The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

Buy the book here!

DIGEST THIS! THE ESSENTIAL IDEA:

Glamour is overrated – there’s success in the mundane. Success is so simple it’s tragically overlooked. This is the book of mastering the drill of the mundane, the small, the insignificant, the “easy-to-do easy-not-to-do”; in order to gain the Slight Edge – and ultimately become successful.

TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • To become a millionaire, do the mundane.
  • Become 1 in 20.
  • Be aware of the danger in small seemingly insignificant choices.
  • Do the “Easy-to-do Easy-not-to-do” action to succeed.
  • There is no grey – you are either on the path to beach bum or on the path to millionaire.
  • Soak your subconscious – choose the right little things in every moment, each and every day.

WHAT IS THE SLIGHT EDGE?

  • Simple productive actions done repeatedly and consistently over time.
  • Examples include exercising a few minutes a day, saving money regularly, reading ten pages of a book daily.
  • These “success habits” over time compound and lead to fulfilment of our goals.
  • It’s an incremental process, it’s progressive. “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal”.
  • The actions within the slight edge process can be tiny – are often so slight – but can be the difference between success and failure. E.g. the difference between a .300 batting average baseball player with a multimillion-dollar contract and a .260 plus player making an average salary works out at less than one additional hit per week over a season.

SUCCESS IS SIMPLER THAN WE THINK

  • You have it within you to be a beach bum and you have it within you to be a millionaire. What makes the difference is the choices you make. For a different outcome, you need to do something different.
  • Why do people oscillate between failure and success? It’s simple. They stop undertaking the same actions that made them successful. Once they hit their goal, they relax, stop doing the things that took them to success and eventually end back in failure. A classic example of this pattern is yo-yo dieting.

MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICES

  • We often have the same everyday choices available to us as other people.  People who make lots of money read books. People who are penniless read books – they just CHOOSE different books.
  • What everyday choices are you making? Are choosing what will get you to your goal? Are you making the right choice each and every day?
  • Every decision you make is either building your dream or building someone else’s dream.
  • If you chose to read 10 pages a day of inspiring books, that would equate to approximately 12 life transforming books over the course of a year. “Your mind will be filled with the strategies and know-how necessary to create a startling new level of success. You will have absorbed the thoughts of millionaires”.
  • The “insignificant” penny – what would it take to deposit the equivalent of a penny in every major area of your life – your health, relationships, finances? Something as seemingly insignificant and small as a penny would add up – equivalent to making a 1% step change beach day, resulting in a 365% shift in a year. Read more about the 1% Rule here.
  • Every decision you make is a Slight Edge decision – in each moment you have the opportunity to choose, to choose an action that leads you closer to your vision or further away from your goal. Will you choose to read an inspiring novel or gossip magazine? Will you choose to eat a healthy salad or sugar filled doughnut? It’s not about making the right decision aligned with your overall goal once, but making it again and again and again AND again that has impact.
  • Ask yourself at the outset of a project or goal – am I willing to make the same right choice again and again and again to reach my ultimate goal? If not, perhaps you need to reconsider that goal.
  • People who feel good about themselves produce good results. Catch yourself and others in the midst of doing something right and celebrate it. Make each successful right choice an opportunity for celebration.

EASY TO DO AND EASY NOT TO DO

  • Becoming an Everyday Millionaire is simple but not necessarily easy.
  • Why? Saving a little every day is easy to do and easy not to do. Similarly, it’s easy to exercise for 5 minutes a day and easy not to do. It’s easy to wake up 10 minutes early to meditate, and easy not to do.
  • Because the action can appear to be so small, so insignificant it’s easy to dismiss or delay it as it will have little to no impact TODAY. However, the impact of making that same choice again and again and again IS SIGNIFICANT.
  • Making the right choices isn’t dramatic, isn’t exciting, isn’t glamourous. Success is in the small, in the slight, in the ordinary, in the mundane, in the seemingly insignificant.
  • Therefore, master the mundane to become an everyday millionaire.
  • Unsuccessful people choose the path of least resistance in the moment, not thinking about the longer-term impact.
  • Greatness is always in the moment of a decision. The danger lies in the small seemingly insignificant decisions we overlook that add up over time. The piece of cake we eat each night, the coffee we buy each day that we could be saving. The decisions you have made have led to where you are today. Where you end up in life isn’t about whether you are good or bad – its dictated by the choices you make – ESPECIALLY the little ones.
  • In every moment you always faced with a choice. Keep making the choice that gets you closer to what you truly want, what will genuinely fulfil you.

BE 1 IN 20

  • Only 5% of people achieve the level of success they dream of.
  • 95% quit before waiting for their results to show – they lack patience or trust in the process, in the longer term vision.
  • Successful people do what unsuccessful people aren’t willing to do. They undertake the mundane, repetitive, simple, “easy-to-do easy-not-to-do” actions again and again and again.
  • And they do it for long enough for the effects of compounding to kick in.

