The most successful things I’ve done have one thing in common: I’ve done them at least 100 times.
I came to this realization while publishing the 118th edition of my For The Interested newsletter and it led me to consider a simple question:
What if we only worked on projects we’re willing to commit to doing 100 times?
It’s a powerful question we can use to focus our efforts, steady our commitment in tough times, and ultimately accomplish our goals.
I’m calling it the 100x Method and here’s how it works…
100x Saves You From Starting Projects You Shouldn’t
I come up with “great” new ideas for things I want to create or pursue every day.
Too often I used to launch these, be excited for a week, and then bail on them just as quickly when I lost interest or remembered I didn’t have time for them.
It’s important to be selective about what we pursue — just because something’s a good idea doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to do at that time.
The 100x method can help you avoid that trap.
By not starting a project without committing to do it 100 times, you’re able to check your instincts and protect yourself from yourself.
There will always be new ideas I want to pursue, but few I’m willing to commit to do 100 times before starting them.
100x Forces You To Think Long Term
It takes time to do something 100 times — no matter what it is.
By committing to do so up front, you force yourself to adopt a long-term mindset.
If you commit to write 100 blog posts, you’ll be less likely to get discouraged when the first three don’t go viral.
In this scenario, your commitment to write posts won’t waver with the performance of every individual post and you’ll free yourself from a constant assessment of whether or not it’s time to give up.
When you approach work with a long-term mindset, you free yourself to judge the results of that work in a similar time frame.
It creates a less stressful, less doubtful, and more effective environment in which to create your best work.
100x Allows You To Adapt
The more you do something, the more you learn, and the better you become at it.
If you set out to make music, your style can’t evolve much if you only produce three songs.
When your first three tunes fail to click with listeners,you may assume you just don’t have what it takes to succeed and give up.
But if you quit too soon, you’ll never discover what you can become.
Like any creator, a musician’s sound evolves as a result of practice and experiences — neither of which can happen without a volume of activity. The audience may not feel you today, but that doesn’t mean they won’t tomorrow.
The 100x method ensures you keep creating long enough to have room to adapt as you go and guarantees you put in enough work to improve.
100x Helps You Push Through The Dip
Seth Godin’s classic book The Dip explains how we all reach a point in any project where things gets tough and we’re not sure whether or not to stick with it.
In many cases, The Dip will come before you’ve done something 100 times.
Committing up front to do something 100 times can help you push through the dip by removing a bit of uncertainty in that moment.
As Seth’s book points out, sometimes the right thing to do is to quit, but often times it’s not.
By getting to the 100x point before making a decision, you’ll know if you choose to quit you’re doing so for the right reasons.
Or, you’ll discover the tough times were just a temporary dip and be glad your 100x commitment helped you push through it.
100x Gives You A Metric You Can Control
When we launch a project, it can be difficult to assess our progress.
If you launch a newsletter and the goal is to attract subscribers, what does success look like? Is 50 subscribers good? 500? 5,000?
It’s tough to say, which also means it’s tough to measure how we’re doing.
The amount of control we have over our chosen success metric is often limited which creates a situation where we mislead ourselves into thinking a project is failing when it’s not.
I might think I need 5,000 subscribers to succeed, but what if that’s an arbitrary and unrealistic assumption?
The 100x method presents us with an alternate metric to measure our progress — and one that’s 100% in our control.
If your initial goal is to publish 100 newsletters, nothing can stop you from doing so.
It also allows you to see clearly your progress — when you publish the 50th edition, you’re halfway there and metrics like that encourage and motivate you to stick with it.
The metrics we measure have a huge impact on our ultimate success or failure, so it’s important to choose some metrics we can control — 100x is just that.
100x Can Be Adapted To Your Needs
The 100x Method can sound intimidating and feel like something that will take you five years to accomplish given your limited time, but don’t worry — it won’t.
It’s a flexible concept— structure it any way you want based on your needs and available time frame.
For example, let’s say you’re an author.
If you choose to write 100 novels, that’s going to take a while no matter how fast you write— it’s not a realistic 100x goal.
But, you can break down the steps to writing a novel and apply the 100x Method to them to get great results.
You can commit to write for 100 days (consecutively or non-consecutively), mail your book proposal to 100 publishers, brainstorm 100 scenes, or connect with 100 potential readers on social media.
In each of these scenarios, the 100x Method will help you accomplish your ultimate goal and free you from things you may struggle with.
One hundred days of writing will boost your productivity, sending 100 proposals will ensure you don’t wrongly assume your book can’t sell after a couple rejections, brainstorming 100 scenes will help you avoid settling for the first that comes to mind, and connecting with 100 people on social media will help establish your audience.
At the end of the day, it’s not what you choose to do 100 times that matters most — it’s the act of committing up front to do something in volume that helps you make things happen.
Because while it’s possible to succeed without doing something over and over and over and over again…it’s pretty unlikely.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a 119th edition of my For The Interested newsletter to write.