Saturday, January 1, 2022



Click here to read the Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

Click here to read All Summary Attempts

What if we read a good book every week day; Monday to Friday for just 20-22 minutes in 2022? 

If you're in, click the link above to read for just 20-22 minutes and drop thoughts from what you read in the comment section below.

If you're also interested in the #22MinuteChallenge Bible Reading Plan from Bible Project, click here.

Have an awesome new season!

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  1. “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

    I didn’t change who I was as much as I changed what I did.

    I knew that for things to be different, I had to do something different.

    As I began examining my successes and failures, what I gradually realized was that the very same activities that had rescued me from failure, that had carried me from the failure line up to the survival line, would also rescue me from average and carry me from the survival line to the success line—if I would just keep doing them.

    You know what that means? It means you already know how to do everything it takes to make you an outrageous success. That’s how you’ve survived up to this point. And if you can survive, then you can succeed. You don’t need to do some brilliant, impossible thing. You don’t need to learn some insanely difficult skills, or have some genius-level brainstorm of an innovative idea. All you have to do is keep
    doing the things that got you this far.
    Which is exactly what 99.9 percent of people don’t do.
    What those things are, why most people don’t do them, and how you can live an outrageously happy and successful life by doing them, is what this book is all about.


    The things that take you out of failure and up toward survival and success are simple. So simple, in fact, that it’s easy to overlook them. Extremely easy to overlook them. It’s easy to overlook them because when you look at them, they seem insignificant. They’re not big, sweeping things that take huge effort. They’re not heroic or dramatic. Mostly they’re just little things you do every day and that nobody else even notices. They are things that are so simple to do—yet successful people actually do them, while unsuccessful people only look at them and don’t take action.

    The truth is, you have complete control over the direction that the rest of your life takes.

  2. Essential Points from Chapter 1

    The same activities that take us from failure to survival would also take us from survival to success—if we would just keep doing them.

    You already know how to do everything it would take to make you an outrageous success. All you have to do is keep doing the things that have gotten you this far.

    You have complete control over the direction that the rest of your life takes.

    There is a beach bum and a millionaire inside each one of us. What makes the difference in how things turn out? You do.

  3. Do the thing, and you shall have the power.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

    The secret ingredient is your philosophy. By “your philosophy,” all I mean is changing the way you think about simple everyday things. Once you do, then you will take the steps you need to take, to lead you to the how-to’s you need.

    If you don’t change how you think about these simple everyday things, then no amount of how-to’s will get you anywhere or give you any true solutions. Because it’s not the hows that do it, it’s how you do the hows. The reason diets and self-help courses and weight-loss programs and other how-to’s don’t work for most people is
    the same reason most how-to books and courses don’t work for most people. It isn’t that the actions are wrong. It’s that people don’t keep doing them.

    Focusing on the actions, the what-to-dos and the how-to-do-its, is not enough, because it’s the attitude behind the actions that keep those actions in place

    Your philosophy is what you know, how you hold it, and how it affects what you do. How you think about simple, everyday things.

    A positive philosophy turns into a positive attitude, which turns into positive actions, which turns into positive results, which turns into a positive lifestyle. A positive life.

    Your philosophy is what you know, how you hold what you know, and how it affects what you do.

    You can look at anyone’s actions and trace back, through the attitudes behind those actions, to their source: the philosophy behind the attitudes. Show me what a man does, and I’ll show you his philosophy.

    Here’s another example of a life philosophy, this one from Thomas J. Watson, the founder of IBM: The formula for success is quite simple: Double your rate of failure.

    If you go through life with the philosophy that “failure is not an option,” then you’ll never have any good opportunities to learn.

    Successful people fail their way to the top.

    Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. There is a natural progression to everything in life: plant, cultivate, harvest.

  4. Essential Points from Chapter 2

    No matter how good the information is, it won’t do you any good unless you have the right catalyst that will let you apply it effectively.

    Your philosophy creates your attitudes, which create your actions, which create your results, which create your life.

    Successful people fail their way to the top. Do the thing, and you shall have the power.

    The slight edge is the first ingredient, the catalyst you need that makes all the how-to’s work.

  5. “I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. You get busy living, or get busy dying.”
    — Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption

    In 1996 a book appeared titled The Millionaire Next Door, by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko. A classic today, Stanley and Danko’s book is still the best description I’ve ever read of how real-life people have become wealthy by following slight edge principles. The millionaires featured in their book don’t inherit their wealth, or strike it rich by making outrageously lucky gambles. They don’t “live large,” drive flashy cars, or live in ostentatious homes. They live below their means and make sensible, smart choices in how they conduct their everyday lives.

    After that book came out my friends would tell me, “Hey, Jeff, have you seen this book? It’s about you. It describes exactly what you do and how you act. You’re the millionaire next door guy!” Sure enough, the book described exactly how I approached my finances. For years I kept our family living on $4,000 a month, no matter how much my income increased, and I wouldn’t let us raise that monthly threshold until I had a million dollars (after taxes) in the bank. Then I raised it to $5,000.

    The power that covered the pond with water hyacinth, that churned the frog’s cream into butter, that turned the first son’s penny into millions, is the same power that turned my mom’s hard-earned paychecks into millions.

    The single most important thing I can tell you about the slight edge is this: it’s already working, right now, either for you or against you. So don’t wait.

    Easy to do? Surprisingly so. Easy not to do? Tragically so.

    You’re never too old, and it’s never too late, to start applying slight edge tactics to achieve your dreams, financial and otherwise.

    *Start Late, Finish Rich - David Bach

    During those times when I was slipping from survival back toward failure, I had stopped doing those simple daily disciplines. That was the reason—and the only reason—that I kept slipping back into failure. I was making little everyday choices that seemed harmless and innocent enough, but without my realizing it they were pulling me back down toward failure.

