In one experiment, several people were gathered in a room. Some were allowed to eat freshly baked chocolate biscuits and others just radishes. Imagine who enjoyed the food the most?

Then everyone was given a puzzle to solve. And they solved it first… the ones who ate radishes! Because they gave up less than the chocolate eaters and didn’t stop until they got it. They had already made the small effort to eat healthy and not chocolate.

They were already on the move. They had already made a move. On the other hand, the chocolate people, with all their energy and wellbeing behind that chocolate, lost.

It was not the difficulty, the tiredness or the glucose level (obviously the radish eaters had less than the chocolate eaters).

It was inertia that won. The momentum of having done a small movement before.

Now do you see the power of a mini effort? Choose: do nothing or a mini-step. But I guarantee that after the mini-step of biting into a radish it will be easy to keep eating healthy… and solve puzzles… and aim higher still.


Did you know that a token reward of $65 can be more effective than a $1,000 reward? A small prize is more motivating than a big prize that is too far away. That’s why a mini-reward system works, because you can touch it. It is real.

A good example is when Continental Airlines in the mid-1990s told each of its 30,000 employees that they would be rewarded with (just) $65 Bonus Dollars if they were among the 4 most efficient airlines at the end of the year.

Employees saw that number as achievable and began to collaborate with each other. (Those who say that it’s employees first, not customers, are right. Without them, customer satisfaction does not follow.)

The employees saw that $65 as real and from that point on, there was no more blaming others. They had to cooperate. They were not going to give up that very real $65. And above all: no one wanted to fail because it would mean taking $65 real dollars from their colleagues and seeing their faces every day.

We can lose thousands of dollars in bad investments and entrust half of our tax money to politicians, but $65… don’t let them take it away from us!

Other organisations have also achieved this with such cheap rewards as public congratulations, those at the top sitting down with those at the bottom and asking them for their ideas or thanking them…. Always small gestures.

Mini-rewards for mini-improvements. And mini-improvements for big improvements. Try it with yours.


Many recommend pursuing only one habit at a time. They believe that since we can’t multiply willpower, we should try just one new habit at a time. But why limit yourself to one area and not make progress in another at the same time?

With micro-improvements you can make progress in several areas at the same time and start several good habits at once. The key, once again, is to take it one step at a time.

You can make tremendous progress in a single day by getting up an extra five minutes early in the morning, doing a bit of sport at midday and a mini-session of speed reading in the afternoon. You only need small chunks of time for your brain to get used to it.

This way you will quickly implement several new habits.

This is how I learned to handle many computer programmes at the same time, which made my life easier. Every day a little bit with two or three different programs. Just one minute a day. That’s how I mastered web management, utility programs to be more productive, shorthand and other skills that today make my life very easy. And I also got used to doing sport, getting up early and concentrating. All in one.

You can build a talent base by investing just one minute a day. Decide now which skills you want to have and make a plan to work one minute a day on each one. You can try ten skills at a time.

For example, a couple of computer programs you want to master, work on two new contacts, one sport, one interesting course, two mega-projects and three medium-sized projects.

One minute with each. You have the advantage that for the rest of the day your subconscious will keep working on them while you rest.

And the next day you will have clearer ideas and you will have made even more progress. At other times you will lengthen that minute a little and you will take giant steps. You will see what a change.

Small improvements are flexible and work for any project. They fit into any lifestyle. They are your perfect tool to get started with skills and projects that until today were just a dream.

Without extra time or money.

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