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The 2 Types of Growth: Which One of These Growth Curves Are You Following?

The 2 Types of Growth: Which One of These Growth Curves Are You Following?

We often assume that life works in a linear fashion.

People will say, “You get out of life what you put into it.” The basic idea is that for each unit of effort you put into a given task, you get some unit of return. For example, if you make $25 per hour and you work for two hours, then you’ll make $50. If you work for 4 hours, you’ll make $100. Put more in. Get more out.

There is just one problem: most of life doesn’t actually follow this linear pattern. Don’t get me wrong, hard work is essential. However, if you expect your life to follow a linear trajectory, then you may find yourself feeling frustrated and confused.

Instead, most areas of life follow two different types of growth. This is something I learned from my friend Scott Young. Let’s talk about these two patterns now.

Which one of these growth curves are you following?

Type 1: Logarithmic Growth

The first type of growth is logarithmic.

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Logarithmic growth increases quickly in the beginning, but the gains decrease and become more difficult as time goes on. Generally speaking, logarithmic growth looks something like this:

logarithmic-growth-curve

    There are many examples of logarithmic growth in daily life.

    • Fitness and Strength Training: The “beginner gains” come quickly at first, but then it becomes more difficult to get stronger each week.
    • Literacy: Children and young students make massive leaps as they learn how to read. Meanwhile, college students and well-educated adults have to put in a focused effort to expand their vocabulary beyond commonly used words.
    • Language proficiency: Learning how to speak even a rudimentary level of a new language opens up a whole new world. However, there are only meager gains left for fluent speakers to discover.
    • Weight Loss: It may be relatively easy to shed five pounds within a week or two, but then the progress slows. Each successive pound of fat loss is more stubborn than the last.
    • Musical skill: Improvements come quickly for a novice guitar player. Improvements come very slowly for a concert pianist.

    There are thousands of other examples. In fact, most skills (writing, programming skills, juggling, running, etc.) fall into the logarithmic growth category.

    Type 2: Exponential Growth

    The second type of growth is exponential.

    Exponential growth increases slowly in the beginning, but the gains increase rapidly and become easier as time goes on. Generally speaking, exponential growth looks something like this:

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    exponential-growth-curve

      You will also find exponential growth opportunities in daily life (although I think they are less prevalent).

      • Investments and wealth: Thanks to the power of compound interest, your retirement savings start out as a small treasure in the early years, but balloon in size during the final decade or two of savings.
      • Email subscribers and website traffic: New websites receive just a trickle of traffic here and there, but as the weeks and months roll on those trickles can build into a raging river of visitors and subscribers.
      • Entrepreneurship and business growth: The assets that you build for your business stack on top of one another and revenue compounds throughout the life of a successful business.
      • Social media followers: When you only have 100 followers, getting another 100 followers may take six months. Once you have 1,000 followers, however, getting the next 100 may only take one month. Once you have 100,000 followers, getting another 100 probably takes one day. Your growth rate snowballs.

      The Challenges of Each Growth Curve

      Neither type of growth is good nor bad. These growth patterns are simply the way certain things work. However, it is important to understand the growth pattern of your task so that you can set your expectations appropriately.

      Don’t expect exponential returns when you’re playing a logarithmic game. Similarly, don’t expect quick wins when you’re building something that has an exponential curve.

      When dealing with logarithmic growth, the challenge is to avoid feeling discouraged as your improvements decrease. Improvement will come easily in the beginning and you will become accustomed to enjoying small wins each day. Soon, however, those small wins will become smaller.

      Logarithmic growth requires you to have the mental toughness to play a game that will, by definition, become more challenging to win as time goes on. You will feel like you have plateaued. You will question yourself and your abilities. If you want to succeed with logarithmic growth, you have to learn how to fall in love with the boredom of doing the work if you want to maintain consistency as your improvements dwindle.

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      When dealing with exponential growth, the challenge is to continue working through the early period when you have little or nothing to show for your effort. Exponential growth requires you to be remarkably patient and diligent (often for years or decades) before enjoying a significant payoff. There may be 10 years of silence before you hear the sound of success.

      Equally important, you need to give your best effort even when you’re getting average results. Exponential gains only result from sustained effort in the early years.