    The slight edge is relentless, and it cuts both ways. Used productively, it carries you up toward success. Used carelessly, it pulls you down toward failure.

    Simple productive actions, repeated consistently over time.

    Simple errors in judgment, repeated consistently over time.

    The choice is that simple.

  6. Most people don’t stick with the simple daily disciplines it takes to get where they want to go, because they don’t know how to look ahead far enough along the curve to see the results they are creating. But see it or not, those results are coming, as surely as a million dollars in the bank—or a train coming down the tracks heading our way.

    The simple little actions you take today can look very different when you see how they play out over time.

    The things you do every single day, the things that don’t look dramatic, that don’t even look like they matter, do matter. That they not only make a difference—they make all the difference.

    Have faith in the process of simple, positive actions repeated over time—the faith that miracles do happen

    No matter what circumstances you find yourself in, by applying the slight edge principles
    over time you can positively change the trajectory of your life. — Dave Hall, Highland, Utah

    After reading The Slight Edge, I decided to apply it to my job. I didn’t do anything drastic or make any major changes. I simply began to read ten pages of a good book per day—and I also started to think before I made every decision. I would ask myself, “Is this decision going to help me or hurt me?” It was those day-to-day decisions that transformed everything. About a year and a half after putting this habit in place, I got the position I had always wanted at work, along with a significant salary increase.
    I had worked for the company six years before putting in place the principles I read in The Slight Edge. The greatest joy was when my boss called me into his office, and said that I had changed over the last two years. I told him that I hadn’t noticed, and he said, “Well everyone else has!” — Jerry Sanchez, El Paso, Texas

    The slight edge principles, compounded over time, will make a massive shift in any area you choose. — Linda Kedy, Destin, Florida

  7. Essential Points from Chapter 3

    Simple daily disciplines—little productive actions, repeated consistently over time—add up to the difference between failure and success.

    The slight edge is relentless and cuts both ways: simple daily disciplines or simple errors in judgment, repeated consistently over time, make you or break you.

    Without the slight edge, you can start with a million and lose it all. With the slight edge, you can start with a penny and accomplish anything you want.

  8. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” — Benjamin Franklin (attrib.) in Poor Richard’s Almanack

    *Library Suggestion: Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, or Martin Seligman’s Authentic Happiness*

    What’s the difference between the 5 percent and the 95 percent? What are the 5 percent doing that the other 95 percent are not?

    The 5 percent all understand the power of the slight edge and how it is working for or against them. They may not use the words slight edge to describe it. They may not even see what they do as being guided by a “philosophy.” But that’s exactly what it is.

    "perseverance is a great substitute for talent.”

    The slight edge is the force behind the amazing power of compound interest. It is the steady, repeated action of water that can wear even the hardest rock to a smooth surface. Whatever you’re after, whatever you want to create in your life or whatever kind of life you most passionately want to live, the slight edge is the way to get it.

    The difference between the 5 percent and everyone else: They know how to use the slight edge to get what they want in life. No, let’s amend that slightly: they know how to use the slight edge to get what they want in life—and they do it. They do the thing, and gain the power.

    If you will learn to understand and apply the slight edge, I will guarantee you that in time—and chances are, less time than you would imagine—you will have what you desire. You will be among the 5 percent. You will be successful.

    As I said above, if you apply the slight edge consistently in your life, you will find yourself among the 5 percent and see the goals and aspiration in your life coming to pass—and you will achieve those aims, goals, and dreams by doing mundane, everyday, simple things.

    If you learn to understand and apply the slight edge, your life will become filled with hundreds of thousands of small, seemingly insignificant actions—all of them genuinely simple, none of them mysterious or complex. In other words, you have to master the mundane. And those actions will create your success.

    Everyone thinks they know about the power of compound interest. But most people don’t, not really. If they did, they’d be using it. And clearly, most people are not.

    Parkinson’s Law goes like this: “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” (or expenses rise to meet income)

    How hard is it to put aside a few dollars a day, or a little each week? Ridiculously easy. Yet most of us don’t do it.

    Most of us are literally digging our graves with our teeth. And we know all this—yet clearly the majority of us aren’t doing anything about it. Why not?

  9. Reason #1: They’re Easy to Do

    The simple things that lead to success are all easy to do. But they’re also just as easy not to do.

    But here’s something that is easy: pick up an inspiring, educational, life-changing book like The Millionaire Next Door, or Think and Grow Rich, or The Magic of Thinking Big, and read ten pages a day. Just ten pages a day. So easy to do … and so easy not to do.

    So while anyone could do these successful actions, most won’t, simply because it’s so easy to skip them. And the tragic irony of it is, that doesn’t actually end up making their lives any easier. We’re all doing simple things anyway. Unsuccessful people just choose what they think is the path of least resistance. But it really isn’t.

    We each have twenty-four hours a day, 168 hours a week, and we each fill these hours one way or the other with a sequence of mundane little actions and tasks.

    People who make lots of money read books. People who are broke read books, too—they just choose different books.

    The slight edge is always working. Whether for you or against you, the slight edge is already at work in your life and always will be, every day, every moment. The purpose of this book is to help you become aware of it—how it is working in your life, every day, every hour, every moment, in every step you take and every choice you make.

    Everything you need to do to transform your life is easy to do. It’s easy to become healthy, fit and vibrant. It’s easy to become financially independent. It’s easy to have a happy family and a life rich with meaningful friendships. It’s just a matter of mastering the mundane—of repeating simple little disciplines that, done consistently over time, will add up to the very biggest accomplishments.

  10. Reason #2: The Results Are Invisible

    The things that create success in the long run don’t look like they’re having any impact at all in the short run.

