Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection is an idea that is built upon an older method of thinking called ‘gradualism’. Basically, gradualism is the idea that everything changes but it is so slow and so gradual that if you were to view it happening, you wouldn’t see anything at all. The changes take a very long time to happen.

One such example is the movement of the tectonic plates that lead to how the continents are today.

This post isn’t about explaining Evolution or even the movement of the tectonic plates but instead, I want to discuss the idea of gradualism and how such a form of thinking could be adopted into our daily lives.

 As described above, gradualism is the slow change that builds on the changes made in the past. How can we then apply this thinking to our daily lives? 

  • Goals

We can think of goals as the final destination that we want to arrive at. Between your current state and that final destination is the journey. That long, arduous journey that one has to take to achieve our own definitions of success. 

But that journey is filled with small steps. Steps that might seem useless to the ultimate goal. However, if we adopt the mindset of gradualism, such small steps are crucial as any minor successes in the future are built on the foundation of those seemingly meaningless steps. 

  • Feeling Unmotivated

No matter how strong our discipline is or how many motivational videos we’ve watched, there comes a point in time where we feel utterly unmotivated. We feel like death, procrastinating the day away. However, maybe having a mindset of gradualism might help. 

Know that each step that you take, no matter how small is a success in of itself. Small changes compound to bring about huge effects. What you do now will contribute to your achievements later, one way or another. 

If you’re feeling unmotivated, take pride and happiness in the small successes. Take things slowly. I promise you that that is way more manageable. 

Especially in the event of having a huge task laid in front of you, by chipping away slowly, the task might not be such a Goliath in the end.  

Gradualism is to take things slowly, step by step. The effects may not be apparent but given enough time, the outcomes will be tremendous. Just like evolution or the creation of the continents, big changes take time. So, put in the work no matter how small and always have faith that it will bring the rewards we worked hard for in the end. 


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