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Focus On The Small Wins

Updated: Jun 16, 2022

Small wins are push factors that would lead to achieving the big wins. Without the small wins, the big one may not happen.


We sometimes forget or take for granted our small wins. We think they’re insignificant or perhaps a waste of time to even acknowledge let alone celebrate. Some might even consider celebration of small wins as a total waste of time and a lame excuse for a break (and copious amount of alcohol!).


I disagree. For me, small wins are extremely powerful!



What keeps me going and motivated are the small wins. I always focus on the small wins. I would celebrate the smallest of wins or successes or accomplishments and that would keep me happy and motivated to continue my pursuit. My recent weeks have been challenging, hectic and stressful. I've my small wins to thank for keeping me focused on the larger goal.

Teresa Amabile, a Harvard professor


Profession Amabile’s research has shown that just like big wins, tracking small and incremental wins can do wonders for our motivation and boost our self-confidence.


In her analysis of more than 12,000 diary entries of over 200 white and blue collar employees, she found that the most important driver of employees’ emotions and motivation at work, was whether they were moving forward by making incremental progress in their work. Yes, the small wins!


Recognition by colleagues (including bragging rights), incentives by the company (both monetary and non-monetary) etc were clearly not as important.


Small wins can be even more important than the big ones


Every achievement  (both big and small) activates our brain’s reward circuitry. The pathway opens up and we get the deeply satisfying release of testosterone and dopamine that leaves us feeling energised, confident and motivated.


Think of the small wins as push factors that contribute to our achieving the big wins. Without the small wins, the big one may not happen. Why? Well, we would have given up in disappointment and frustration long before we get to the big win! The small wins hold the key to momentum (in the form of motivation to keep going), and this momentum leads us to success.

We need to be realistic. Big wins happen rather infrequently and usually takes a long time to achieve. Big wins are wonderful when we achieve them but sometimes we might lose momentum and give up when there’s nothing to remind us of those big wins. That’s why the small wins that are more frequent  help us stay on our course. I call them my streetlights that will eventually lead me to my goals!


Let’s not underestimate the power of the small wins and make a conscious effort to acknowledge and celebrate the small wins a little more in our lives. After all, they hold the key to our big wins by offering us the much needed motivation and self-confidence.

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