      How to Accelerate Your Progress

      Once you understand the type of growth curve you are dealing with, there are two ways that you can accelerate your progress on a given curve.

      Option 1:

      The first option is to break the task down into smaller tasks that can be mastered more quickly. In other words, by getting very specific with the task you are working on, you can increase the rate of growth (i.e. smaller tasks have steeper growth curves because they are easier to master). This strategy works especially well for accelerating your progress on tasks that experience logarithmic growth.

      smaller-growth-curves

        Dave Brailsford’s aggregation of marginal gains is a great example of this. By improving every small task related to cycling by just 1 percent, Brailsford was able to guide his British cyclists to massive success. Mastering these small tasks led to incredibly fast growth.

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        Option 2:

        The second option is to play a different version of the game. More specifically, play the version of the game that has the highest growth curve. This strategy works especially well for tasks that experience exponential growth.

        Take entrepreneurship, for example. You could build a candle shop. All of the statements about exponential growth hold true for a candle shop. Given enough time and a good product, you could eventually produce candles at scale, develop new product lines, and otherwise build assets that lead to exponential growth years later.

        However, if you played a different version of the entrepreneurship game and started a software company, then you may reach the exponential growth threshold much faster. There are a variety of reasons for this: reduced overhead and manufacturing costs, faster industry growth overall, higher margins, and so on. The end result is that both companies have exponential growth curves, but one has a much steeper slope.

        highest-growth-curve

          The Bottom Line

          Most things in life have some type of growth curve and very rarely is that curve a straight line.

          Understand the type of curve you are dealing with so that you can set your expectations appropriately. And if you aren’t happy with the type of growth curve you’re on, then start playing a game with a different curve. (1)

          This article was originally published on JamesClear.com.

          FOOTNOTES
          1. This article contains many of my own insights, but I want to make sure that all the credit for the two types of growth concept goes to my friend Scott Young. I am simply building upon his work.

          Featured photo credit: Stefan via flickr.com

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          Last Updated on August 15, 2018

          25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

          25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

          Imagine if you could use 5 simple shortcuts while working in Excel, and increase your productivity without wasting time for searching information in huge tables, writing long formulas, and sorting the data.

          Or even better:

          What if you would get 25 useful shortcuts… and each of them could simplify your work, so you could do much more every day?

          You’d definitely feel excited to read about them.

          Today is your lucky day because we are going to share with you in this article 25 great Excel shortcuts you can use in your work every day! This is your lucky chance, so go ahead and become a real professional in Excel without wasting your time.

          How important are Excel shortcuts for you?

          The most effective thing to check out if people really need something is to release a survey and look at the results. So, according to the anonymous survey, 99% of people said Excel shortcuts are critical or important for them.

          In general, there are more than 200 shortcuts in Excel. But when we have analyzed the data about how many shortcuts people know, we got the next results:

          • 26% of people know 10 or fewer shortcuts;
          • 61% of people know 10-50 shortcuts;
          • 10% of people know 50-100 shortcuts.

          As you can see, not so many people know a lot of shortcuts. Probably, some of them never think about increasing their productivity in such a simple way.

          Of course, it depends on how deep you use Excel. Some people use this powerful application just for making simple tables or graphs, others use it for everyday work to count something.

          Most of the accountants and businessmen use much more Excel functions for more complex tasks such as creating VBA macros, managing PivotTables, recalculating huge workbooks, outlining data, etc.

          But even those people who work with Excel every day very close may know a few shortcuts. Needless to say, they can do their job without shortcuts, but it usually takes for them much more time. T

          his sounds not funny, especially if you must finish a huge amount of work urgently. There is a great opportunity for you to increase your productivity in Excel and do your job faster with our useful shortcuts.

          5 Main reasons to learn excel shortcuts

          Many people don’t understand why they should use shortcuts if they can work without them. Of course, if you use Excel twice per year to make a simple table or a graph, it is probably not so important for you to know many shortcuts.

          But if you work in Excel every day, sorting huge tables and managing with tons of data, then shortcuts will help you to reach the next five goals:

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          1. Work efficiently and faster in Excel
          2. Manage big amounts of data easily and fast
          3. Stay calm and concentrated even while doing a tedious job
          4. Make your work accurately and properly without errors
          5. Get a better understanding of Microsoft Excel

          Who can use Excel shortcuts?

