• David Brady

What Does Porsche Have To Do with Personal Development

So what do Porsches and Personal development have in common? Ferdinand Porsche was famously quoted after responding to a question about the design of a new offering his company had made at the Berlin Auto Show. The question from the reporter was, I see little change in this year’s model as opposed to last year’s model? Ferdinand responded by saying “we are in the business of evolution not revolution.” While Ferdinand did have a complicated history with post war Germany, I won’t go into that for the purpose of this article. Porsche was so committed to this philosophy of evolutionary design that they kept the air cooled engine in the Porsche 911 well into the 1990’s. While other manufacturers had moved on from that design decades before, Porsche was still using it and in fact winning with it in all of the races that mattered. Eventually when they had come up with a liquid cooled design that evolved from their air cooled design did they implement it.

Evolution is the process of small incremental changes over longer periods of time. By allowing time to dictate the efficacy of a change or determine if the change is worthy, or will yield the desired results.

Think of how many times you or perhaps someone you know has embarked on a “new" workout regime or diet. From the beginning the intentions were grand: I’m going to shock my body, I’m going to get into the best shape of my life, I’m going to lose 50 pounds. Inevitably the workout regime gets abandoned or the diet is cast off as being too restrictive.

Perhaps a small change was in order to get things going in a different direction. Making changes in your life is a Herculean task, that is to say it is extremely difficult to manifest permanent change for the better. The reason comes down to numbers; most people only try revolutionary approaches but after the excitement of the idea has passed or the motivation wears off people fall back into the same old rut.

To get change to hold and to encourage long term development an incremental approach needs to be taken. I can’t remember who is credited with saying it first, probably some Egyptian general from 5000 BC, “A 1000 mile march starts with a single step.” It’s funny to think about, change as small as one step a day compounded by a month will yield an astronomical result. See the image if you want a lesson on compounding.

The businesses of change, personal development, personal enrichment - these ideas should be looked at as lifelong pursuits not as revolutionary changes which will inevitably lead to abandonment once things get hard. Small changes are much easier to keep going. Take for example the idea of being more flexible and getting into a yoga routine. Now most will say you need to join a yoga studio, you need to be around yogis and you need someone to show you the perfect techniques. For a moment think about how many impediments you need to overcome just to start, not the least of which is the time you need to travel to and from the yoga studio each visit. Will this take 20 minutes, 30, 45? Think of the disruption to your day, how many other things will need to be modified or will have to be relegated to a lesser position so that you can become more flexible.

think of how you could change something small, moving some small stones instead of trying to push a boulder up the hill like Sisyphus only to have it roll down when close to the goal.

Here’s another idea. Wake up 15 minutes earlier every morning, get out of bed and run through some yoga poses on the ground next to your bed. The barrier for entry for this type of change is minuscule compared to the other approach. In fact with this approach you will have reached your goal at home before your drive to the yoga studio ended. What do you think the chances are that you could do this every day for the next 30 days, or perhaps for the rest of your life? I can tell you the chances of you being able to manifest these smaller changes that over time will yield more concrete developmental changes is very good. So the next time you get the idea to blow up your life and start over to some degree, think of how you could change something small, moving some small stones instead of trying to push a boulder up the hill like Sisyphus only to have it roll down when close to the goal.