to goal-setting and goal-achievement, as well!
According to LAR, leaps in innovation become more frequent as more innovations come to fruition. For example, the span of time between the invention of the wheel and the invention of the steam engine is pretty great, but the leaps in technological advancements over the last 100 years have been almost rapid fire in how often they occur. It has become, essentially, a positive feedback loop with the evolutionary process becoming increasingly effective. In other words, returns become accelerated. At an exponential rate, in fact.
Kurzweil stated, “…[A]s a particular evolutionary process becomes more effective, greater resources are deployed toward the further progress of that process.”
When it comes to LAR and goals, the more you accomplish and succeed, the more you will accomplish and succeed, and with much greater frequency.
Here is how it looks on a graph.
In the early stages, a lot of effort gets you little returns. But in the later stages, you will get a lot of results from much less effort.
Most people fall off their horse prior to hitting the steep acceleration of the results line–this is where momentum and motivation are at their lowest, and where goal achievement is most vulnerable. But it’s important to realize that while you tend to put in a lot of effort and time early on, once you get past the inflection point, less effort and time is required to achieve your goals. Success begets success!
A good analogy is learning to play the piano. When you first begin your lessons, it takes a great deal of time and effort to master the keys. But fast-forward to a few years later and now, when someone hands you a sheet of music, you can read it and play the song almost immediately.
How does this law apply to goal-setting and the accomplishment of goals? Through the process of setting these goals and achieving them, over and over again, you actually get better at setting and achieving them. You are creating your own positive feedback loop, and via an evolutionary process–learning, really–you are making yourself more effective.
In his book “Atomic Habits,” James Clear wrote about the micro-habits that accumulate and build upon each other; the Law of Accelerating Returns is similar in that you are building upon the habits and skills needed to accomplish your goals.
For example, if your Bold Goal is to “maximize your health as you age,” and your building blocks include eating healthy and exercising daily, once you succeed in cutting down on carbs and maintaining that morning workout streak, the other building blocks in the plan will be easier to accomplish. You are learning how to accomplish and succeed, which will beget even more accomplishment and success.
Do you see how the Law of Accelerating Returns works in your favor?
So the next time you take a look at your Building Block Plan or Bold Life Formula Plan worksheet, and the breadth and scope of what you want to accomplish takes your breath away, don’t sweat it! The Law of Accelerating Returns has your back, and the more you accomplish, the more you will accomplish.