    You know what you’re supposed to eat. We all do. Fresh fruits and vegetables, complex carbs, salads, whole grains, lean meats, more fish and poultry and less beef.…You know it, I know it, we all know it. So why do so many of us still go out and chow down cheeseburgers and fries every day? I’ll tell you why: because it won’t kill us. Not today.

    It’s easy to eat well. But it’s also easy not to, and to go on eating the food that will eventually kill us, because it won’t kill us today. It’s not the one junk-food meal; it’s the thousands, over time. Eating the burger is just a simple error in judgment. Not eating it, a simple positive action.

    Why do you walk past the exercise bike? Because it’s easy. If you don’t exercise today, will that kill you? No, of course not. You know what you need to do to stay healthy and feel fit and live a long life. Get your heart rate up, a little over normal, for twenty minutes, three times a week. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. And it’s easy to do. But it’s also easy not to do.

    Here’s a slight edge action guaranteed to change your life: read just ten pages of a good book, a book aimed at improving your life, every day. If you read ten pages of a good book today, will your life change? Of course not. If you don’t read ten pages of a good book today, will your life fall apart? Obviously not.

    I could tell you that if you would agree to read ten pages of one of these good books every single day, over time, you could not help but accumulate all the knowledge you’d ever need to be as successful as you could ever want to be. Like a penny over time, reading ten pages a day would compound, just like that, and create inside you a ten-million-dollar bank of knowledge. If you kept this up for a year, you would have read 3,650 pages—the equivalent of one or two dozen books of life-transforming material. Would your life have changed? Absolutely. No question. But here’s the problem: back here in the present, on day 1 of week 1, all of that is way in the future.

    Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. “Progressive” means success is a process, not a destination. It’s something you experience gradually, over time. Failure is just as gradual. In fact, the difference between success and failure is so subtle, you can’t even see it or recognize it during the process. And here’s how real success is built: by the time you get the feedback, the real work’s already done.

  11. Reason #3: They Seem Insignificant

    The difference between success and failure is not dramatic. In fact, the difference between success and failure is so subtle, so mundane, that most people miss it. They may not realize they have a philosophy, but they do, and it goes like this: What I do right now doesn’t really matter.

    The truth is, what you do matters. What you do today matters. What you do every day matters. Successful people are those who understand that the little choices they make matter, and because of that they choose to do things that seem to make no difference at all in the act of doing them, and they do them over and over and over until the compound effect kicks in.

    Those little things that will make you successful in life, that will secure your health, your happiness, your fulfillment, your dreams, are simple, subtle, mundane things that nobody will see, nobody will applaud, nobody will even notice. They are those things that, at the time you do them, often feel like they make absolutely no difference.

    *We quickly developed something we called The Ten Core Commitments, which was a list of basic actions people could take to move their business forward. Little things that were easy to do and just as easy not to do. Things that wouldn’t really seem to make any difference if you did them or didn’t do them. Things that, if you did them, nobody would even notice. Things that were, in a word, mundane.

  12. *Example of The Ten Core Commitments, (source:

    1. Get Started Right.
    2. Two Exposures per Day.
    3. Attend Your Weekly Business Briefing.
    4. Send off a Long Distance Package every week.
    5. Stay Connected/Plug into Training.
    6. Attend Super Saturday once per month.
    7. Attend your Team and Corporate Events.
    8. Personal Development.
    9. Have a Workout Partner.
    10. Commit to the Process.

  13. Essential Points from Chapter 4

    Only 5 percent—1 in 20—achieve the level of success and fulfillment they hope for. The other percent either fail or fall short. The only difference is the slight edge.

    The secret to the 5 percent’s success is always in mundane, easy things that anyone could do. People don’t consistently do those simple things for three reasons:
    1) while they’re easy to do, they are also easy not to do;
    2) you don’t see any results at first;
    3) they seem insignificant, like they don’t matter. But they do.

  14. Chapter 5. Slow Down to Go Fast

    “Rome ne s’est pas faite en un jour. (Rome wasn’t built in a day.)” — ancient French proverb

    If you want to direct your life on a path of continual positive change, then you need to tap into the most powerful force for change in the universe. Fortunately for you, that force is always with you, ready to lend a hand if you just ask. That force is time.

    One of the amazing things about the slight edge is that it’s a very generous process. It requires only a minuscule contribution from you, and yet it offers you a gigantic return. It demands of you only a penny, and gives you back a million dollars. Starting with a penny is your part of the deal. The universe around you supplies the rest of the equation. And the force it uses to do that is time.

    The secret of time is simply this: time is the force that magnifies those little, almost imperceptible, seemingly insignificant things you do every day into something titanic and unstoppable.

    consistently repeated daily actions + time = inconquerable results.

    You supply the actions; the universe will supply the time. The trick is to choose the actions that, when multiplied by this universal amplifier, will yield the result you want. To position your everyday actions so time works for you, and not against you.

    There is a natural progression in life: you plant, then you cultivate, and finally you harvest. In today’s world, everyone wants to go directly from plant to harvest.

    The step we’ve lost touch with, the one where the real (though invisible) power lies, is the step of cultivating. And that step, unlike planting and harvesting, takes place only through the patient dimension of time.

    In a world filled with instant coffee, instant breakfast, instant credit, instant shopping, instant information, and 24/7 news, we have come dangerously close to losing touch with reality and believing we have access to instant life. But life is not a clickable link.

  15. “Time is like water: it gives life to everything, and flows in places most people just don’t get.”

    The slight edge is boring. it looks boring at first, when you’re oblivious to the results that are coming down the road apiece.

    If making the right slight edge choices were a dramatic thing, you’d get immediate feedback. An entire movie theater audience applauding, cheering, or screaming. But that doesn’t happen. And that’s the big challenge of it: no immediate feedback.

    The slight edge can carve the Grand Canyon. It can do anything. But you have to give it enough time for the power of time to kick in.

