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Last Updated on December 14, 2020

Understand the 2 Types of Growth Curves to Grow Faster

Understand the 2 Types of Growth Curves to Grow Faster
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When someone last talked to you about logarithmic and exponential growth curves, you probably had flashbacks to that math class you took in high school. Whether those are good or bad memories for you doesn’t matter because we aren’t talking about mathematical calculations today.

Today, the growth curves we’re talking about have everything to do with your personal development and growth.

What Are the 2 Types of Growth Curves?

The two types of growth curves that are most common are logarithmic growth curves and exponential growth curves. Essentially, they are the opposite of each other.

I’ll start by explaining and exponential growth curve as that is the one people are typically more familiar with.

Exponential Growth Curves

An exponential growth curve is one where the slope of the curve gets greater and greater as you move along it.[1] The best way to imagine an exponential curve, if you don’t know what it looks like, is to think about an investment portfolio.

Over time your investments grow in value, and due to the compound interest, year after year you are making more money than you made the previous year. For example, say you invested $100 and got a 10% return. At the end of the year, you’d have $110. Now next year say you again got a 10% return, but now you have the $110 in the account. This would mean you gained $11 this year, $1 more than the previous year. Over time, this gap between years gets larger and larger, and the slope of the curve gets steeper and steeper!

Now let’s talk a little bit about the logarithmic growth curves.

Logarithmic Growth Curves

A logarithmic growth curve is essentially the opposite of an exponential growth curve. In a logarithmic growth curve, the curve of the line starts by going up very stteply, and then over time the slope of the line continually declines until it becomes essentially flat.

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Try to picture this like you were starting a 100m sprinting race. If you started from a standstill and then took off with the gunshot, your speed would rapidly increase for the first few seconds. However, as you approached the 30-50m mark, you would be running pretty fast, so it would be harder to run even faster, but you still could if you tried. Now by the time you get to the 80m mark, you’re probably running at just about max speed for you, and no matter how hard you ty, any increases in your speed from here will be minimal.

There are two examples of the types of curves that we’ll be talking about in terms of personal development and growth today.[2] Let’s shift our talk today over to how this information can help you moving forward!

How Understanding Growth Curves Benefits Your Development

They always say that knowledge is power. I believe that this is partly true. I much prefer to think of knowledge as potential power. You could have all the knowledge in the world, but if you don’t know how or fail to apply that knowledge, then what good is it to you?

So let’s explore how understanding each type of growth curve could benefit you as you travel through your personal development and growth journey.

Understanding Exponential Growth Curves

As we discussed, exponential growth curves are ones where the slope of the curve increases at an ever-steepening rate. We applied the example of an investment portfolio here.

However, this is very applicable to your growth journey as well.

Have you ever noticed that as you continually practice certain skills, you get better and better at performing them? Of course you have. That’s pretty common knowledge; as you practice something, you get better and better at it.

Some skills will undergo exponential growth or lead to exponential growth in certain areas of your life.

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The example that comes to mind is that of entrepreneurship. They say that making the first million in any business is always the hardest. Why is that? Because it takes time to develop and gain experience to make that first million. You have to learn the lessons and develop the skills that allow you to achieve this goal.

So what do you think happens when you go to make your second million after you’ve already made your first? Do you think that it will take less time or more time? It will take less time, right? You’ve already developed the skills and gained the experiences you need to achieve this goal.

Therefore, over time, your returns will get greater and greater as you work on these skills.

Why is this important?

This is important because it shows us that for skills with exponential growth, there is a significant learning curve at the outset, but over time, as we develop these skills, things get easier and easier and our returns get greater and greater!

Understanding this growth curve can remind us that things won’t always come easily to us, that you need to put in the work upfront to achieve these goals, but after you’ve put in that significant amount of upfront work, your efforts begin to pay you back in dividends long-term.

Understanding Logarithmic Growth Curves

Remember that logarithmic growth curves are essentially the opposite in appearance to exponential growth curves. The slope of the curve is very steep at the beginning, but the slope slowly declines over time until the line becomes essentially flat.

A real-life example of this could be seen in top-level athletes and the work they put into their sport and physical abilities or people who are studying for examinations as they try to learn and consume material.

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Let’s start with the student.

Any student will tell you that the difference between getting 50% on an exam and 70% is not that significant. That’s a jump of 20%. However, they’ll also tell you that the difference in effort required to get 90% versus 95% is often massive. That’s a jump of only 5% this time, but the effort to make that jump is much higher than the initial 20% jump completed earlier.

