Iteration is the way to succeed in business, in relationships, at work.
So if you don’t know what iteration is, you’ll see that once you do, it can change your life.
Technical definition of iteration
According to Wikipedia, iteration means repeating a process in a changing context, namely, solving a problem by successive iterations as one gets closer and closer to the desired result; each successive iteration changes the context in which the next step takes place.
Iteration means experiment.
You try something that you think might work (iteration 1), and based on the results of the first try, you make another try (iteration 2).
With iterations, you get real-world feedback and your actions are essentially based on evidence/data.
The saying sums it up well
Trying something for so long before it just works.
The main power of iterations, then, is logically in their quantity. The more you do, the better your chances of success.
After all, as Naval paraphrased Malcolm Gladwell’s statement about becoming a master at something in 10,000 hours of training:
Once you see it, you can never close your eyes to it again.
Examples of iterative procedure
Let’s demonstrate the use of iteration with a real example. Suppose you are a writer who wants to write a book.
- Come up with a subject ->
- You spend six months writing ->
- Send the book to a publisher for review/ publish the book yourself.
- You will start posting 10 tweets a day ->
- Tweets that are successful you develop into articles ->
- You can develop successful articles into ebooks ->
- ebooks that are successful you will develop into a book that you will send to a publisher for review/ publish the book yourself.
The iterative process doesn’t save you any significant time or work (at first glance). However, it will rapidly increase the chances of a successful result.
So it actually saves you time in the result. You will write the book in six months, just as you would using the traditional process, but the chances of it getting published (not being a wasted piece of work that you have to repeat/re-do) are exponentially higher.
In the example above, you can clearly see another principle, the fewer iterations you can create, the better -> you can do more of them in less time, and quantity is key (iterating with tweets is much faster than writing entire books).
That’s why it’s always worth iterating using the smallest possible meaningful units. In the context of my blog, for example, those units are articles.
Word in conclusion
I find iterations to be one of the most powerful and useful mental models ever. They can be used in almost everything, and once you adopt this approach, I believe you won’t wait long to reap the first fruits.
Let me know in the comments – do you think you could use iterations in your business in any way? Alternatively, are you already using them? Successfully?