20 Mile March

In the book “Great by Choice” by Jim Collins, the author compares “10X” companies with a direct competitor who has similar market conditions, products, company size and skills. Through this comparison, he asks, why one company outperforms the other, not by a small amount, but by an enormous margin, hence the “10X” title.

It’s a great book and one I thoroughly recommend you read. One of my favourite lessons from it is the “20-mile-march” concept. It’s drawn from the comparison between Scott’s ill-fated journey to the South Pole and Amundsen successful mission to be there first.

Outwardly, two very similar expeditions, who both encounter similar conditions, have the same available equipment, and yet achieve very different results. One team reach the south pole five weeks before the other; one team survived the other didn’t.

The book explores many reasons behind their different results, but the “20-mile-march” refers to how far Amundsen expedition covered each day. No more and no less. They pushed themselves on the hard days and avoided over exerting themselves on the easy days.

Scott’s expedition, on the other hand, walked as far as possible each day, so on some days they covered 30+ miles but on others when the weather was terrible, they did zero.

Like the kids’ story of the tortoise and the hare, the greatest rewards come to those who show self-discipline, day after day and week after week to complete their 20-mile march.

This analogy applies equally to business, to life and relationships. Walk steadily towards your goal and don’t rush the journey.

You must work out what your 20-mile march looks like, thinking specifically about your vision and dreams. Once you have it firmly fixed in your mind, commit to it. Don’t do more each day, and don’t do less.

This isn’t a strategy that will bring you overnight success. But it will bring you success beyond your wildest dreams if you stick with it for as long as it takes.

Together, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.

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