    The right choices and wrong choices you make at the moment will have little or no noticeable impact on how your day goes for you. Nor tomorrow, nor the next day. No applause, no cheers, no screams, no life-or-death results played out on the big screen. But it is exactly those same undramatic, seemingly insignificant actions that, when compounded over time, will dramatically affect how your life turns out.

    Making the right choices, taking the right actions. It’s truly easy to do. Ridiculously easy. But it’s just as easy not to do. And if you don’t do them, there won’t be any big drama about it. It won’t kill you; it won’t hurt you; in fact, it won’t make any difference at all … not today, anyway. Not tomorrow. But over time?

  16. If you want to understand and apply the slight edge to create the life of your dreams, you can’t make your everyday choices based on the evidence of your eyes. You need to make them based on what you know. You have to see through the eyes of time. You need to base your choices on your philosophy—on what you know, not what you see.

    Successful people do whatever it takes to get the job done, whether or not they feel like it. They understand that it is not any one single push on the flywheel but the cumulative total of all their sequential, unfailingly consistent pushes that eventually creates movement of such astonishing momentum in their lives.

    Successful people form habits that feed their success, instead of habits that feed their failure. They choose to have the slight edge working for them, not against them. They build their own dreams, rather than spend their lives building other people’s dreams, and they achieve these dramatic results in their lives through making choices that are the very antithesis of drama—mundane, simple, seemingly insignificant choices.

    Every decision you make is a slight edge decision. What you’re going to do, how you’re going to act, what you’re going to read, who you’re going to chat with on the phone, what you’re going to eat for lunch, who you’re going to associate with. How you’re going to treat your fellow workers. What you’re going to get done today.

    But by putting time on your side, you’ve marshaled the forces of the slight edge. Your success becomes inevitable. You just need to stay in the process long enough to give it a chance to win. It starts with a choice.

  17. In my experience, in three to five years you can put virtually anything in your life solidly onto the right track. Think of what you were doing three years ago: it seems like yesterday, doesn’t it? Well, three years from now, the things you’re doing right now will seem like only yesterday, too. Yet this brief little period of time can change your life. How long will it take? Chances are it will take longer than you want it to—and that when the time arrives, you’ll be astonished at how quick it seemed.

    The Slight Edge is all about living in the moment. For me, this is perhaps the hardest lesson to learn about the slight edge: you can’t find it in the past or the future, only right here, right now.

    *Ekhart Tolle’s - The Power of Now

    The Slight Edge is about your awareness. It is about you making the right choices, the choices that serve you and empower you, starting right now and continuing for the rest of your life, and learning to make them effortlessly.

    The difficult is what takes a little time; the impossible is what takes a little longer.

    Success takes time, yes, more time than most people are willing to wait. But not as much as you’d think. And once the momentum of the slight edge starts to kick in it becomes unstoppable, and you reach a point where results do indeed start to happen very fast indeed.

  18. Before launching we codified the slight edge into a set of simple ideas we called our Ten Core Values. These included things like be real, be determined, pursue constant self-development, and dream big—and act on it daily. Among the ten, the principal value was this: Slow down to go fast. In other words: you want big results? Good—then do the little things. Just do them consistently and persistently.

    Sometimes you need to slow down to go fast.

    The Slight Edge has helped me clearly understand that investing just a few minutes a day to improve my life has a compounding effect. I now wake up every day knowing I am on the upward track to achieving my dream goals in all areas of my life! — Jim Hageman, Dallas, Texas

    Pay attention to your daily habits and it will pay off. — Jeremy T., Marysville, Washington

  19. Essential Points from Chapter 5

    Time is the force that magnifies those simple daily disciplines into massive success.
    There is a natural progression to success: plant, cultivate, harvest — and the central step, cultivate, can only happen over the course of time.
    No genuine success in life is instant. Life is not a clickable link.
    To grasp how the slight edge works, you have to view your actions through the eyes of time.
    Difficult takes a little time; impossible takes just a little longer.

  20. 6. Don’t Fall for the Quantum Leap

    “I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.” — Coleman Cox

    There is no “some day.” There’s only today. When tomorrow comes, it will be another today; so will the next day. They all will. There is never anything but today.

    Successful people have already grasped the truth that lottery players have not: success is not a random accident. Life is not a lottery.

    People who live by the slight edge understand how luck really works. It’s not preparedness meeting opportunity: it’s preparedness, period. Preparedness created by doing those simple, little, constructive, positive actions, over and over. Luck is when that constancy of preparedness eventually creates opportunity.

    The truth of breakthroughs and lucky breaks is that, yes, they do happen—but they don’t happen out of thin air. They are grown, like a crop: planted, cultivated, and ultimately harvested.

  21. Here is a great secret that holds the key to great accomplishment: both that “sudden flash” and that “overnight success” were the final, breakthrough results of a long, patient process of edge upon edge upon edge. Any time you see what looks like a breakthrough, it is always the end result of a long series of little things, done consistently over time. No success is immediate or instantaneous; no collapse is sudden or precipitous. They are both products of the slight edge.

    A true quantum leap is what happens when a subatomic particle suddenly jumps to a higher level of energy. But it happens as a result of the gradual buildup of potential caused by energy being applied to that particle over time. In other words, it doesn’t “just suddenly happen.” An actual quantum leap is something that finally happens after a lengthy accumulation of slight-edge effort. A real-life quantum leap is not Superman leaping a tall building. A real quantum leap is Edison perfecting the electric light bulb after a thousand patient efforts—and then transforming the world with it.

    No matter in what arena, in life or work or play, the difference between winning and losing, the gap that separates success and failure, is so slight, so subtle, that most never see it. Superman may leap tall buildings at a single bound. Here on earth, we win through the slight edge.