          There are a lot of people who can simplify their life with Excel shortcuts, and here are the groups that will definitely love using them:

          • People who work in banks, finance organizations, etc.
          • Businessmen who make tons of various reports and presentations in Excel for meetings and briefings.
          • Students who usually are lazy and impatient to make their homework because they don’t want to waste a lot of time working in Excel.
          • Private entrepreneurs who keep various data in Excel tables.

          Whether you are a student who hates Excel because it seems a time-wasting and boring application, or you are an accountant who must recalculate huge worksheets every day without making errors, we recommend reading and learning these Excel shortcuts to make your work simpler and save some time.

          With these simple but useful tricks, it is so easy to finish your job and get more time for yourself.

          25 Excel shortcuts to increase your productivity

          Here are 25 great Excel shortcuts you should learn and use for work or studying to make your job faster and simpler. Try to use them all and you will realize you were totally blind before while working in Excel:

          1. Format whatever object fast with Ctrl+1

          If you select any object in Excel – a cell, a chart, a chart axis, a drawing object – then press Ctrl+1, and you will get the Properties dialog for the certain object. This shortcut offers a very quick and easy way to format whatever object you’re working with.

          2. Use range names with Ctrol+G or F5 key

          If you use range names (which we strongly recommend to do) and you want to choose the range with a specific name references, press either Ctrl+G or the F5 key, which launches the GoTo dialog.

          If the name is simple, you can click on it in a list in that dialog. But if it’s at all unusual, Excel won’t list it; so you will need to type in the name. Then press OK.

          3. Use a range name in a formula with =sum( and F3

          Suppose you want to use a range name in a formula. For example, you want to sum the Sales range. Enter…

          =sum(

          …and then press F3.

          When you do so, Excel launches the Paste Name dialog. Just choose “Sales” from the list, press the OK button in the dialog, then enter the SUM function’s closing “)” to complete the formula.

          4. Launch Function Arguments dialog easily with Ctrl+A

          Suppose you want to check the help topic for a worksheet function. For example, you want to read about the MATCH function. In a cell, type…

          =match(

          …and then press Ctrl+A, or click the Insert Function (“fx“) button to the left of the formula bar.

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          When you do so, Excel displays the Function Arguments dialog, which might offer all the help you need.

          But if you still want to see the complete help topic, click the blue “Help on this function” hyperlink in the lower-left corner of the dialog. This technique works with all documented Excel functions.

          5. Copy stuff down the column without scrolling with Ctrl+D

          If you added a formula in a new column on the right of a huge dataset, and you want to copy that formula down without scrolling, do these steps:

          • go to the right to the column that has data (the column to the left of the new column with the formula);
          • press Ctrl+Down – to get to bottom;
          • move one cell to the right (with arrow key naturally);
          • press Ctrl+Shift+Up to select the new column, at the top of which is the formula you just created;
          • press Ctrl+D to fill down the formula.

          6. Quick access to any function with Alt+

          By customizing the quick access toolbar, you can create simple shortcuts to commands that you would otherwise have to find in the Ribbon tabs, or macros you have created yourself.

          The keyboard shortcut is simply selecting Alt+ (the number of the command you wish to select).

          For example, if you have customized your quick access toolbar to have Calc Sheet, Save, Open. To calculate sheet you would hit Alt+1, for save Alt+2, and for open Alt+3.

          A lot of people are unaware of this useful function, and it’s a great time saver.

          7. Format cells with Ctrl+1

          When you need to format cells, use Ctrl+1. Most people know this as the shortcut for the Format Cells dialog, but you can also use it to format almost anything in Excel, without a care about the state of the ribbon. Try this amazing and simple shortcut!

          8. Choose visible cells with Alt+

          When you need to choose visible cells only – use Alt+. This is the trick to copy only what you see. It is a priceless shortcut when you’re manually hiding rows and columns in the table.

          9. Use filtering

          Filtering – it is a powerful way to slice, dice, and sort through a huge table of information.

          It’s amazingly effective when you’re participating in a meeting to discuss something like a sales forecast, and everyone is looking in real-time at your spreadsheet projected on a screen (or on their monitors).

