I recently read a book called the Slight Edge, and it got me thinking about what the real difference is between success and failure, specifically in the home business industry.
When you look around, it often seems like there are just a few rare exceptions who actually find success, and how they got there can feel like a riddle with no answer.
The mountain can seem unclimbable and a lot of people give up before ever taking a single step.
But the surprising truth is, the difference between success and failure is so slight, it’s almost invisible. And this slight edge is at work in our lives every day, either working for us, or against us.
Philosophy Of The Slight Edge
A person’s philosophy is the way they see the world. We may all live on the same planet, but we don’t all live in the same world.
The world of the depressed can be dark and hopeless. The world of the happy is bright and full of potential. Both have access to the same opportunities, the same sun shines on them both. But their philosophy determines what they see, and what they see determines what is real to them.
The philosophy of the slight edge is simple. All you have to do to understand it is to take a look at the natural process of growth.
When a farmer plants a seed, he doesn’t watch the ground and tear his hair out because he can’t “see” it grow. He knows that the natural principles of time and nurture will make his crops grow.
Each day the plants grows a little taller, but every time the farmer takes a look, it seems like they aren’t growing at all. But sure enough, like magic, the next day they are taller still.
Many of the most profound and life changing principles are often deceptively simple to grasp.
This is one of those times. Everyone understands that you can’t “watch” a plant grow, even though it is indeed growing all the time. It’s so obvious that the wisdom within gets overlooked.
Everything You Do Matters
The lesson nature is trying to teach us is that everything we do, and everything we don’t do, matters… a lot.
Just like the crops the farmer planted, your life is changing, little by little, every day. And, just like those crops, it’s changing so slowly you can’t actually see it. That’s why so many people end up with their life/business/health in ruins and they can’t understand how it happened.
Because it didn’t “just” happen. Usually, there’s no major event they can point to and say “yeah, that’s what did it”. It was an accumulation of seemingly insignificant bad decisions that compounded over time to create disaster.
See, the lie is that what we do today doesn’t matter. We eat a chocolate bar, we procrastinate instead of building our business, we watch the news and pour negativity into our souls, and… nothing happens.
You don’t feel any different, your life isn’t any worse off, and you conclude that your tiny bad choices don’t really make any difference. So you make them again, and again, and again.
But those tiny choices DO make a difference. In fact, they make all the difference.
The Compound Effect
The compound effect is real, and it’s working for you or against you all the time 24/7. When you see someone who has mastered a skill, the way they got there is by putting the compound effect of the slight edge to work for them.
Yes, they practiced for thousands of hours… but that’s not what’s important. What’s important is WHY they practiced for thousands of hours.
They must have had many hours, days, weeks, and months where they saw no progress at all. Maybe they even felt like they were going backwards at times. So why would anyone continue to waste their time on something that seems like it’s not working?
The answer to this question becomes clear when you understand the power of the slight edge. These people knew that, just because they couldn’t see it, didn’t mean they weren’t improving.
In fact, because they understood how the slight edge works, they knew that they HAD to be improving, and that eventually, whatever barrier they were facing must yield to the force of the compound effect.
So all they had to do was stick around long enough to let the compound effect kick in. And you know what the great thing is about the compound effect? It’s activated by time, not you’re ability.
In other words, you don’t have accomplish some great feat of superhuman achievement to become successful. You just need to perform a few simple disciplines every day, long enough to let time activate the compound effect.
The actions you take on day 500 will be no more difficult than the actions you took on day 1, but the effect of those actions will be drastically more powerful.
This should come as great news. You don’t have to climb some insurmountable mountain to reach success. You don’t have to make all these huge changes.
All those negative beliefs that said you couldn’t be successful because of XYZ reason are false.
Because real success, in the real world, comes by making a few small changes, adopting a few small disciplines, and practicing them every day to give time a chance to activate the compound effect in your life.
It’s not an overnight solution and it may not be the most inspirational insight you’ve ever encountered. But it’s real, and it works, and it’s already happening whether you know it or not.
If you can remember the principle of the slight edge, and adopt the philosophy that every single tiny day-to-day choice you make matters, and that you’re building your future with those tiny choices, either the future of your dreams, or of your nightmares, you can begin to see real change in your life. The kind of change you may have thought was impossible.
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🙂 Shawn Smith