  22. Believing in the “big break” is worse than simply being futile. It’s actually dangerous, because it can keep you from taking the actions you need to take to create the results you want. It can even be lethal.

    Can you imagine if every first grader was required to start reading ten pages of a good book a day? How would their finances, their health, their relationships change as adults?

    Our entire health crisis is nothing but one set of little decisions, made daily and compounded daily, winning out over another set of little decisions, made daily and compounded daily.

    Once you absorb the slight edge way of being, you’ll stop looking for that quantum leap—and start building it. You’ll stop looking for the miracle, and start being the miracle.

  23. Essential Points from Chapter 6
    Quantum leaps do happen, but only as the end result of a lengthy, gradual buildup of consistently applied effort.
    No success is immediate, no collapse is sudden. They are both the result of the slight edge accruing momentum over time.
    Hoping for “the big break”—the breakthrough, the magic bullet—is not only futile, it’s dangerous, because it keeps you from taking the actions you need to create the results you want.

  24. 7. The Secret of Happiness

    “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.” — Albert Schweitzer

    Life means your health. The healthier you are, the more life you experience. Better health not only lets you live out all the days of a longer life, it also lets you live more life in each and every one of those days. Poor health is like a cloudy, smoggy day: it cuts off the sunlight. Let your health get bad enough, and you lose your life altogether.

    If you don’t have money handled, you don’t live free. Financial health gives you freedom; freedom to follow your passions, chase your pursuits, develop your skills and talents and gifts, to fulfill the promises of life itself.

  25. How you realize happiness is by doing some simple things, and doing them every day.

    Success doesn’t lead to happiness—it’s the other way around.

    One of the most radical and remarkable things about the happiness research is the discovery that doing things that make you happy doesn’t just make you happier. It also makes your life work better.

    Extensive research since 2000 has shown that people who are happier also:
    have fewer strokes and heart attacks
    have less pain and inflammation
    have greater immune function and more resistance to viruses
    develop more resilient personalities and handle adversity better
    have better work performance and more professional success
    have more fulfilling and longer-lasting marriages
    have larger and more active social spheres
    are more involved in their communities
    are more altruistic and have a greater net positive impact on society
    are more financially successful
    live longer

    Once you do what it takes to raise your everyday level of happiness, then you will become more successful, then you’ll become healthier, then you’ll find that relationship. The more you raise your own happiness level, the more likely you’ll start achieving all those things you want to achieve.

    “Be happy, and the reason will appear.”

  26. The personal development movement has been driven largely by individual people’s personal experience and the teachings of compelling teachers, people like Napoleon Hill, Norman Vincent Peale, Denis Waitley, Brian Tracy, and Jim Rohn. The happiness movement has a completely different genesis: it has been driven largely by scientific research. When you show up with the intellectual weight and credibility of academia and all this well-documented research in your back pocket, it opens doors you never could get through with personal development.

    People really want to be happy. Far more people have a strong desire to be happy than a strong desire to develop themselves to a fuller potential. “Personal development” sounds to most people like work, and who wants to work harder than they are already working? But “happiness” doesn’t sound like work. It sounds like … well, it sounds like being happier.

    For years I’d taught that your philosophy determines your attitude, which determines your actions. And those actions are what produce your results. For people to get the results they wanted, they simply needed to do the right actions. That’s the how-to’s. But you’re not going to do the right actions,
    day in and day out, unless you have the right philosophy, in other words, unless you fully grasp the importance and the power of simple daily actions: the slight edge philosophy. Once you have the slight edge philosophy, then you have the key to how to do the hows.
    I knew how the equation worked: the right philosophy → the right attitude → the right actions

    But there was this in-between step, this stepping stone from philosophy to action. This thing called attitude. Your attitude is the thing that translates your abstract understanding (philosophy) into your concrete actions. It’s like a gigantic synapse, where a nerve impulse has to make a biochemical
    leap from one nerve ending to another—and your attitude is what determines the quality of that leap.

    Happiness. The perfect workout partner for the slight edge.

  27. Happy habits don’t just make you happier. They also create exactly the attitude you need to make that synaptic leap from the slight edge philosophy to slight edge actions. In other words, now those actions start working for you. In every aspect of your life. Put the slight edge philosophy together with happy habits, and before long all the other how-to’s start working in your life, too. The better eating habits, the workout schedule, the attention to smarter financial habits, the greater learning and personal development, the stronger, healthier relationships, the progressive development of a life of powerful, positive impact—all of it.
    Here’s the equation: slight edge + happy habits = success
    It’s that simple.

    Shawn teaches a set of five simple things you can do every day that, if you do them consistently over time, will make you significantly, noticeably, measurably happier. They are slight edge actions for happiness: happy habits.

    1. Each morning, write down three things you’re grateful for. Not the same three every day; find three new things to write about. That trains your brain to search your circumstances and hunt for the positive.

    2. Journal for two minutes a day about one positive experience you’ve had over the past twenty-four hours. Write down every detail you can remember; this causes your brain to literally reexperience the experience, which doubles its positive impact.

    3. Meditate daily. Nothing fancy; just stop all activity, relax, and watch your breath go in and out for two minutes. This trains your brain to focus where you want it to, and not get distracted by negativity in your environment.

    4. Do a random act of kindness over the course of each day. To make this simple, Shawn often recommends a specific act of kindness: at the start of each day, take two minutes to write an email to someone you know praising them or thanking them for something they did.

    5. Exercise for fifteen minutes daily. Simple cardio, even a brisk walk, has a powerful antidepressant impact, in many cases stronger (and more long-lasting) than an actual antidepressant!

    According to Shawn, if you do any one of these things faithfully for just three weeks, twenty-one days in a row, it will start to become a habit — a happy habit. You will have literally begun to rewire your brain to see the world in a different way, and as a result, to be happier on an everyday basis.

