Want To Achieve Greatness? Stop Starting Over.


Over the last 6 years my life has changed dramatically.

I’ve made a series of small adjustments that have changed the way I live, the way I work, the way I look, the way I eat and the way I treat other people.

Over time these adjustments have completely transformed me.

People who haven’t seen me in a long time say I appear to superhuman, defying logic or that I must be cheating. (I’ve been accused of being on steroids and having a facelift multiple times, neither things are true)

When it comes to my own progress, there is no magic, no secret and no cheating going on. The reason I’ve made progress boils down to one thing.

I stopped starting over.

The Power of Small Adjustments

It’s easy to think of achievement as an occurrence, a single, shining moment where everything works out. We convince ourselves that change only happens when we do something just the right way and get an instant outcome right away.

We forget that every success has a story behind it. It may have even started badly. Then, there were a series of small decisions and adjustments that slowly but surely guided the person to the event that everyone recognizes as a major achievement.

How to Lose A Marathon

Imagine the world’s fastest marathon runner is lined up against nine other runners who aren’t nearly as fast or as perfect as he is.

The race starts. All ten runners take off at the same time, but the world’s fastest marathon runner doesn’t think he made a very good start. So he stops running, walks back to the starting line and starts over again.

Again, he feels that he didn’t take off well enough so he stops, walks back to the starting line and starts again. Then again.

On the seventeenth attempt he hits the perfect start, everything is timed perfectly. He is sure that with his perfect start, he’s going to finish the race faster than any other human being on the planet.

The only problem is… The race is over.

The lights are coming on.
The crowd is going home.

Resetting yourself to zero isn’t always the best option. By starting over you lose progress. You lose all of the time you’ve put in and all the experience that you’ve gained.

In many cases, you might be closer to achieving the goal than you think. You may just need to change one tiny thing.

One Millimeter

Tony Robbins uses a golf analogy to show how the difference between being good or great at something can sometimes be just mean changing things by one millimeter. [See video below]

What if instead of stopping what you’re doing and starting something new you kept at it just a little longer and made one small adjustment that changed everything? What if you were only one millimeter away?

Some real world examples:

  • Losing weight. You have a goal to lose 50 lbs. You jog and do a juice diet for a week. At the end of the week you’ve only lost 3 lbs so you start over and this time you’ll only eat carrots.
    • Alternative: Instead of trying 10 different fad diets to see which will give you “instant” results, download MyfitnessPal to your phone and start tracking your calories. If you track consistently and honestly the pounds will fall off over time.
  • Affiliate marketing. You set a goal of making $5000/day with credit reports. Two weeks later you’re only making $10/day so you stop and start over again with a goal to make $5000/day in mobile dating.
    • Alternative: If you’re currently at $0/day profit pick a more realistic short-term goal like $10/day profit with credit reports. Then stick with credit reports until you hit your goal. Then, reset your goal for $20/day with credit reports and consistently build your profit over time. Over time, you’ll inch closer and closer to that $5000/day goal.
  • Working out. You set a goal of having 6-pack abs. You pick an intense 7 day a week workout plan and 2 weeks later don’t see abs. So you find a new program and start over.
    • Alternative: Set a goal for 6-pack abs, then do your research. As you’ll find out, ripped abs are more about diet and cardio than anything else. Take a picture of yourself. Then decide on a few healthy meals and start eating a bit less than you need each day. Workout a few days a week, every week for a few months. Then take a new photo of yourself and compare it to the old photo. If you see progress, keep going. If no progress, fine-tune your diet even more or add more cardio. Repeat.
  • Starting a band. You want to be a rockstar. So you start a band, write some songs and play some shows for a year. Nothing happens. So you quit and form the next band that will make you an “overnight success”
    • Alternative: Start a band you love and never stop. If things don’t work out immediately just keep going. A lot of successful bands weren’t very talented and wrote crappy songs early on. After 10 years on the road they were musical powerhouses. The only thing they did differently than anyone else was they did not break up, ever. Even if the music style changed, even if the line up changed, the band kept going, no matter what.
  • Website. Set a goal of having 25,000 visitors a month. After posting 10 articles in one month you only have 20 visitors a month so you delete the website and move on to a new one.
    • Alternative: Want 25,000 visitors a month? Set a goal to write 1–3 great articles a week, every week for a year. Every month, look at your visitor count. More visitors this month than last month? Keep going. Numbers going down? Try tweaking your topic a little to see if more people respond and continue writing every week. Over time the visitors will come.

What if instead of starting over each time, you simply made a small adjustment and continued on your way? How much more progress would you be making? How much further along would you be?

When Starting Over Is Good

In some cases starting over is a great idea. For example, if you started a new business 5 years ago and in that time you’ve lost $500,000, your home and your family, it might be a good idea to start over.

But if you’re writing a book, starting a website or inventing a new product and things aren’t looking perfectly right now, don’t give up. Make a small adjustment and keep going on your way.


Most people believe that success is an event. Whether it’s losing 25 lbs, making their first million dollars online or winning a marathon we see it as one big occurrence.

What it really is, is the sum of many small actions and consistent, simple adjustments over time that create an amazing achievement, that “appears” to have happened overnight.

The next time you declare that you are “Starting Over!” take a minute to think. Instead of starting from scratch, make a few small changes to what you’re already doing and continuing on your way.

You never know, you may only need to make one small adjustment.

  • http://www.commissiongateway.com Blackfin

    Awesome read. Thanks Malan

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      hey Blackfin, thanks for reading

  • http://www.telephone-prospector.biz Chris

    Some really useful (and actionable) insights – thank you, Malan.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      thanks Chris

  • Petre Veluda

    It’s like you read my mind, I’m right there so this post fits perfectly in my daily mindset. Thanks man!

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      good to hear Petre, thanks

  • Jon Tam

    The big occurance is the story people tell, what’s behind it isn’t sexy.

    Thanks for articulating this idea so well. (insert unprofitable campaign trouble here)

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      right Jon, like at an affiliate conference you may ask someone how they’re doing and they say “I’m making $1000/day!”

      But they’ll never tell you how they lost $35k testing things at a loss for the last 2 months trying to figure things out. 😉

  • John Crestani

    Great post and very relevant.

  • http://www.ochoamedia.com Edgar Ochoa

    Malan, again thank you. You just gave me more motivation to keep going. I have been making some good progress with my campaigns lately, but I know I can do more to make them even more profitable.

    All the best to you man!

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      thanks Edgar, glad your making progress with your campaigns.

  • Jason

    Great post! I think it takes ~5 years+ to really master something. I have a tendency to make it about 3.5, get bored, and want to switch. ha. good stuff.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      hey jason, i think many of us are guilty of that.

  • Mathey Sueta

    Your article was very inspiring for me, very helpful for me

  • Elango Kp

    Really good one. I tend to start over all the time. I have bookmarked your blog archive in my mind. Keep coming to it whenever, i feel not so good about my campaigns 🙂