The Slight Edge

Success and FailureWhich of these seems to be the easiest goal?

  • I will run 500 miles this year
  • I will run 42 miles this month
  • I will run for at least 20 minutes today.

If you’re like me, I would choose the last one. It just sounds easier than the others, but in reality they all produce the same outcome, which is to run 500 miles in a year.

Or how about this –

  • I need to lose 40 pounds
  • I need to lose 10 pounds by (date or special occasion)
  • I will not eat a cookie (or insert your favorite junk food)

Here again, the simplest step is easy, IF you believe in making the small decisions count. Not eating enough cookies will eventually produce the desired result, the weight loss.

What is the Slight Edge?

That’s the gist of this amazing book I’m reading now, The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines Into Massive Successby Jeff Olson. There are seven main components, but the basic idea is that whatever you do day to day with every small decision can add up to the life of your dreams, or a so-so life.

You’ve heard this before, most likely the famous Chinese proverb:

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

The Slight Edge in Action

Olson writes that it’s the small steps, done over and over again, that are the path to mastery of any given goal. He writes,

Are there any situations in your life today where you’ve given up and decided to keep crawling rather than go for what you really want, what you truly deserve? Have you lost the ability to make up a goal, go for it and get it? Why don’t you do what you did when you were just a year old?

The answer is both simple and sad: somewhere along the way, you lost faith. You became too grown-up to take baby steps, too sure you would never succeed to let yourself fail a few times first.  You gave up on the universal truth that simple little disciplines, done again and again over time, would move the biggest mountains.

So it can be the smallest thing, like making a phone call or paying a bill on time, that done repeatedly can mean success or failure in any area of life or business.

The Seven Principles

  1. Show up. (How many people don’t do this simple step?)
  2. Be consistent.
  3. Have a good attitude.
  4. Be committed for a long period of time.
  5. Have faith and a burning desire.
  6. Be willing to pay the price.
  7. Practice Slight Edge Integrity – what you do when no one is watching.

I could write pages on each of these principles, but that’s why you should read this book! Olson’s writing style is easy and conversational and it kept me engaged. I’ve read a whole lot of personal development and self-help books, but this one seems to put everything together in an approachable way. And no, he didn’t pay me to write this.

Everyone, have a great 4th of July!


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