Have you read The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson? You really, really, should.
Successful entrepreneurs are always learning. They seem to understand a basic truth that many of us often neglect – the human mind is a muscle.
Yes, and like every muscle in the human body, it needs continuous (mental) exercise to develop.
Successful entrepreneurs invest money, time and effort to develop their mind muscle. And one of the cheapest and most effective ways they do this is by reading books that contain invaluable wisdom and deep knowledge.
When last did you read a book that brought you closer to your entrepreneurial dreams?
Every month onwards, I plan to read one life-changing book and share the lessons I learn with you on this blog.
“The Slight Edge” is one of the most amazing books I have read in a long time. It contains some of the most simple but highly effective lessons that, if followed, will surely lead anyone to success.
There are many lessons in this book but I shall only share with you the top 7 that resonated with me the most.
How I met this book…
Too many books are published nowadays that it would be almost impossible to catch up and read all of them.
I personally like to read books on entrepreneurship, business, leadership and success.
I don’t have anything against romance and fantasy novels; it’s just that I don’t think they deserve my attention at this phase of my life. I’ll have more than enough time to read all the novels in this life (and the next one) when I retire. And I plan to retire early. 🙂
I came across the book I’ll be talking about today, The Slight Edge, while listening to one of my favourite business and entrepreneurship podcasts.
For those of you reading this who don’t know what a podcast is, I’ll provide a short explanation.
Have you listened to a radio before? I’m sure we all have! A podcast is like one of those radio programs you listen to, but the difference is, you can download it from the internet and listen to it at any time you want. You can call it ‘radio on demand’.
So, back to how I met The Slight Edge.
One of my favourite podcasts is Entrepreneurs On Fire; it’s a 7-day podcast that features interviews with successful entrepreneurs. It’s often the source of my daily dose of entrepreneurial inspiration.
During one particular episode, one of the entrepreneurs being interviewed recommended The Slight Edge as a life changing book and I decided to give it a shot.
On Friday of that week, I bought myself a copy from the neighbourhood bookstore. The book is also available in downloadable formats on the internet. You could check it out on Amazon.com by clicking here.
After reading just a few pages into the book, I felt like I was demon-possessed; I couldn’t stop reading.
Jeff Olson is the author of The Slight Edge. Jeff has built multi-million dollar businesses and produced over 900 television programs on entrepreneurship and personal development.
Over the past twenty years, Jeff has helped thousands of people around the world to achieve better levels of financial freedom and personal excellence.
The Top 7 Lessons I Learned From Reading ‘The Slight Edge’
Like I mentioned earlier, this book is packed with lots of practical lessons and advice on almost every page. Sharing all the lessons I learned would make this article too long and make you less interested in reading the whole book.
Because I think this is a book for both wannabe and already successful entrepreneurs, I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun and experience for you.
Here are the top 7 lessons I personally learned from this amazing book!
#1 – Success Does Not Happen In A Sudden Quantum Leap
In today’s world, the term ‘overnight millionaire’ is something many of us recognize.
When we read the stories of successful entrepreneurs in Forbes magazine, we easily think that they became rich in the blink of an eye; in one dramatic quantum leap.
However, the truth is very different; success (like failure) does not just happen. It develops progressively over time. The seeds of success are planted long before success actually happens. The problem is, most people want to jump directly from planting to harvesting without doing the work required to cultivate success.
The doubters like to use lottery winners as examples of ‘overnight successes’.
Did you know that up to 70 percent of people who ‘unexpectedly’ come into large sums of money are very likely to lose it within seven years? This is according to research from the American National Endowment for Financial Education.
People will always win lotteries and stumble on ‘free money’. Most of these people will lose their fortune faster than they can imagine.The only success that lasts is the kind that is planted and cultivated over time. It’s a natural law!
Lesson: There is nothing like a ‘get rich quick’ business opportunity. To succeed in business and life, you must follow the natural law. You must plant, cultivate and then, harvest!
#2 – The Secrets To Success Are In The Little Choices We Make Everyday!
A lot of us still believe there is a secret recipe to success. We tend to think that rich and successful entrepreneurs have a special knowledge and skill that many of us don’t have.
Finding success must require some difficult and complex processes. Afterall, if it were simple, everybody would be rich, right? Absolutely wrong!
In Chapter 2 of this book, ‘The Secret of Easy Things’, the author explains:
“successful people have formed a habit of taking some simple actions every day that, over time, accumulate into huge gains that lead to their success. These simple everyday actions are easy to do; but also very easy to ignore and not do.“
Say you had to read only ten pages of an inspiring entrepreneurship book every day, would you do it? Just ten pages? Of course! Is it easy to do? Definitely! Is it easy to ignore and not do? Sure!
According to the book,
“the difference between successful and unsuccessful people is in the simple choices they make everyday. Successful people take simple and positive actions that are repeated over time. Unsuccessful people do the exact opposite: they make simple errors in judgment that are repeated over time.”
Why are simple positive actions easy to ignore and not do? Because the results are invisible!
If you read ten pages of a good book today and tomorrow, will you automatically become successful? No, not yet.
On the other hand, if you ignore to read those ten pages today, will you become unsuccessful? Of course not. But if you keep refusing to do that simple positive action everyday, over time, your failure will be inevitable.
Because you can’t see the results today doesn’t mean changes aren’t going on. By the time success comes, you may have forgotten the simple actions you took to make success possible.
#3 – The Amazing Power Of The Compound Effect
Reading a life-changing book today, tomorrow and the whole month will not make you successful instantly. Not yet.
Doing an exercise routine and carrying weights today and tomorrow will not, all of a sudden, give you rippling muscles and a ‘six pack’ abdomen.