Athletes experience similar cases in regards to their physical performance. Let’s talk about sprinter again. When you first start training for sprinting, you’re probably pretty slow. However, as you practice and learn the proper form, you’re able to cut 5 seconds off your 200m sprint time in just a few weeks without too much effort. Then, as you keep practicing and perfecting your technique, you can shave off another few seconds as you become more masterful. However, once you reach elite levels of sprinting, the effort and dedication that it takes to shave off even just 1 second, or maybe even less, is truly immense!

So why is understanding this growth curve important?

What understanding this curve can teach us is that to reach truly elite levels of performance of certain skills, we are going to have to work hard. Yes, you are going to see lots of improvement at the outset, but over time as you progress, it’s going to become harder and harder to reach that next level.

You need to ask yourself if are you willing to put in the work to reach those levels on your development journey. Are you willing to work harder than everybody else? Are you willing to work like the top 1% to be the top 1%?

Putting It All Together

Now that you understand the different growth curves and how they can be applied to your life, let’s talk about the critical pieces of information to take away from this article.

The important thing to understand in regards to growth curves for personal development is to identify which curve is likely going to apply to the skill you’re developing so you can prepare yourself mentally for the challenges that you’re inevitably going to have to face.

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For example, let’s take exponential skills as our first example. We know that the growth we see in these skills early on is minimal. It’s later in the process that you see the fruits of your labors. Therefore, you should prepare yourself mentally for the early frustrations you’re likely to experience.

Understand that even though you aren’t seeing much progress upfront, the effort you’re putting in now is towards a much larger goal and return later.

Now let’s look at logarithmic skills. These are the opposite. Here the growth is fast initially, but over time the returns of your efforts dwindle as you approach elite levels. Now the challenge is flipped. Now you have to do your best to not let your ego get too big as your growth skyrockets initially, and you also have to prevent yourself from getting discouraged later in the process when growth becomes increasingly more difficult.

Apply these lessons to your life. Mentally prepare yourself for the challenges that lay ahead of you. If you can master the mind on your course to personal development, you’ve already overcome one of the massive hurdles that more people succumb to!

Final Thoughts

The two most common types of growth curves, exponential and logarithmic, can easily be applied to many areas of your life and the skills you are interested in investing time and energy into.

Try applying the lessons here to help you overcome the obstacles in your way. However, make sure you remember that all this knowledge means nothing if you aren’t willing to apply it.

More Tips on Learning and Growth

Featured photo credit: Alissa De Leva via unsplash.com

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Mark Lynch

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

What Is SWOT Analysis? 5 Ways It Accelerates Your Self-Improvement

What Is SWOT Analysis? 5 Ways It Accelerates Your Self-Improvement
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If I told you that there was one activity that you could do frequently that would dramatically accelerate your rate of self-improvement, would you do it?

SWOT Analysis may very well be the solution to your problems of feeling lost, unproductive, worried about the future, and the general struggle that inevitably arises on the road to personal development. It is quick to carry out, reliable in terms of changing your perspective, and effective in getting you the results that you desire.

So what exactly is this SWOT Analysis? You will find everything you need to know about it below as well as how to do it and all of the amazing benefits that it will bring to your life.

What Is SWOT Analysis?

SWOT Analysis is a business term that has steadily made its way over into the world of personal development due to its effectiveness in getting things to improve — whether that be a company or, more recently, a person.

S.W.O.T. is an anagram that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. When assessing these four key pillars in life, it gives a very good picture of which direction you should be heading in and even highlights some of the best ways to do it.

All in all, it is a great way to reflect on past actions and to decide on the best way to move forward.

How to Do a SWOT Analysis

Carrying out a SWOT Analysis is relatively simple. The best way is to take out a pen and paper and write down four columns: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. From there, you can begin to fill out each one and apply it to whatever situation you find yourself in.

If you are considering expanding your enterprise, you might want to write down the current strengths and weaknesses of your business as well as the opportunities that you could possibly move into and the threats that you might need to minimize.

If you are an individual looking to improve yourself, you can carry out a SWOT Analysis either on the micro or macro level. A micro example would be focusing on one specific area of life. For example, you could write down your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats when it comes to dating, productivity, or changing your job.

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You can also take it to the macro level. You might simply write down your current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats across all areas of life — or simply the areas that you want to focus on for now.

SWOT Analysis is very easy to do and is excellent for the bigger picture stuff. Here is a rough template with a few questions across various areas of life that you can use for your own personal development purposes:

Strengths

What professional qualifications do I have that make me stand out from everybody else?

