slow & steady... with minor adjustments



~2 min read


341 words

Life is one long journey. We can try to make dramatic changes in the short term - and sometimes that’s necessary - but more often than not, as long as we have a direction in mind, only small adjustments are needed.

Over the long run, even small changes can have a massive effect. I started doing the math when I found that Antone Roundy at had already done it for me in his post, A Mere One-Degree Difference (which turns out to have a very similar thrust to the ideas I was exploring already in this post!)

Consider this. If you’re going somewhere and you’re off course by just one degree, after one foot, you’ll miss your target by 0.2 inches. Trivial, right? But what about as you get farther out?

  • After 100 yards, you’ll be off by 5.2 feet. Not huge, but noticeable.
  • After a mile, you’ll be off by 92.2 feet. One degree is starting to make a difference.
  • After traveling from San Francisco to L.A., you’ll be off by 6 miles.
  • If you were trying to get from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., you’d end up on the other side of Baltimore, 42.6 miles away.
  • Traveling around the globe from Washington, DC, you’d miss by 435 miles and end up in Boston.
  • In a rocket going to the moon, you’d be 4,169 miles off (nearly twice the diameter of the moon).
  • Going to the sun, you’d miss by over 1.6 million miles (nearly twice the diameter of the sun).
  • Traveling to the nearest star, you’d be off course by over 441 billion miles (120 times the distance from the earth to Pluto, or 4,745 times the distance from Earth to the sun).
  • Over time, a mere one-degree error in course makes a huge difference!

The journey is long, keep focused on where you’re trying to go, and tweak as needed. Small tweaks can have a large effect.

Hi there and thanks for reading! My name's Stephen. I live in Chicago with my wife, Kate, and dog, Finn. Want more? See about and get in touch!