If you’ve been through a basic algebra course or just about any high school math class, you’ve probably had the “Slope Intercept” form tattooed inside your brain. If you’ve not already said it to yourself, it is y = mx + b. The reason why most people remember it or it’s taught so vehemently is that it’s chock full of simplified information. The m that goes directly next to the x represents the slope of the line (rise/run as some teach it). So the “trajectory” of the line is given to you right there in the equation. Large numbers in the slope mean a line that is skyrocketing upward. Low numbers are gradually heading upward. While negative numbers are heading downward at a rate equal to their negative slope. The other crucial number is b which represents the “y intercept”. It’s the “starting point” for the line in my discussion anyway. Whatever the b is, it’s where the line “starts” from. So a high positive b starts from a high position and goes up or down based on the slope. A negative b starts from below the x-axis and can either go down further or slope upward over time. NOW WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH MY LIFE? I’m so glad that you asked!
If you think of your life as a timeline, then you’re traveling along the x-axis. An hour, a day, a month or a year could be your unit of measurement but time is passing in a measurable fashion. We’re going to reverse the equation a bit and talk about your b.
Your Y Intercept: As I said above, that’s your starting point. At zero, you started someplace. Maybe you have all of the advantages in the world: supportive parents, finances, favorable bone structure, good looks, athletic ability, etc. Or maybe the opposite is true. You had a less desirable start. Advantages were few or possibly even disadvantages put your b into the negative at the beginning. Regardless of which camp you’re in, there’s nothing that can be done about that now. Your b (starting point) is a solid number.
Your m or slope: This is the only thing that you truly have control over. Although x is usually the variable, time is so constant, we know where it’s going. However we can adjust our slope. By your slope, I mean your incline or decline in any particular area. How much are you getting better (or worse) in an amount of time (rise/run)? There are some areas where you can have a massive slope upward. Others where a slow but steady increase would be great. Unlike a graph of a line though, your individual slope can change at any moment. Perhaps you have been on an exercise regiment consistently for two weeks. You’ve got a slope that is heading upward but then you take a week off. That slope is heading downward. The net effect might be slightly positive but keeping that consistent upward slope is truly what you needed.
Putting the equation together: Recognize the fact that having a consistent upward trajectory for the slope of your endeavor is key. It can overcome a disadvantaged starting position over time. However an advantageous start cannot counterbalance a negative slope forever. Eventually the work needs to be done to maintain that starting position.
So regardless of whether you’re looking to improve your finances, health or a variety of other things, this is the equation. If you can keep your slope consistently moving upward, then you can overcome any poor starting position. Unfortunately, most people become so blinded by their b that they never try to change their m. Put another way!
Your results = Momentum of action for X amount of time + Basic starting position
Give yourself a chance by impacting the one and only variable that matters. Improve your slope in order to intercept your goals!