The book Slight Edge by Jeff Olson explain how our philosophies shape our attitudes, actions and results, which in turn shape our lives. This book has a repeating theme which is that small habits, if performed over time, will get you the results that you want. Many of these small things are easy to do, but because they are easy, people pass on further consideration such as choosing a cup of fruit over a side of fries, or deciding to buy the latest and greatest smartphone over using the one you have until it needs to be replaced. However, over time, the results of these small decisions produce massive results.
1. Power of the Slight Edge
You may have heard of the story where a person was asked if they want to receive $1 million dollars today, or take a penny, but double it every day for a month? Most of you would choose the million dollars, however, if you were to take the penny, the following would occur: the first day, you have 2 cents, the second day, you have 4 cents, the third day, you have 8 cents, but at the end of the month, you will end up with over $10 million dollars. They started with just one penny, but with time and compounding, it has produced 10x the results. This is the slight edge working either for us or against us. Once you embrace this philosophy, you will know that if you do something long enough, you will get the results you want. But, if you make the small errors of judgement long enough, you will also suffer the consequences.
2. It seems simple, but will you do it?
People may be wondering, if small actions will yield massive results, then why doesn’t everyone do this? Its precisely because its so “easy” and will not impact you immediately, people do not think twice about doing it. This gets even harder with the development of technology and instant gratification we receive through social media and the internet. For the slight edge to work, you have to do something, and keep doing it until you succeed. You need to follow the Plant-Cultivate-Harvest cycle. However, many people either expect something from nothing, or they want to go directly from plant to harvest. The results are not immediately visible. The small activities are undramatic and seemingly insignificant. In a society that tends to worship breakthroughs and quantum leaps, it’s easy to give up or stop doing the small actions required to deliver results.
Favorite quote from the book:
“The truth is, what you do matters. What you do today matters. What you do every day matters. Successful people just do the things that seem to make no difference in the act of doing them and they do them over and over and over until the compound effect kicks in.”
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