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  • Ron Burton

Incremental Improvement

During a study intensive reviewing second semester calculus, acting basically as a body double for a very talented college student who recognized their need for some executive function coaching, forty years of life flowed through my mind. It had been 40 years since I took that same class. (OK, for you black & white, mathematically inclined types, is 39 years, 2 ½ months, close enough to 40 for a blog post?) Considering integrals that cannot directly be calculated, but could be estimated by breaking them into a series of tiny slivers and adding together all those values, reminds me of an incredibly important concept. You see, as you go to the right on the x-axis, sometimes each of those slivers gets smaller and smaller, approximating zero; sometimes those slivers hardly change at all; sometimes they get bigger and bigger; sometimes they get too big to evaluate, approximating infinity. Wow!

Reviewing the last 39 years, 2 ½ months of my life, did I understand how that sum of a series applies to life? What concept am I thinking about? Over the last 39 years, 2 ½ months, I have had uncountable opportunities to learn how to improve everything I do in life; every skill, every attitude, everything! One tiny, tiny step at a time, I could have gotten incredibly great at lots of those things, but have I?

Incremental improvement can make for greatness? Incremental apathy can diminish things and become a big, fat zero! - and you thought you never used math -