Have you worked hard just to barely get any results? | Plateau Effect

Hey there!

Remember the times when you were motivated to work out and you sign up for a gym?

Or perhaps you’re like me who believes that the gym isn’t a necessity to get fit?

Either way, if you stuck around for a few days, you would’ve observed that your muscles begin to improve and you feel a remarkable change!

You keep at it, and after a month or so, you barely find any improvement for all the effort you put in!

Your body just isn’t effective for the same effort you’ve done in the past!

If you seriously were able to relate to the above example, do check that you’ve been eating and sleeping well before you jump to any conclusion! (:p)

In this weeks post, I wanted to talk about the Plateau effect that I came across in Limitless by Jim Kwik.

This effect can be seen everywhere! The honeymoon period in a new relationship! Things are super awesome in the beginning, but things start to mellow down.

Not that it’s bad, this post is about why this happens!

You can observe immunity to the efforts you put in! Things begin to stall, sales stagnate after a while, medical drugs which were effective earlier reduce their effectiveness over time!

If these weren’t relatable, I guess, this could be:

If you’ve travelled to a coastal city or a fisher’s bay/market, the first thing that you observe is the smell. But when you stay there for a while, you no longer smell it!

You still breathe the same air, yet, your brain ignores the smell!

Your mind and senses are being dulled by sameness, by a routine and slowly you get less out of the activity than what you used to before.

But why does this happen?

Two of the many reasons this happens is because:

  1. Immunity: Our minds love to make things easier, and love habits and rituals! But some of these, just don’t keep up with our expectations. It is a natural process that when chaos in our systems dies down, the effectiveness reduces.
  2. Immediate returns: More often than not, we do things that give us immediate results which may not help us in the long run.

Think of a Rubik’s cube. The overall strategy is to get all sides to have the same colour! You complete one side with perfection! (I start with white) Now it becomes tricky.

If you try solving the same methods and actions, you will not be able to solve the cube! Worse, you would complete the “Red” face, but now the “White is ruined”

Your immediate satisfaction in using the strategy is gone! What you are doing is no longer effective.

So, what can we do now?

  1. Change your strategy. Do things differently, but be focused on the long term.
  2. Remember, forward doesn’t always give the best results! To solve the cube, you have to break three layers of colours to solve the final layer. This is also called retrograde progress.
  3. Think long term solutions. Act on them while you are working on your short term goals as well.
  4. Try to identify the first chink in the armour. Something that fails first and everything goes haywire! And rectify that problem first.

Two Minute Task
1. If you’ve resonated with this, think about something that has stagnated.
2. Think of ways to spice things up- Is there a way to surprise yourself? 
3. Try experimenting on different approaches to the same problem.

With that,
More Power to you!


I hope this post was helpful!
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Cover Pic Credits: Photo by Vijay Putra from Pexels

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