EMBRACE INVISIBLE RESULTS

  • Delayed gratification is difficult in today’s instant gratification culture.
  • We want evidence of our actions too quickly – we want instant results, and when we don’t see them, we give up too soon.
  • The impact of your everyday small success choices will often remain invisible until long into the future. In fact, the unwanted circumstances in your life may continue for some time despite making the right actions.You have to hang in the process for long enough to give it a chance, whilst the right results are developing underground, hidden from sight.
  • A metaphorical story – two frogs hopped into a pail of fresh cream and found themselves stuck – the sides too slippery to climb, the bottom too far down to jump from. They began to frantically thrash about, one frog eventually gave up and sank out of sight, the other frog kept paddling in the same small circle, over and over again, hoping for a miracle. After an hour he gave up and let go, but instead of sinking to his death, he was able to get out. Why? His small simple efforts over time had churned the cream into a lump of butter – a solid surface he could leap from. His seemingly insignificant efforts had generated invisible progressive results which eventually led to his success.

STICK IT OUT, GIVE IT TIME

  • Consistently repeated daily actions + time = inconquerable results.
  • Time allows your actions to be leveraged through compounding. A small action repeated over time leads to big results.
  • “Growth compounds”. The sum of our actions over time do not amount to a straight line. It curves due to compounding.
  • The upward journey of success is available to anyone who is willing to get on the path and STAY ON IT.
  • Mastery is a state of mind that lies at the very beginning of the path, not some exalted state arising at the end, at the point of success.
  • The Wall: when Will Smith was 12 years old, his father tore down a wall and told him to rebuild it with his younger brother. At the time, Will Smith remarked that it was impossible, but they did complete it, in 1.5 years. It was a lesson to demonstrate that they should NEVER say there’s something they cannot do. Will surmised that you don’t set out to build a wall – if you set out to lay that very first brick, and you do that every single day, soon you will have a wall.
  • “Difficult takes a little time; impossible takes just a little longer”.

BEACH BUM OR MILLIONAIRE?

  • There are two potential selves within us all – the Beach Bum and the Millionaire. Which self are you progressing?
  • Those on the failure curve (the Beach Bum path) blame – they blame others, circumstances, fate – they give their power away. They tend to focus on the past and this pulls them down.
  • Those on the success curve (the Millionaire path) focus on the future, and use the past as a learning tool from which to spring forth.
  • In life you are either on the path to success or the path to failure – there is no in between – constantly monitor where you are. You are either going for your dreams or giving up on them. You are either stretching for what could be or settling for less.
  • Review the past – but only for the purpose of making a better plan. You can’t change your past, but you can absolutely change your future.
  • Review your day and monitor where you spent your time. Did you spend your time on activities that will lead to your goals or elsewhere?
  • A genuinely successful life is successful in all areas – health, happiness, relationships, career, legacy.
  • Take an honest look at your life. Is the number of true friends in your life with whom you have mutually enlivening experiences growing larger each year? Do you regularly engage in activities that are truly meaningful to you? Where is your life heading right now in each of these areas?

HOW THE ORDINARY BECOME MILLIONAIRES

  • It’s simple.
  • So simple it’s overlooked.
  • Ordinary people on ordinary salaries become millionaires by living below their means, not just once in a while, but repeatedly, and save consistently over time.
  • They undertake a simple daily, weekly, or monthly saving discipline that over time buys their financial freedom.
  • Buy the book and read more about how the author’s mum surprised him by revealing she had quietly become a millionaire by this simple Slight Edge method.
  • Do not wait to start saving – there is a cost to waiting – act now – take advantage of the Power of Time and the Impact of Compound Interest. Check out these Millionaire Calculators and see an illustration of this.
  • It’s better to be worth £1 million than to have £1 million. Invest in yourself – if you have a million dollar mindset it won’t be long before you make a million, but if you only have the money without the habits or understanding, you are likely to find yourself penniless again.

THE “BIG BREAK” FALLACY

  • Our culture tends to worship the big break, the quantum leap, the dramatic discovery.
  • However, the truth is that success often involves years of effort, overcoming obstacles and defeats – with thousands of steps along the way,
  • The seemingly sudden success is actually the pinnacle point of all of these preceding steps.
  • “No success is immediate or instantaneous, no collapse is sudden or precipitous.”
  • An overnight success is 10 years in the making.”
  • To succeed, reframe your view of success – seek incremental improvement and stop chasing the illusion of the big breakthrough. Check out our book summary of One Small Step Can Change Your Life and find out more.

BE WILLING TO MAKE THE SACRIFICE

  • The right choice means sacrificing the wrong choice, the wrong choice may still be very tempting.
  • “If you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice”.
  • The price of an unfulfilled dream is more costly than the price of the discipline needed to get there.

