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Ever Heard Of Kanter's Law?

goals personal development success Oct 29, 2020

Ever heard of Kanter's Law?


Have you ever struggled to complete a project, achieve a goal, or even finish an important task? Well, if you are anything like me, or most other humans for that matter, the answer is, yes, of course. What a stupid question, why do you ask? Well because after over 2 decades of studying just about everything I can get my hands on in the areas of success and personal development, I have never heard of Kanter's Law. When I did, my whole world was rocked.


As a High Performance Coach, I am constantly looking for ways to help my clients, and myself, improve their lives, get to the next level, and help them achieve things they never thought they could achieve. Any endeavor to change and/or improve an area in your life has a certain predictable cycle to it. With few exceptions it starts out with excitement, with a high degree of motivation. We are thinking about how great things will be once this is completed or achieved. However, as the work goes on and you start to feel the struggle. It starts to get hard. That is where a lot of people quit. They start their new workout routine only to quit after 3 weeks because it is harder than they thought it would be. They quit because of Kanter's Law. Kanter's Law sates, "Everything looks like a failure in the middle. Everyone loves inspiring beginnings and happy endings; it is just the middles that involve hard work."


As Kanter's Law states, the hard work is in the middle before you have achieve much, if any, results. They quit because they done loads and loads of work but haven't seen or felt the amount of results they needed to keep them inspired, to persist.


I can tell you understanding Kanter's Law was a game changer for me. Here's why. If everything looks like failure in the middle, then I shouldn't be surprised when it feels that way. I shouldn't be surprised that it feels like no progress is being made. I shouldn't be surprised that the work is harder than everyone thought it would be. It's hard, not because there is anything wrong with me, but because it is the natural course of doing hard things.


On the surface this can seem like an obvious statement. But when you are in the middle of a difficult project or pursuing a difficult goal and trying to access the hard work vs the progress you are making, many people just give up.


So the next time you find your in the middle and are finding it harder than you thought it would be. Remember Kanter's Law. This can prevent you from blaming yourself, beating yourself up, thinking you are not enough, strong enough, smart enough, didn't go the right school, or any other excuse you can think of as to why you are finding this harder than you thought it should be. Don't get down on yourself, just remember, that this is just a part of the process.


This reminds me of the quote by Calvin Coolidge, "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."


Of course, you may have seen or heard this quote many times before. But after understanding Kanter's Law, that quote has a deeper meaning. You may have always known to persist but sometimes when embroiled in the difficulties of achieving a desired goal, it felt like failure. Now you can realize that it only felt like failure. It was the natural order to feel like you are failing in the middle. Now when you pursue a goal and it feels like failure, understand that this is just Kanter's Law appearing, but with persistence and determination, you will get through it. You will come out the other side when you persist, learn and adapt, continue to forge ahead and to conquer your goals. Don't wish for the struggle to go away, honor it, embrace it, lean into it, conquer it. Know that because of this struggle you are getting better and stronger.

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