  28. Other happiness researchers have different lists, including things like:
    Make more time for friends.
    Practice savoring the moment.
    Practice having a positive perspective.
    Put more energy into cultivating your relationships.
    Practice forgiveness.
    Engage in meaningful activities.
    Practice simple acts of giving.

    They all share similarities, and they are all drawn from the same body of research. Because I place a high value on personal development and learning, my list would include: Read at least ten pages of a good book daily.

    Do these simple things consistently, every day, and in time—a lot less time than you might expect—you will become a significantly happier version of you. And that will make everything else in your life work better, too.

    Life experiences train us to see the negative, our shortcomings, and react to situations. To look for what we did wrong. It is just as easy to look for what we did well and build on that. Life gives us numerous opportunities to grow, if we just see them for what they can mean. — Jim Hageman, Dallas, Texas

  29. Essential Points from Chapter 7
    Happiness is created by doing some simple, easy things, and doing them every day.
    Success does not lead to happiness, it’s the other way around: more happiness creates more success.
    Elevated levels of happiness create elevated levels of health, performance, social involvement, marital fulfillment, financial and career success, and longevity.
    Greater happiness is key to making the slight edge work in your life.

    Shawn Achor’s five happy habits:
    1. Every morning write down three new things you’re grateful for.
    2. Journal for two minutes a day about a positive experience from the past 24 hours.
    3. Meditate daily for a few minutes.
    4. At the start of every day, write an email to someone praising or thanking them.
    5. Get fifteen minutes of simple cardio exercise a day.

  30. 8. The Ripple Effect

    “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives.” — Clarence the Angel, in It’s a Wonderful Life

    One of the most compelling, universal human drives is the desire to feel that we make a difference—that because we were here, the world is a better place.

    Doing better in business is great—but your business is only a fraction of you as a whole person. I started seeing that the slight edge could literally change people’s lives.

    I believe we are all, each and every one of us, graced with a unique mix of talent, passion, and vision, and that we were put here to live that out on a grand stage. The purpose of the slight edge is to allow us to live out those talents, passions, and visions to their fullest potential. I believe we are here to learn and grow, and to become so abundant in belief in ourselves that we finally tap into the full potential of the greatness that is within us and share that greatness with the world. But that greatness comes with a price.

    Growth creates abundance, and that abundance in turn creates responsibility. The more success we have, the more greatness we step into and the more abundance we experience, the more responsibility we have to the world around us. Achieving greatness—in anything—isn’t simply a
    matter of taking the steps that get you there. It’s also a matter of being willing to pay the price. And that price is responsibility.

  31. I want the world to be better because I was here. I want my life, my work, my family to mean something. If you are not making someone else’s life better you are wasting your time. Your life will only become better by helping make other lives better. - Will Smith

    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.” - Margaret Mead,

    When you create positive improvements in your life, you create positive ripples that spread out all around you, like a pebble of positivity dropped in a pond. Those ripples may not all be visible but just because you may not see them doesn’t mean they’re not there. They are, and their impact can be enormous. When you reach out and positively affect one other person through your interactions and words you create a slight change in that person, who is then more likely to reach out and positively affect someone else.

    Simply put, one touches another, who touches another, who touches another.

  32. Through your everyday attention to those simple positive actions, your happy habits and daily disciplines, you don’t only have an impact on yourself, you are also having a powerful impact on everyone around you. You become a better relative, a better friend, a better business associate, father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister etc. which in turn creates a spreading positive impact on the world around you and society at large.

    We are all having a ripple effect of some sort already, whether or not we realize it.

    If we cultivate this slight edge habit of creating positive moments for all those who cross our paths, I believe it will in time create a shift in the negativity and indifference that so often greets us in the world.

    With children it is often so much easier to take the path of least resistance—to let them eat that fast food they love rather than cook something healthy, to let them watch TV rather than read to them, to let them play video games rather than interact with them. But making the extra effort is so worth it.

    The slight edge philosophies and ideas seem so simple, but when you apply them consistently, the results are amazing. I now read or listen to personal development material every day. Having grasped the benefits of simple disciplines, practiced over time, I know I will never go back to living an unhealthy lifestyle. — Robert Kratch, Minneapolis, Minnesota

  33. Essential Points from Chapter 8
    Everyone wants to know that they make a difference in the world—that their lives matter.
    Greater success also creates a greater responsibility to share that success with others.
    A single thoughtful, committed person can change the world.
    We are all having a ripple effect on others; the question is, what kind of ripple effect, negative positive, do we want to have?

  34. 9. But You Have to Start with a Penny

    “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” — Chinese proverb

    Truth is, while that penny might be small, it’s far from insignificant. In fact, it makes all the difference.

    It doesn’t take superhuman leaps to accomplish great things. Whatever success you want to create, whatever feats you want to achieve, whatever dreams you want to make real, you can, and you don’t have to do impossible, extraordinary things to make that happen.
    But you do have to do something. You have to start with a penny.

    Success does come from a small beginning, often a beginning so tiny that it seems invisible and most people miss it. But there has to be a beginning.

    If I told you that reading Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich would change your life, would you sit down and read it, cover to cover, today? Or another classic, Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Would you read either one in a single day? I doubt it. I wouldn’t — I can’t spend the entire day reading, and I’ll bet you can’t either. But could you read a penny’s worth, say, ten pages? I don’t know how much you would get out of ten pages. Maybe a lot, maybe a little. Let’s say you get hardly anything out of it. But if you could read ten pages today, could you read ten more tomorrow? Of course you could. Anyone who can read could do that. If you do, will your life change on that first day you read ten pages? Probably not. And if you don’t read those ten pages, will your life start to fall apart? Of course not. But successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do — even when it doesn’t look like it makes any difference. And they do it long enough for the compounding effect to start to kick in.
    If you read ten pages a day of books like this and keep it up every day for a year, you will have read about a dozen powerful, amazing, life-transforming classics. 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. But to do that, you have to read those ten pages. You have to start with the penny.

