Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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:

    Advertising

    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.

      Advertising

      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.

        Advertising

        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

          More by this author

          7 Reasons You Haven’t Found Your Passion Yet 7 Ways To Get Over Fear and Make Big Life Changes Fast Growth Is Overrated — Here’s Why Famous Biologist Louis Agassiz On The Usefulness Of Learning Through Observation How to Fall in Love With Boredom and Unlock Your Mental Toughness

          Trending in Productivity

          1 How SMART Goal Setting Makes Lasting Changes in Your Life 2 7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Make the Most of Your Business in 2019 3 The Surefire Method to Set Long Term Goals and Reach Success 4 17 Smart Tips on Setting Goals to Accomplish More in Life 5 Smart Goals Template to Help Leaders Attain Success Easily

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising
          Advertising

          Last Updated on February 15, 2019

          7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Make the Most of Your Business in 2019

          7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Make the Most of Your Business in 2019

          There’s nothing more fulfilling than the sense of accomplishment you get by achieving your business goals.

          Gone are the days when you used pen and paper to take notes and manage your work day. As millennials are relying heavily on technology to manage almost everything from finances to their personal fitness, goal tracking apps are also becoming increasingly popular.[1]

          In this piece, we will shed some light on 7 such goal tracking apps that you can use to streamline your operations.

          I have handpicked these apps from a software rating web services site Best Online Reviews. Industry experts review software on these websites and help businesses to find the right solutions to meet their various, unique business requirements.

          1. Aha!

            Aha! is a California-based roadmap software provider and offers excellent goal tracking app that lets you define goals and objectives for projects. The app also lets you list out primary tasks and allows you to focus on them.

            Hosted securely on the cloud, the app offers enhanced communication tools for sharing updates through emails with select colleagues or the entire organization.

            Aha! is available on multiple platforms such as the web, Android, iOS, Windows, etc. and starts from $59 per month per user.

            Available for Web

            Advertising

            2. Asana

              Asana is one of the more popular project management apps available for businesses. It lets you organize all your team’s work, such as setting up and tracking goals, creating tasks, sharing files and notes, etc.

              Asana also allows your team to organize all their tasks and focus on urgent priorities. Moreover, the app offers a delightful user experience that makes task management simple and easy.

              Asana is available on multiple platforms from PCs and Mac to iOS and Android. Multi-channel adaptability makes Asana the perfect choice to track your goals anytime, from anywhere.

              Available for iOS | Android | Web

              3. Basecamp

                Basecamp is an excellent tool to manage all your team’s projects and keep your activities organized. It opens a new thread for every task and that task is visible by the whole team.

                With Basecamp, you can schedule tasks, add to-dos, discuss tasks by adding comments, add files and attachments, and much more.

                The app is available on both mobile and desktop platforms and costs $99 per month. It is available on the web, Android, and iOS platforms and offers excellent multi-channel access.

                Advertising

                Available for iOS | Android | Web

                4. Forecast

                  An efficient tool for successful task management, Forecast is also a popular goal tracking app. Apart from effective milestone tracking, the app also offers convenient status reporting.

                  Forecast uses project history to let you know the status of your current work. Moreover, it uses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to provide high-quality assistance. It is a robust app for small teams to track goals and time.

                  Forecast is available for free and comes with Android and iOS app support. The premium version of the app starts from $19 per month per user.

                  Available for Web

                  5. Wrike

                    Wrike is a cloud-based collaboration and project management app that successfully manages projects from start to finish. It lets you create tasks, track work progress and retrieve reports with ease.

                    The app also gives real-time work updates and helps team members to understand their work priorities. A custom report builder helps you to generate in-depth reporting.

                    Advertising

                    Wrike’s premium version is available from $9.80 per month per user and is available on multiple platforms.

                    Available for iOS | Android | Web

                    6. Todo.vu

                      Todo.vu is a unique platform that delivers enhanced customer relationship management (CRM), task management, time tracking, and billing functionality in a single app.

                      According to Capterra, it’s an ideal app for freelancers and consultants, who are looking for tools to improve efficiency and transparency.

                      Although the app is free to use with basic features, the premium plan starts from $5 per month per user. The app also comes with calendar sync and task reminder functionality to keep you on track, always.

                      Available for Web

                      7. Flock

                        Looking for a tool to simplify task management? Try out Flock.

                        Advertising

                        Flock comes with enhanced goal tracking and additional features like instant messaging.

                        Moreover, Flock offers tons of integrations with tools such as Google, MailChimp, Jira, Dropbox, etc. It is a powerful tool that’s packed with robust features such as reminders, notes, polls and to-dos.

                        Even though you can use the tool for free, the paid version of Flock is available from $4.50 per month per user.

                        Available for iOS | Android | Web

                        Conclusion

                        Businesses need high-quality project management tools to streamline collaboration and operations. Enhanced goal tracking apps make it easy for your team to improve productivity by keeping its tasks organized.

                        But it’s essential that you choose an app that meets your unique business requirements. You can choose from the above-mentioned apps to streamline operations and improve the productivity of your team.

                        Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                        Reference

                        Read Next