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The compound effect

This evening I was at my alma mater, the Rotman School, for a conversation between Roger Martin (the former dean of the school) and Canadian-Jamaican billionaire, Michael Lee-Chin. Michael is one of the most disciplined, consistent, and charismatic people I have never met. (The soothing Jamaican accent probably doesn’t hurt.)

One of his points this evening was about compounding. Not just compound interest, which is what many of you are probably thinking, but compounding in life. The thing about compounding is that the real benefits come later on. That’s why personal finance people will tell you that the key to financial freedom is to start saving and investing early on.

The problem with this is that, well, the real benefits come later on. And it can be frustrating when the rewards don’t seem to match the efforts. That’s why grit is so important and why some have suggested that it is a far better predictor of future success than things like IQ or a GPA score. There’s no substitute for hard work.

In the development business, projects tend to take a long time. We started working on Junction House back in 2016 and here we are now in 2019 planning for construction. So I thought this evening was a good reminder that there’s lots of value in long-term goals and that more of us (including companies) should be thinking along these lines.


  1. Sylvie Turcotte

    Interesting… my group of citizens for a better neighbourhood just presented our work to the residents of the area. We have been working for 18 months, voluntary work = part time of course, and we have a good product. Criticisms and NYBY seemed to stop my determination… no I have been compounding and will continue for 10 or 20 years! GRIT is the answer!


  2. Pingback: The passage of a few people through a rather brief moment in time | BRANDON DONNELLY

  3. Pingback: Grinding it out over the long-term | BRANDON DONNELLY

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