In a digital world, the phrase “moving the needle” might not make as much sense as it once did. Moving the needle means changing a situation to a noticeable degree, and typically implies a positive change. Just like a buffet of food may create choice overload, the amount of information available to us can keep us from learning and growing. If you want to master personal development, you can utilize moving the needle principle to move forward faster.
Moving the Needle as a Mindset
Whether the source is a book, podcast, workshop, or webinar (or any other source), there is plenty to learn. But when there is too much, it can be overwhelming. The moving the needle principle can be stated this way: “I want to find one idea or nugget that will make the difference for me. If I find that one thing, it will have been worth my time.”
I used to think this mindset was limiting – after all, there may be plenty of ideas in that book! But by realizing that you can’t do or apply it all (at least not all at one time), the moving the needle principle allows you to be positive and practical in finding what will most help you right now.
This approach will accelerate your personal development (and professional growth) faster than you imagine.
Moving the Needle as a Goal
Once you adopt the mindset – that finding one nugget or idea that you can implement is a good approach – you can make it your goal. When you pick up the book, start listening to the podcast, or open the window for the webinar, remind yourself you are looking for one idea that will make a difference for you. By stating this as your goal, you set your mind’s gyroscope in motion looking for that one thing. Of course, you can highlight or take notes on anything you find interesting and valuable but make it you goal to find the gem within those notes and thoughts that will help you in moving the needle today.
You can set the goal in a general way as I just stated it, or you can tie it to a specific bigger learning goal. For example, if you know you want to be a better listener, you can focus on finding the idea or insight that will help you reach that goal.
Moving the Needle as the Solution to Information Overload
In a world with more learning options than ever it is easy to get lost in information overload. You want to keep moving forward and keep growing, but there are more books and blogs, workshops and webinars, videos and podcasts than ever! It is easy to move into information accumulation mode – where the goal becomes consuming the content, rather than finding the right ideas for you at this moment.
When you make it your mindset and intention to be searching for the nugget, you will get less lost in the overload. Let your mind do the prioritizing and sifting – just take in the ideas and enjoy the process – you will discover your nugget.
Moving the Needle as the Path to Application
The “moving the needle” approach to learning and idea generation is completely application focused. Once you find your nugget or insight, determine how you will use it. You aren’t looking for these nuggets to collect them, but to help you in moving the needle of your growth and success. When you take this approach, it completely clarifies your next steps. You put down the book or turn off the podcast with a clear picture of your nugget, and a compelling reason to take action.
Take your idea and ask yourself “now what?” as the way to apply/try that lesson or begin practicing something new.
Your performance and results are at one level today. Growth requires doing something new and different – but it rarely requires changing everything at once. Apply the moving the needle approach and you will build your personal path to growth in every learning situation you find yourself in.
One way to accelerate your personal development is by listening to top-quality podcasts. If you are looking for a new podcast for your playlist, consider The Remarkable Leadership Podcast. We feature (at least) weekly guest conversations with top leadership experts and thought leaders, and new short form content from me alone. With a rich archive and new content each week, The Remarkable Leadership Podcast will help you get new nuggets to apply with every listen. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts or by listening and watching here.