          To some people, you will be seen as the God of Spreadsheets, and this is not a joke!

          10. Insert or delete column/row easily with the Ctrl key

          Some people waste a lot of time even for simple operations, for example, when they need to insert/delete columns and rows in Excel.

          Use this shortcut to insert: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl+Shift ++.

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          To delete: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl + –.

          11. See formula results with F9

          If you want to check formula results within multiple formulas, highlight the formula and select F9 to see formula result.

          Don’t forget to undo before exiting the formula.

          12. Use ALT+Enter for more text within a cell

          If you want to add a second line of text within a cell, use ALT+Enter.

          13. Use EDATE to move a date on by a full calendar month:

          Here’s how to use EDATE:

          =EDATE(15/01/16,+1) = 15/02/2016 (15th Feb 2016)

          =EDATE (15/01/2016,-2) = 15/11/2015 (15th Nov 2016)

          14. Use EOMONTH to move a date onto the end of the month:

          Here’s how to use EMONTH:

          =EOMONTH(15/01/2016,0) = 31/01/2016 (31st Jan 2106)

          =EOMONTH (15/01/2016,-2) = 30/11/2015 (30th Nov 2015)

          15. Remove spaces with TRIM

          TRIM is a useful function known by few people. It removes any spaces at the beginning of a value. This is useful if you are pulling in values from somewhere else.

          16. Repeat commands with F4 or Ctrl+Y

          In many cases, you may need to repeat your last action. Use F4 or Ctrl+Y; you can repeat many commands like applying the same borders, format, or insert a worksheet again.

          17. Quick access to cells with the Ctrl key and Shift key

          When you need to go to the first or last cell of a worksheet, no matter where you are, use Ctrl+Home, Ctrl+End combinations.

          And here is a pleasant bonus for you: add the Shift key to select everything on the way!

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          18. Use Ctrl+ to create a timestamp

          If you need a date stamp and/or a timestamp in your document, there is no need to type a date and time! Use shortcuts Ctrl+ ; (date) Ctrl+Shift+ : (time). It works like a magic and helps to save your time and nerves.

          19. Use autosum shortcut for sum function anywhere

          Autosum shortcut – use Alt =. It is a “magic” shortcut of Excel to automatically insert a sum function.

          You can use this shortcut to sum rows, columns, or even an entire table in one step without wasting your time.

          20. Use data validation

          This is an amazing but underutilized tool in Excel, which can be used for a variety of things:

          • Create dependent drop-down lists;
          • Create drop-down lists;
          • Protect/restrict data input of specific cells (without the need for VBA macros).

          21. Use conditional formatting

          It can be used for various purposes such as color format or cell format of cells, rows or columns based on dependent cell values or formats.

          22. Use formula auditing

          This is a great tool to analyze and trace precedent or dependent cells, check errors and evaluate formulas.

          The “Watch Window” is a feature to keep a snapshot of an area of the spreadsheet, and then move to another area of the workbook – particularly valuable if you’re managing large spreadsheets or don’t have a second screen.

          23. Use Scenario Manager to generate summary outputs of a spreadsheet

          Scenario Manager (under “What-if Analysis”) enables users to generate high-level, summary outputs of a spreadsheet – without the need to replicate the entire workbook.

          It will present multiple scenarios of a spreadsheet in a succinct, high-level summary worksheet.

          24. Use INDIRECT to set up large tables

          INDIRECT makes it easy to set up tables which reference larger tables without a lot of referencing work or cutting and pasting; especially for dynamic spreadsheets.

          25. Use OFFSET for complicated calculations or formulas

          OFFSET can be useful for things like calculating YTD numbers or creating formulas that take data in rows and using in columns.

          The bottom line

          As you can see, when you have a boring or tedious job to do, the best way to do it fast is not looking for a way how to avoid it, but searching for the shortest variant to do it!

          That is why we suggest keeping in mind these Excel shortcuts that will help you to save a lot of time and nerves.

          If it seems hard for you to remember all them, you can print out the list of shortcuts and keep it on your worktable. Use it to search for some help when you need it, and over time, you’ll remember all shortcuts easily.

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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