SOAK YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS

  • The majority of the choices we make are determined by our subconscious.
  • This is the place where our habits have become so engrained, we no longer need to do them consciously.
  • Like brushing your teeth or driving a car –we have practised them so much, our conscious mind has promoted them over to our subconscious. These habits have become automated.
  • In order to reach your ultimate goals, ensure you are consciously practising the right actions and choices that lead to your success, as repeated actions whether good or bad, will eventually become automated, and therefore difficult not to do.
  • The actions you carry out are informed by your thoughts. The thoughts you repeatedly think also become engrained in your subconscious. Ensure you are thinking the right thoughts.
  • The odds are against you – only 5% truly succeed. To give yourself the slight edge, “soak your subconscious” in your vision. Repeatedly think of it so you come to live and breath it before it even happens, so that your mind becomes attuned to whatever may cross your path in support of your goals.

APOLLO ROCKET COURSE CORRECTION

  • On its way to the moon, the Apollo rocket was only on course 2-3% of the time. At least 97% of the time it was course correcting – veering off and getting back on track. So there is hope for us mere mortals.
  • It’s important to keep making the right choices to get to your ultimate destination but you don’t have to make the right decision every single time. Go easy on yourself. You are allowed to fail. As long as you do not give up, learn from failures and keep course correcting to get you back on track, you will get there.

YOU CAN START RIGHT NOW

  • No matter where you are today, you can turn the corner from failure to success – by building positive habits and acting consistently.
  • You cannot change your past, but at any moment you can start to rebuild a new future – all it takes is that very first step, that very first act in the right direction, and to keep moving in that direction.
  • Get started – come up with a plan to get you out of the starting block. The plan you start with will not be the plan that gets your there. It does not need to be perfect – there will be a second plan and a third plan …You will have to adjust and auto-correct – embrace failures and pivots along the way.
  • Great success starts from a tiny beginning.

DREAMS HURT – MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU

  • Wanting something, desiring something hurts. Why? Because it reminds you of what you currently lack.
  • Use that pain, that tension as a force to get you from A to B, from where you are to where you want to be. Make it work for you.
  • What most people describe as a problem is simply a gap, a space between A and B. The uncomfortable tension in the gap will resolve, resulting in either A or B.
  • Successful people live in the uncomfortable zone – in that tension between A and B. Embrace doing what’s uncomfortable, doing what 95% of people do not do, in order to attain a life in the long run that is genuinely and sustainably comfortable.
  • The alternative is to quit dreaming, to let go of your dreams, and settle for less – and B will disappear.
  • Unsuccessful people often appear successful at first – they hang with the masses, their lives are more comfortable during the long early stretch but their habits ensure this becomes unsustainable –  later on they find they do not have the finances, health or happiness to sustain their lifestyle and their lives become increasingly more uncomfortable. In contrast, those on the success curve end up more comfortable as their lives progress, as their finances, health, happiness and successes increase through the compounding of their minuscule but right actions that have become engrained habits.
  • It takes more than desire to achieve your dreams – it takes desire + faith. If you do not believe you can get what you want, if there is an incongruence between what you desire and what you believe you are merely setting yourself up for failure.
  • The disconnect between faith and desire often happens when you dream big – the dream being so big, so far removed from your present day reality it’s hard for you to believe it could ever come true no matter how much you desire it.
  • Suggestion – dream big but chunk it down. Focus on a smaller version of that dream, one that you desire and believe can come true. E.g. Perhaps your big dream is to run a marathon, but you haven’t run more than 10 minutes in your life.  So, focus on a smaller version of this dream – running a 5k – something you desire and have faith in achieving. Then, when you’ve tasted success in reaching this goal, your belief in your potential will have expanded – you can move onto the next level of your dream – a 10k, then perhaps a half-marathon … and then the ultimate dream – a marathon!

BE AWARE OF YOUR ASSOCIATIONS

  • No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible, intangible force which, which may be likened to a third mind”.
  • Be aware of who you associate with – those around you can help raise you to your dreams (e.g. a mentor, a coach) or bring you down. People can be hurt by your large vision and subconsciously sabotage you to distract from their own perceived failings.
  • Your relationships, finances, health, attitudes, success, and career will tend to reflect the average level of your five closest associates. You are known by the company you keep.

YOU ARE ALREADY YOUR OWN BOSS – WHAT STORY DO YOU WANT TO CREATE?

  • If you work for someone else, you may be dreaming of the day when you can give it up and work for yourself.
  • However, simply living a life IS being an entrepreneur – you are already your own boss.You are solely in charge of the steady unfolding course of your life.
  • You are the author of YOUR story – what story do you want to create from today?
  • In each moment of decision, ask yourself why you are making that choice? No matter how small. Become conscious of what you are doing. What do you want your life to mean?
  • Realise that you are the project you are waiting for – work on yourself – continuously learn and expand.
  • Focus on building your own dream, otherwise you will be left building dreams for others.
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