Ripples #972: The Nth Time!

Ripples #972: The Nth Time!
Jan 8, 2018
The Nth time’s the charm!
-David Keith
written and shared by David in Carlsbad, CA


The prizes of life are at the end of each journey, not near the beginning; and it is not given to me to know how many steps are necessary in order to reach my goal. Failure I may still encounter at the thousandth step, yet success hides behind the next bend in the road. Never will I know how close it lies unless I turn the corner. Always will I take another step. If that is of no avail I will take another, and yet another. In truth, one step at a time is not too difficult. I will persist until I succeed.
-Og Mandino
shared by Toby in Chicago, IL
link to Toby’s post:


During leadership and personal development presentations, I often speak about the importance of patience and persistence when trying to learn a new skill or develop a new habit. Since each of us learns and grows at our own pace, we never know exactly how long it is going to take or how many times we’ll need to practice something before we get it just right. Even though we don’t know the exact amount in advance, there is usually a finite number of attempts required. Since the exact number it will actually take is unknown, we could think of it as the variable N. We can’t really know the precise value of N until we finally achieve the success we’re seeking. Still, each attempt brings us one step closer to the Nth time when we cross the finish line.
I eventually started to apply the same concept in communication and team building sessions.  When we are trying to influence others, we might be tempted to measure our success by counting only the times when someone immediately changes their thinking or behavior after a single conversation. The problem is that it usually takes a number of exposures to a new idea before someone is ready to seriously consider perspectives that are different than their own.  If, however, we consider the possibility that a particular insight we share today could eventually help someone revise their perspective or habits down the road, then every single conversation has the capacity to inch someone closer to an Nth time that provides a real breakthrough.
If you’re attempting to make some kind of change change, whether it is learning a new skill, adopting a habit, or influencing others around you, remember that growth is almost always incremental and each baby step is important even if it isn’t sufficient to observe measurable improvement. Each failure helps us learn a little more, and each small success moves us closer to the larger goal. Patience and persistence can often help you more than think you initially realize. Hang in there, and keep at it!
The Ripples Guy
P.S. This concept also inspires me to continue assembling these weekly splashes of inspiration after all these Mondays (972 and counting!). Each week I hope there are at least a handful of people who read a particular issue of Ripples and experience a significant shift that somehow impacts their personal and/or professional life. Keep reading, and perhaps an upcoming issue will be your Nth time!
Recent Ripples