Think Linear, Act Non-Linear (You Have no Choice)
There has been a lot of talk about the non-linearity of the world, and change. Quantum mechanics teaches us that change happens in bounces and stages, instead of increments. Chris Anderson talks about the non-linear long tail, and how disproportionate the different pieces are in terms of their share of the "pie". Seth Godin wants us to forget the tail, and focus on the head because of the disproportionate rewards and because "the winner takes it all".
I have personally observed that the road from becoming an F student to C student is shorter and easier than the road from A to A+. I have also noticed a jump in my skill in certain things that I am learning. All of a sudden, there is more clarity in handling the skill, and there is a distinctive difference in the amount of comfort and confidence in dealing with it.
We can easily demonstrate that, by observing the explosion in popularity of some of the biggest websites, that did not exist several years ago.
The immediate reaction might be to embark on a "non-linear way of thinking and operating" due to these facts and to the nature of change.
Although we need to take this into serious consideration we should remember that we are linear. We as humans have certain limitations that allow us to only do so many things at once, and therefore we should seriously consider that we are bound to act in a linear way.
You can only say one thing at a time, sell one customer at a time, and learn a certain number of words per day.
We should stick to the "old" way of improving our business and learning, and that is, by doing the maximum we can do per day - every day. Then every now and then, we will experience a jump (or a fall) in our performance due to the combined efforts (or lack thereof) and to some dots that became connected.
The point is not to be fooled by the hope of getting very lucky and forgetting about the importance of hard work and patience.