RULE 9: Small Improvements Daily


A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.
— George S. Patton



RULE 9: 



This week I'm excited because Nick Ruffini (of the Drummer's Resource Podcast) has touched on probably one of the single most important pieces of advice not just for drumming, but for almost any area of LIFE. Those who succeed deeply in life are the ones who put in small, steady effort each day. The famous saying "Rome wasn't built in a day" is so applicable to our lives. 

Big, short bursts allow you to go FAST.

Small, steady efforts allow you to go FAR.

THE QUESTION IS: Do you want to go FAST or do you want to go FAR?

Let's first look to an area such as fitness. Person A follows a radical crash-diet or cleanse, lose a quick 5-10 pounds, and then immediately gain it all back. (Has this ever happened to you before?) On the other hand, Person B makes SMALL, simple adjustments to their diet, restricts their calorie intake slightly, and loses just .5lbs a week. Over the span of a year, Person A is the same weight (or in many cases a higher weight) while Person B has lost 26lbs! Person B achieved more results because they made small (and seemingly unnoticeable at the time) improvements daily.

I recently followed Justin Pierce's killer 12-week program (Metaphysical Fitness) that ended with us doing 100 pushups per day as part of the physical component. This wouldn't have been even close to possible on Day 1, but because we started small and gradually increased the number of reps over time, 100 pushups were totally possible by week 12.

I've always had difficulty following a meditation practice. I realized that the reason was because I'd get about half way through my 20 minute meditation and feel the need to stop, which discouraged me from wanting to continue the practice the next day. How did I solve this? By decreasing the amount of time meditating each day and working gradually towards my goal of 20 minutes per day. (First 5 min., then 10 min., then 15, etc.)

Another example is in finance where compound interest is king. Saving your money in your 20's is far more beneficial than saving money in your 40's or 50's, which is more beneficial than saving money in your 60's and so on. Even putting away just 3-5% of your income each pay-day will reap huge benefits for you later in life. 

My last example deals with reading. I absolutely love books, but could never seem to find the time to finish them. Why is this? Because when I would think about the act of reading, it seemed like some sort of elusive activity that would last a really long time ("I have to read this entire book?"). Rather than thinking of reading BOOKS, I now think in terms of CHAPTERS. Every day, I read just ONE chapter of a book and then stop as soon as it's finished. By following the chapter-a-day method, I went from reading NO books to reading SEVERAL books each year. Try it!

Our culture is so focused on shortcuts, tricks, and work-arounds. I fear that this mindset will lead to a culture filled with shallow mediocrity. The truth is that the pros are the ones who execute the slow, long burn. Have you ever ran a race such as a 5K or half-marathon? If so, you'll notice that experienced runners understand the need for a slower overall pace while a first-time runner will explode out of the gate, burn out quickly, and then struggle to barely reach the finish line.

Don't think like a sprinter. 

Think like a long-distance runner.


This week, think of an area of your life where you can make small improvements daily. Follow the following 4 steps:

  1. SET A GOAL - "I'd like to lose weight!"

  2. SET A SPECIFIC AMOUNT - "I will lose 10 Pounds."

  3. SET A DEADLINE - "I will lose 10 Pounds in 2 months."

  4. CREATE A SMALL DAILY ASSIGNMENT -  "I will restrict my calorie intake by 500 calories each day. This will allow me to lose 10 pounds in 2 months."

You're likely to achieve almost any goal using this simple method. Let's apply this to drumming:

  1. SET A GOAL - "I'd like to play paradiddles comfortably really fast!"

  2. SET A SPECIFIC AMOUNT - "I will be able to play paradiddles at 200bpm"

  3. SET A DEADLINE - "In 100 days, I will be able to play paradiddles at 200bpm"

  4. CREATE A SMALL DAILY ASSIGNMENT -  "On day 1 I will play paraddiddles at 100bpm for 5 minutes, On day 2 I will play them at 101bpm for 5 minutes, and so on.


nick ruffini drummers resource podcast

Thanks to Nick Ruffini for offering his 3-words of advice for drummers: SMALL IMPROVEMENTS DAILY.  NYC Drummer Nick Ruffini (Philadelphia, PA native), began playing drums at age 15 and never stopped. Nick attended Villanova and Kutztown University, graduating in 2005 with a B.S. in Business Management and Music Performance. 

In 2013, Nick teamed up with Boso Drumsticks to become their artist relations director. Following joining Boso, Nick launched Drummer’s Resource, an online community where he provides interviews and expert advice from the world’s best drummers and music industry professionals. With thousands of downloads and website views per month, Drummer’s Resource has become a staple in the online drumming world.

Nick has performed/shared the stage with: Phish’s Page McConnell, Everlast, The Greyboy Allstars, Dave Grippo (Trey Anastasio Band), Johnny Defrancesco, DJ Q-Ball (DJ for the Multi-platinum artists The Bloodhound Gang), Jazz Legend Melvin Sparks and Badfish, just to name a few.

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