  35. The word “cent” is short for centum, meaning one-hundredth. A penny is called a cent because it is one-hundredth, or 1 percent, of a dollar. So let’s say you add 1 percent of whatever value you want to achieve, in all these areas ( happiness, sense of self, friendships, health, studies, skills areas of knowledge). By the end of a year, by adding 1 percent each da y— pure addition, no compound interest — how much have you added? A total of 365 percent. In other words, times three and-a-half.
    If your little actions — your happy habits, kind words, practice or study sessions, workouts, reading times, and the rest — each represented a 1 percent improvement in that area, your level of achievement in a year’s time would be not doubled but more than tripled.

    Growth compounds.

    Every day, in every moment, you get to exercise choices that will determine whether or not you will become a great person, living a great life. Greatness is not something predetermined, predestined, or carved into your fate by forces beyond your control. Greatness is always in the
    moment of the decision.

    The truth is, you create your own butterfly effect, whether you know it or not, and you do it all the time. Sometimes even the most important things feel futile or pointless at the time, long before you can really see or feel their ultimate impact.

    Little things, things that might seem like they have no power at all, can make all the difference in the world. Sometimes, they can even change the course of history. And I can tell you this for certain: they will change your history.

    What you do matters.

    I realized was that I could not change my past, but I could rebuild a new future by taking a small step every day in the right direction—just like the power of the penny. Now, as a result of those small steps, I am well on the way to regaining the success I had prior to losing
    everything. — Jim Paris, creator of, Daytona Beach, Florida

  36. Essential Points from Chapter 9

    Great success often starts from a tiny beginning—but there has to be a beginning. You have start somewhere. You have to do something.
    If you add just 1 percent of anything—skill, knowledge, effort—per day, in a year it will have more than tripled. But you have to start with the 1 percent.
    Greatness is not something predetermined, predestined, or carved into your fate by forces beyond your control. Greatness is always in the moment of the decision.

    10. Two Life Paths

    “I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference.” — Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

    Greatness is always in the moment of the decision, and so is fate. The wisdom to recognize the slight edge, shows up in the mundane little choices we make every day,

    The truth is, everything is curved. There is no true straight line. Everything is always, constantly changing. Including your life. You are on a journey called your life path, and that path is not a straight line, but a curve. As you walk your path, it is always, every moment of every day, curving either upward or downward.

    It may seem to you that today is much like yesterday. It isn’t. It’s different. Every day is. Appearances can be deceiving; in fact, they almost always are. There may be times when things seem to be on a steady, even keel. This is an illusion: in life, there is no such thing as staying in the same place. There are no straight lines; everything curves. If you’re not increasing, you’re decreasing.

    Successful people understand that time is their friend. Time will be your friend or your enemy; it will promote you or expose you. It depends purely upon which side of this curve you decide to ride. It’s entirely up to you. If you’re doing the simple disciplines, time will promote you. If you’re doing the few simple errors in judgment, time will expose you, no matter how well you appear to be doing right now. Life is a curved construction; time is its builder, and choice its master architect.

    You can use the slight edge to break free of the downward pull of life and become the best you can possibly be. Or, the slight edge will pull you down, keep you down, and eventually take you out. It’s up to you. For things to change, you’ve got to change. For things to get better, you’ve got to get better. It’s easy to do. But then, it’s just as easy not to do.

    If you want to measure where you are, if you want to know whether you’re on the success curve or on the failure curve, or if you want to assess anyone else and determine which curve they’re on, here’s how. There is one attitude, one state of mind, which overwhelmingly predominates either side of the curve. The predominant state of mind displayed by those people on the failure curve is blame. The predominant state of mind displayed by those people on the success curve is responsibility.

  38. People on the success curve live a life of responsibility. They take full responsibility for who they are, where they are, and everything that happens to them. Taking responsibility liberates you; in fact, it is perhaps the single most liberating thing there is. Even when it hurts, even when it doesn’t seem fair. When you don’t take responsibility, when you blame others, circumstances, fate, or chance, you give away your power. When you take and retain full responsibility — even when others are wrong or the situation is genuinely unfair — you keep your life’s reins in your own hands.

    “A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.” - John Burroughs.

    Don’t complain about what you allow.

    Responsibility starts with the willingness to deal with a situation from and with the point of view, whether at the moment realized or not, that you are the source of what you are, what you do, and what you have. - Werner Erhard

    People on the failure curve tend to focus on their past — and it pulls them down. People on the success curve focus on their future. And you can guess what happens: it pulls them up. It seems most people live with one foot in the past, saying, “If only things had been different, I would be successful.” And the other foot in the future saying, “When this or that happens, I will be happy and successful.” And they completely ignore the present — which is the only place where life actually occurs.

    One of the quickest and most direct routes to getting yourself up and onto the success curve is to get out of the past. The future is your most powerful tool and your best friend. Devote some serious, focused time and effort into designing a crystal-clear picture of where you’re going. When you 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.

    You can’t change the past. You can change the future. Would you rather be influenced by something you can’t change, or by something you can?

  39. Let’s take a moment for some honest self-assessment of these seven areas of your life:

    Your health.
    The way you eat, the way you exercise, the kind of schedule you keep, the ways in which you take care of yourself — are all these building a greater feeling of health and vibrancy every day?

    Your level of happiness.
    Do you take time every day to notice those things you’re grateful for?
    Do you make a habit of looking at things in a positive light, rather than a negative light?
    Do you engage regularly in activities that are meaningful to you, things you do not because you have to but because you want to?