Although you may have done some positive work to achieve the goal you desire, there is still a secret you must apply.
That secret is TIME.
Yes, time is the secret. If you keep reading that life changing book and keep taking those positive actions every single day, you will surely meet with success over time.
If you keep doing those exercises, lifting those weights and eating the right foods, you will definitely achieve that body shape and physique you’ve always wanted.
All you need is to keep making the right choices and taking the right actions every day; this includes those days you don’t feel like it. This includes days that you are lazy or in a bad mood and don’t ‘feel’ like taking these actions.
The compound effect takes all these little and seemingly unimportant everyday actions and launches you with great speed towards your goal.
The key is to be consistent; you must keep taking those small positive actions everyday. By the time the power of the compound effect kicks in, you will surely be amazed at the results you have achieved.
Remain consistent and give yourself time, and success will be sure in the end.
#4 – Your Habits Will Either Build Or Destroy You!
Habit is one of five faces of the Slight Edge.
There’s a quote in the ninth chapter of the book that says:
‘Sow an act and reap a habit; ‘Sow a habit, reap a character; Sow a character, reap a destiny.’
Yes, habits are the building blocks of our character and they make us who we are. Habits are those things we often do without thinking or making any conscious efforts because they operate at an unconscious level. As a result, many of us are totally unaware of the negative habits we have that keep us away from success.
Accroding to the book,
‘the way a behavior turns into a habit is by repeating it over and over and over again until it becomes automatic.’
The compounded effect of these habits over time will either work in your favour (if they are positive habits) or work against you (if they are negative/bad habits). Unfortunately, unsuccessful people have more negative habits than good ones.
So how do you change habits that are more likely to lead you to failure than to success? Well, you don’t.
According to the book,
“It’s tough to get rid of the habit you don’t want by facing it head on. The way to accomplish it is to replace the unwanted habit with another habit that you do want. And creating new and better habits, ones that empower and serve you, is something you know how to do. You do it the same way you built any habit you have: one step at a time.”
#5 – The Law of Associations – Be Careful Who You Hang Out With!
Did you read the quote above very well? Please read it again because it’s incredibly powerful!
If you took the average of your five best friends (both online and offline), would you still be surprised that you think the way you do? Would you be surprised at your present financial, mental and health condition?
If the five closest people to you are consistently complaining, living in the past, blaming others for their difficulties, and thinking and acting in a generally negative way, then what are the odds of you finding your way to success? Very slim!
I read the most shocking verse I have ever read in chapter 10 of this book. It says:
“Your relationships, financial health, attitudes, level of success in your career, and everything else about your life will tend to be very close to the average level of each of these conditions in your five closest friends and associates.”
If it were possible to share everything in this section of the book with you, I would. If anything, you should read this section of the book every time you can to remind yourself that every person close to you either has a positive or negative effect on your success; and there’s no in-between on this matter.
There are people you shouldn’t be spending time with because of their strong negative influence. These people are very likely to kill your ‘success spirit’ and drag you down the failure road with them.
The author puts it very nicely:
“Look at the people around you. Are they more successful than you are? Are they people who live the kinds of lives you aspire to live, or the kinds of lives you hope to leave behind? On what side of the Slight Edge are they living— on the success curve or the failure curve? Is the Slight Edge working for them or against them? Where will they be in twenty years? And are they pulling you up or dragging you down?”
Lesson: Watch the company you keep. Birds of a feather flock together!
#6 – To Succeed, You Must Start With Something; No Matter How Small
Every successful business you find around you today started with an idea. It started with somebody taking action and building the business from scratch.
You must understand that it’s not enough to want success; you have to invest in it.
The good news is, there is no amount that is too small to be invested. You can start with whatever you have, even if it’s a penny. The secret is to invest something (no matter how small) because success cannot grow out of nothing.
In a previous article on smallstarter.com, we shared the details of an experiment that shows how one penny, when doubled every day, becomes $5 million after thirty days.
A penny may be small to start with but it’s definitely better and greater than zero (nothing). If you invest nothing, you get nothing. But if you invest something as small and insignificant as a penny, the results may amaze you.
Lesson: Tiny drops of water will, if given sufficient time, make a mighty ocean. If you’re aiming for 100 percent, start by achieving 1 percent. If you plan to make a 100km journey, start with a step. Start with something, no matter how small.
#7 – Focus On The Future!
Successful people focus on the future because, unlike the past, it can be changed.
Although we cannot change the past, we can definitely change the future. Would you rather be influenced by something you can change or by something you cannot change?
An interesting section in Chapter 7 of the book reads:
“People on the success curve don’t ignore the past, but they use it as a tool, one of many with which they build their futures. People who live on the failure curve use the past as a weapon with which they bludgeon themselves and the people around them with regrets, recriminations, remorse and retribution.”
Amazing! We can either use the past to either improve or destroy our future. The choice is entirely ours!
Here’s another interesting excerpt:
“When you do have a clear picture of the future and consciously put time every day into letting yourself be drawn forward by that future, it will pull you through whatever friction and static you encounter in the present—and whatever tugging and clutching you may feel from the past.”
Lesson: The past is gone; learn what you can from it and move on. The future is virgin; conquer it!
When will you read The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson?
There is a lot of precious wisdom in this book. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you don’t rush it. The book contains lifelong lessons that need to be digested.
Take your time and read it at a relaxed pace. Don’t try to finish it all in one day; a couple of pages a day should be fine.
If you’ve read this book, what other lessons did you learn that have touched your life and changed your thinking?
Please share your thoughts and experience so thousands of other readers can learn from you.
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