The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

This is the 8th anniversary of the book which has touched the lives of many. This version has many more examples and the paragraphs are re-worded.

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Two good friends had similar upbringings and childhoods. George was a beach bum. Actually, the two characters resembled who I was. When I was the bum, there wasn’t a transformational change that triggered me to be a different person. The only difference was that I was exposed to the slight edge. I worked by trial and error as it was a long-drawn process. By 18, I didn’t have much of a future. Life didn’t seem fair when I mowed the lawns of golf courses and wondered how the people there became so rich. I knew I had to get on a different path immediately. Following which, I moved to Texas and planned to be a high-achiever there. Working hard isn’t enough. After many years in the corporate line, I ventured out on my own and my life was looking promising. My first venture was a solar energy company. However, things turned for the worst and the economy went bad. I was bankrupt. Even my car got towed away. Why was my life such a rollercoaster? Many people oscillate between success and failure in life. Sometimes, we sabotage ourselves? The problem is the lack of consistency. When you struggle from failure to survival, continue to do those things and you will become a success. This is what this book is exactly about. It is the little things that you do each day that matter a lot in the long run. For example, read a chapter of a book each day. These are the daily life disciplines. Essential points from the book: Keep doing the things that transformed you from failure to survival stage.

After my business failure, I had to work for someone else. I headed into sales. Guess what? The process of sales transformed my life for good. Even those many people have the right information, they need the right catalyst. Wanting something is simply not enough. Why diets don’t work. Change the way you think, that is the key. What I tell you will not stick in your head if you do not change the way you think. You don’t need more information to transform your life. The secret ingredient is your philosophy. Change how you think about everyday actions. Change your attitude behind your actions. Philosophy affects attitude, actions and results. ‘Do the thing, and you shall have the power.’ Double your rate of failure. Learn from your failures so that you can succeed sooner. Learn to plant, cultivate then harvest. The slight edge is the key for success. Gym memberships work if you go consistently.

The book talks about the water hyacinth and how it doubles in size daily. This is the power of saving and compounding your earnings. The boy who read the book choose the 1 cent which would double every day. The author gives an example of his mum. The millionaires who can make their money last tend to use their money wisely and lead a thrifty lifestyle. Put in place a financial plan to start investing now. It is never too late to invest. Don’t ignore the cost of waiting. Simple errors in judgment over time can lead to massive failure and poor quality in life in future. Don’t be too greedy at the start. Learn to be patient. Positive actions repeated over time leads to massive success.

Read inspiring stories 10 pages a day. That’s all it takes. What do the top 5% do differently? The difference is that they have the slight edge in life over the 95%. Steve Martin was someone who didn’t know anything about comedy but made it big in a huge way. Refining your craft is always mundane. ‘Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.’ Parkinson’s Law. What you have on hand, you tend to spend it all. Reason #1: They’re easy to do (and not do as well). Do not simply choose the path of least resistance. Something easy to do is also easy to not do. Reason #2: The Results Are Invisible. In the short run, the impact is not visible. Fatty food won’t clog your arteries overnight. People like to see the results immediately. ‘Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal’. Reason #3: They Seem Insignificant. The difference between success and failure is often very subtle. The little choices matter a great deal. I wrote a set of 10 core commitments for our business.

Stick on the path for long to see results. Willpower is over-rated and is only present in limited supplies each day. Your ally is time. The Grand Canyon was formed after 6 million years. Consistently repeated daily actions + time = in conquerable results. Do not try to skip the cultivating phase. Rome wasn’t built in a day, that is for sure. Time gives you the slight edge. You won’t get immediate feedback and you won’t know whether what you are doing are right or wrong. See with the eyes of time. Have faith in the process. Base your actions on what you know and not what you can see. Do what it takes to get the job done. Make the right decisions. Cultivate practice right now. Courage is to have heart. Start on the path and if you know that you are on the wrong direction, change immediately. It usually takes 3 to 5 years. Live in the moment! Be self-aware so that you can make better decisions. Slow and steady wins the race.

It will be very de-motivating if you can’t achieve it. Someday, when you have that something… Someday will not exist. Only today exists. Successful people don’t buy the lottery. Preparedness is doing the small things over and over again. The big break will not come if you don’t know what to do. Small steps are what matters. Winning is always a matter of the slight edge. Athletes always win by very close margins. Believing in a big break can be detrimental to you. People always look for magic cure. Success always takes time.

Focus on positive psychology. Recently, there has been much research on happiness. Health matters. Happiness depends on what you do. If you don’t do the daily things that you are supposed to do, you feel unhappy. Success doesn’t lead to happiness. It works the other way around. It makes your work better and keeps you energized. Use positive words and encourage others. There is a direct relation between health and attitude. Only 10% of people work on personal development. Develop some happy habits along the way. Slight Edge + Happy Habits = Success.

The slight edge matters to everyone, not just yourself. As we are social animals, the ability to make a difference is important to us. You should always look forward to work. Consistently show up and do your work. I collected stories on the slight edge from other people. We should maximise our potential. Even a single person can change the world through the ripple effect. The advantage of being young is that time is a very valuable resource. The book I released, ‘Success for teens’ was a big hit. The impact of your actions on others can be enormous. Share a kind word with others. Although you may not see the impact of your actions, you know that it will affect the other person positively.

A penny makes all the difference. It matters. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. It takes an action to cause change, no matter how small that action is. Read 10 pages of a book each day. 1% makes all the difference over a period of time. A penny saved is a penny earned. The act of surgeons washing hands saved millions of lives. The smallest things are the biggest things. Greatness is always application in the present.

I took the road less travelled by…And that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost

How you are in life is dependent on the choices you make. Everything curves. Life is constantly changing. The growth of the slight edge is exponential in nature. Time should be your best friend. Life is a curved construction. Use the slight edge to set yourself free. Blame vs responsibility. You choose. Taking responsibility liberates you. Be careful how you think. Please take responsibility for your actions. Look to the future. All successful people look forward to the future, not the past. The present is the only time when life occurs. Get out of your past as soon as possible. What’s uncomfortable early becomes comfortable later. Learn to savour the present moment for what it is. What legacy will you leave behind when you pass away? Small successes can spread into other areas of your life.

Responsibility is declaring oneself as cause in the matter. It is a context from which to live one’s life. – Werner Erhard

There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is the definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it. – Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

As a baby, you took time to master walking. Mastery is all about getting onto the right path. To learn you walk, you had to keep falling. All infants are successful. The longer you live, the easier it is to achieve. The path is always there, you just need to step on it. You must be fully aware of what you don’t have. People usually don’t like to hear how ambitious you are, they don’t feel comfortable. Visionaries make people uncomfortable. The size of the problem determines the size of the person. Do not simply delete your dreams if you haven’t worked hard enough at them. It is either that you are going up or down. Live outside your comfort zone. When you have the slight edge, you will win eventually. The first sales call was the most difficult experience of my life. Wanting is uncomfortable but is essential to winning.

Personal development is a gift. Sharpen the axe before chopping down the tree. Master continuous learning. Most students do not read after they leave high school. Illiteracy is a big problem in this world. Now which are the important books to read the books that matter? Take a course and improve yourself. Learning is one thing, doing is quite another thing altogether. Do not just think about doing, do. Even if you read the same thing, you might learn new lessons from it. Knowledge without practice is useless. Make corrections to your path. Your heart is a gyroscope that can guide you. The conscious mind cannot concentrate at a task for long. The unconscious is far more powerful and is the one running the show. Most of whatever you do is on auto-pilot. Make what you want to do every day automatic so that you don’t need to waste willpower on it. Invest in personal development.

There are different types of learning. Learning through study and through doing. The more effective way is knowledge through modelling. Model your behaviour based on your mentor’s experience. It feels good to being taken under the wing of someone very senior. It is amazing how far you can go with the right mentors. But you need to find the right one, the one who has the same goals as you. AA is successful because of the mentorship it provides. You will be the average of your 5 best friends. This is known as the power of association. Birds of a feather flock together. There are two types of people, givers and takers. Do not get sucked into negative energy. Have compassionate awareness. Surround yourself with successful people and success will come knocking on your door. Choose your heroes carefully.

‘Do not be afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still.’ Use the power of momentum. Find your intrinsic optimal growth rate. Steady wins the race. Let it go and let it flow. Use the power of completion. Every completed action you take improves your slight edge. Use the power of reflection. Write down some meaningful thing that you did every day. Use the power of celebration. Celebrate your small successes and your confidence will build from there.

A habit is something you do without thinking much. Nothing is stronger than a habit. Replace a bad habit with a good one. Here are 7 good habits that you can adopt. Habit 1: Show up. Have courage and do the thing. Habit 2: Be Consistent. 80% of success is showing up. Show up, attend class and study 2 hours a day. Habit 3: Have a Positive Outlook. Approach the everyday events in your life with a positive optimism. Everyone feels the funk. Embrace the funk. Habit 4: Be Committed for the Long Haul. Malcolm Gladwell emphasises the 10,000 hour rule. Habit 5: Cultivate a burning desire backed by Faith. Desire can move mountains. Habit 6: Be Willing to Pay the Price. It may mean delayed gratification or giving up your usual routine. Habit 7: Practice Slight Edge Integrity. If you lack integrity, it will come and haunt you.

Write your goal down and set a deadline. Step one: Write it down. Add the ‘what’ and ‘when’. Step 2: Look at it every day. Constantly remind yourself about it. Step 3: Have a plan. Start with a plan that is sound. Planning will get you started.

Your physical well-being is very important. When you have more energy, you can do more things in life. Be active every day. Be happy. Write down your happiness goals. First, know what makes you happy. It is the little things that count. Personal development will give you the slight edge too. Finances can provide the slight edge as well.

 

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