    Your friendships and close relationships.
    Is the number of friends in your life, people with whom you stay in touch, with whom you share meaningful exchanges and mutually enriching experiences, growing larger every year?
    If your marriage were a plant, would it be a plant that is growing taller, riper, fuller, and richer with each passing year?
    Are you growing deeper and richer with family (children, parents, brothers, sisters etc)?

    Your personal development.
    Are you learning more about yourself, about the world around you, and about how life works every day?
    Are you learning new skills and sharpening old ones?
    Are you becoming a more capable person, one more interesting to know and valuable to be around?

    Your finances.
    Are you building assets and putting money into a long-term plan that will create true financial freedom?
    Is your net worth growing larger each year?
    Are you living within your means and investing a portion of your income into a program that will build equity for you over the years, growing dollar by dollar and picking up momentum through the power of compounding interest so that, like a snowball rolling down a wintry hill, it will have gathered tremendous financial mass in the years when you need it most?

    Your career.
    Is your professional life growing every day?
    Are you moving along a path that is taking you toward greater accomplishment and fulfillment in your chosen occupation?
    Is your work growing not only in its financial rewards, but also in your sense of meaningful contribution, personal satisfaction, and respect among your peers?

    Your positive impact on the world.
    What kind of impact are you having on the people around you?
    How is the world different as a result of your being here?
    After you leave this world, what will you leave behind as a legacy and how will people remember you?
    When you add together your career and all your professional accomplishments, your relationships and all your personal accomplishments, your sense of connection with nature, humanity, and God, how would you describe the overall value or meaning of your life?


  40. There is no treading water in life, no running in place, because everything is in motion.

    A genuinely successful life means your health, your happiness, your relationships, your personal development, your career, your spirituality, your sense of fulfillment, your legacy and the impact you have on the world… it means all these things and more.

    The best thing about genuine success is that it spreads. Like ripples in a pond, even small successes in any one of these areas begins to affect all the others, too. Improve your health and you improve your relationships; work on your personal development and you have an impact on your career. Everything affects everything else.

    If you are having a hard time making progress in one area, take action to make a small positive change in an unrelated area. Feeling successful in one area will provide you with renewed confidence and energy to continue on your journey of attaining that other big goal.
    Success in one area breeds success in every area. The key is, start somewhere. Wherever you can take action and begin creating little successes, do it. Don’t wait. The rest of your life is waiting.

    You cannot change the past. You can absolutely change the future.

    All the information you need is already there. You’re already doing the actions. All you need to do is choose to have them serve and empower you — and keep on choosing.

    Sometimes it seems like it’s too late in life to change things. I realize now that it is never too late. But you have to start somewhere. It’s up to you to dig deep, look at things from the past, and strive to be better in the future with just a few simple changes. — Charleigh Vigil, Dekalb, Illinois

  41. Essential Points from Chapter 10
    Everything is always in motion. Every day, every moment, your life path is either curving upward, or curving downward.
    Growing up we heard five times as many nos as yeses. Life has a downward pull.
    People on the success curve live in responsibility. People on the failure curve live in blame.
    People on the success curve are pulled by the future. People on the failure curve are pulled by the past.
    No matter where you are, at any moment you can choose to step onto the success curve.

  42. 11. Mastering the Slight Edge

    “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

    The pursuit of any aim, goal, or dream is a slight edge journey of continuous improvement, learning, and refinement. But mastery is not an exalted state that lies at the end of the path; it is a state of mind that lies at the very beginning. Mastery is in the act of setting your foot on the path, not in reaching its end.

    In the process of learning to walk, did you spend more time falling down or standing up? If you were anything like most babies, you failed (fell) far more than you succeeded (walked). It didn’t matter: you were on the path of mastery.

    Constantly falling down was really uncomfortable (it hurt), and you looked pretty foolish lying there on the floor like a beetle on its back. But you kept at it anyway. Why? Because successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. And here’s the fascinating part: all infants are successful. As infants, we are all masters. That’s just the way we’re designed. All newborns instinctively understand the slight edge. We only let go of our natural pull toward success, our mastery, over the course of those 40,000 nos.

    Are there any situations in your life today where you’ve given up and decided to keep crawling for the rest of your life, rather than go for what you really want, what you truly deserve? Have you let go of the capacity to make up a goal, go for it, and get it? If so, you have to ask yourself, why is it so difficult, so impossible, to do something today that you had no trouble doing when you were less than a year old?

  43. There is something treacherous about letting go of that childlike willingness to try and try again. It is this: settling for less, giving up on the power of baby steps and embracing failure, soon becomes a habit. The first time you give up, it’s painful. The second time it’s still painful but now it feels a little familiar, and there is some comfort in familiarity: it is the silent sleepy comfort of carbon monoxide. And the more you give up, the easier and easier it gets, and the sleepier and sleepier you become to the wakefulness of genuine accomplishment … and success recedes ever further from your grasp. Can you guess why? That’s right: it’s the slight edge—working against you. Before you know it, life has become heavy.
    All you need to do is turn over the coin to find the good news here: it is just as easy to step back into the habit of succeeding as it is to slip into the habit of failing. The longer you live, the easier it can get. You can step back onto the path of mastery anytime you want.

    The knowledge of what one wants. That is a powerful thing, and worth looking at for a moment. We all have visions of the way we’d like things to be that are different from the way they are. Have you ever wanted something so badly that it hurt? Of course you have. Everyone has. Sometimes it’s a sweet sort of ache, sometimes not so sweet, but either way it is a powerful force. I call it the ache of wanting.

    The word “want” has two meanings. It can mean you desire something; it can also mean you lack something. In a way, those aren’t really two meanings; they’re two sides of the same meaning. We tend to desire what we lack, and lack what we desire. Which is why dreams can be painful. