An important fact in life is that with time, the hard road becomes easy and the easy road becomes hard. If you don’t make steps forward in life, you go backwards. If you don’t improve, you regress. By putting in extra effort and stepping out of your comfort zone, you level up your skills and become more competent.
It’s also true that to achieve your maximum potential in life, you must have a long-term perspective and the will to curb your desires for instant gratification. But to stay motivated, you also need to see the results of your hard work as soon as possible.
To stay motivated, you need to see the results of your hard work as soon as possible.
That is why business knows the so-called concept of “low-hanging fruit”. The low-hanging fruit are simply targets and goals that are easily achievable. It’s the concept most often used in sales, meaning that you first try to sell your products to the customers that are the easiest to sell to.
It’s obvious that there’s not a lot of low-hanging fruit. Sooner or later, it runs out and you must start putting in more and more effort to meet your goals. Thus a completely wrong approach is to go only after the low-hanging fruit. Nevertheless, going after the low-hanging fruit first and then intensifying the effort with a long-term view in mind makes a lot of sense. It’s probably the winning combination.
The low hanging fruit are your early wins
Early wins are very important, because they boost your self-confidence. Early wins motivate you and show you that it can be done. Early wins push you to go forward and achieve more. Early wins help you to go from the search to the execution mode. Early wins help you to overcome fatigue before achieving your final goal.
On the other hand, early failures can dampen your spirits. They can make you regret that you’ve even tried. Early failures usually happen because you go way out of your comfort zone into the panic zone, or because of naivety, lack of focus, lack of strategy or lack of flexibility.
In the search mode, it’s expected of you to fail and learn. But when you find your fit and start executing, you really do need early wins.
Besides the low-hanging fruit, there are several other options to help you with the transition from the search mode to the execution mode. Here’s a list of what you can do to keep yourself motivated:
- Low-hanging fruit and early wins
- Motivating environment (pictures, reminders, wallpapers…)
- Like-minded people (new friends, mentors, coaches…)
- List of pains and gains for achieving your goal
- List of your past achievements
- Visualization and affirmations
- Other mechanisms
But now it’s time to go back to low-hanging fruit.
Low-hanging fruit in different areas of life
Let’s look at different areas of life, how and why the low-hanging fruit is so important.
We can start with health. First, as advised on this blog, you should enter the search mode – read about different diets, try different foods and sports, talk to people, listen to your body, gather information and feedback. You should try to find your best fit. After that, you should decide to stick to a specific new diet and practice the selected sport regularly every week. You decided to go from the search mode into the execution mode.
Okay, let’s say that you’ve been in the execution mode for a week. You can clearly see that it takes a lot of discipline, effort, time and even money to make changes regarding your fitness and health. It’s clear that it will take weeks if not even months to see a real body transformation and an improvement of your fitness level. But you need motivation through all these weeks before seeing real results. You need motivation to keep walking after your first step.
You can definitely stay motivated by changing your computer wallpaper, finding an exercising buddy, making a photo of yourself every week to see progress and so on. But you should also consider low-hanging fruit that can help you with your transition.
Here are some ideas for low-hanging fruit:
- Before doing any serious exercise, take a walk every day with your best friend, just to feel better and to see how good it is to be filled with oxygen. At first, it shouldn’t feel like hard exercise at all.
- Groom your body to look better in the mirror.
- Go to a spa or a massage to connect with your body better (or do yoga).
- Drink a lot of water so your body will cleanse and you’ll feel better.
- Start using olive oil, brown sugar, Himalayan salt etc. as reminders that you eat healthier.
- For once, don’t eat that hamburger, order a healthier meal and feel good about yourself etc., you will start feeling proud of yourself and strengthen your willpower
The domino effect
Small decisions will lead to greater changes and they will accumulate. It's called the domino effect or compunding interests. With employing this strategy you’ll start seeing progress and feel better even in a very short period of time. Other people will start to see your progress and after the first compliments, your desire and will for improvement will grow even stronger.
It’s the same in all other areas of life. The low-hanging fruit for money is to save a little. Don’t buy one item you always buy in the grocery store, maybe ask for all the change back, maybe there’s something you buy every day out of habit but don’t really need, you can reprogram your debt etc.
On the other hand, you can sell things you don’t need, you can ask for a raise, you can do some extra work etc. You can make small changes without any big shock. When you see money piling up, you’ll become motivated to implement bigger changes.
If you want to improve your relationships, for example by meeting new friends or spouse or being more social, there is a lot of low-hanging fruit. The easiest way to meet new people is to be introduced to friends of your friends. It’s also very easy to renew relationships with some of your old friends you’ve lost contact with. It’s also very easy to make new friends by using social networks and so on.
As you can see, there is a lot of low-hanging fruit in different areas of life. The problem, as mentioned before, is that you run out of it very fast. But the purpose of low-hanging fruit and early wins is not to make life completely easy, but to motivate you more and to keep you on the right track.
For every new thing you want to do in life, first enter the search mode to make the map of the terrain and then think about the low-hanging fruit that can help you with the transition into the execution mode and keep you motivated on the path to achieving your final goal.
Low-hanging fruit for this blog as an example
There is another example we can look at. It concerns this blog. Because the market is saturated, with more than 2 million blog posts being published per day, it’s very hard to acquire organic traffic. And you need thousands of dollars to get any real visibility by using paid channels. It’s a challenge that can test your motivation.
In the long term, both paid and organic traffic are the ways to go, but in the middle, some low-hanging fruit is essential. To start seeing first results, to make different tests and experiments, to stay motivated, to keep writing articles and marketing the blog, the low-hanging fruit is the first step to do.
Here is a list of 20 ideas for low-hanging fruit I tried when I started my blog:
- Writing to people in my address book and telling them that I’ve started a new blog
- Linking to my blog from all my Slovenian pages
- Posting blog posts on social media (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter)
- Starting to follow people on Twitter and getting some traction
- Making and pinning images with quotes on Pinterest
- Publishing summaries of articles on LinkedIn influencers
- Writing a few short guest posts per month
- Finding and posting on productivity and personal development forums
- Writing comments on productivity and personal development blogs
- Answering questions on social media like Quora
- Posting blog to all directories, aggregators, RSS lists and other similar sites
- Making and posting Agile and Lean Life slides on SlideShare
- Adding a signature to my e-mails
- Sharing blog posts on social groups (Facebook Groups, Reddit…)
- Submitting an article to PDF sites
- E-mailing people who I think would be interested in the content
- Using people on fiverr to help me gain traction
- Posting on Scoop.it and Squido Lenses
- A little bit of paid traffic won’t hurt
- Making a blog exchange network could also be a way to go
Stay motivated and keep going towards your goal by first picking up the low-hanging fruit. Bon appétit.