What do I exceed at where most people are either average or below average?

What achievements have I been awarded?

What struggles have I overcome in the past that give me hope for the future?

Weaknesses

Where do I fall short where others seem to excel?

What bad habits do I have?

What thoughts tend to hold me back?

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Opportunities

Is there any significant advancement happening or about to happen that I can take advantage of?

Is there a new position in a company that maximizes my skillset?

Is there a gap in the market that I could potentially fill?

Is there an opportunity that is low-risk (i.e. I can fail fast and decide if I want to keep pursuing it)?

Threats

What competition do I face in a certain area?

What is the most likely thing to throw me off course? Is it me?

If there was an economic downturn, would I be in a position to survive? Could I even turn it into an opportunity?

Benefits of SWOT Analysis for Self-Improvement

Now that you know what it is and how to do it, you may already start to see all of the benefits for your personal growth that can come from a SWOT Analysis. If you haven’t already started to think about how to use it in your own life, here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. It Gives You an Actionable Plan

One of the most obvious benefits of doing a SWOT Analysis is the fact that it gives you an actionable plan. It is rare for someone to actually sit down and write out their strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and threats they are facing, so you will be getting well ahead.

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More importantly, taking the information from all four of these areas allows you to create an effective plan for yourself going forward — whether that be doubling down on your strengths, a plan to overcome your weaknesses, or how to leap at one of the opportunities in your life.

SWOT Analysis is designed specifically to drive actions and decisions — it is not simply a discussion exercise that you put to one side once you are finished with it.[1]

2. It Allows You to Zoom Out

Far too many people are so trapped within their day-to-day activities that they forget to see the big picture. Not being able to see the forest for the trees is one of the things that hold many people back from reaching their full potential.

SWOT Analysis allows you to take a moment of reflection, see the big picture, and then to make an informed decision about what your everyday tasks and activities are going to be, rather than the other way around.

It is important to be able to zoom out from time to time to make sure that you are on track with whatever your objectives are in each area of life. SWOT Analysis is the best way to do just that.

3. It Helps You Recognize New Aspects and Patterns

One of the unique things about SWOT Analysis is that it manages to combine different areas of your life and lets you see patterns, opportunities, and much more that you wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

An example would be the combination of your strengths and your opportunities. When you look at both of these side-by-side, you get a good idea about where the crossovers are, and, as a result, you get a clear picture of what opportunities are worth pursuing based on your strengths.

Another example would be looking at your strengths and threats next to one another. When you have a decent idea about what your strengths are in a certain situation, you can start to see how those strengths might come in handy when it comes to mitigating certain threats that you might face.

The truth is, any combination across SWOT Analysis creates a unique perspective that will be extremely useful for your own self-improvement.

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4. It Minimizes Risk

Branching out from the previous point, a SWOT Analysis is carried out to help minimize risk [2]. Although this is primarily a benefit from a company’s standpoint, it can also be helpful from an individual’s perspective as well.

On a personal level, risk can come in a variety of forms. It might be an imaginary risk that feels real, like asking your crush out or asking your boss for a raise. It might be an actual risk where you are thinking of expanding your business or entering a new market where you have little experience. Either way, seeing the threats you face as well as the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities you have allows you to go down the path that minimizes risk and maximizes gain.

5. It Can Marks Stages of Your Path

An interesting way that companies use SWOT Analysis is that they carry it out every month or every quarter in order to reset and recalibrate their destination. It can be used in a similar way by you as well. Just like there are certain times when businesses use them, there are certain times when you should use them.[3]

Every month or every couple of months, take the time to do a SWOT Analysis to see how you are progressing. What strengths have been added? What weaknesses have been discovered? What opportunities have revealed themselves or been lost? What new threats are you facing and which have been removed from the picture?

Not only will carrying out a SWOT Analysis on a frequent basis accelerate your self-improvement by helping you see where you want to go with less distraction, but it is also nice to see how things change and, hopefully, get better.

It is also worth looking back at your SWOT Analysis from the start of the year when you reach the end of the year to see how far you have come.

To Wrap Up

So there you have it. SWOT Analysis might just be the tool and technique that you have been waiting for to truly take the next step in your self-improvement journey. It is practical, easy to carry out, and effective in terms of planning your next moves.

Whether you do it on a consistent basis to ensure that you are moving in the right direction or you only do it when you feel lost, SWOT Analysis will always be right there waiting to help.

Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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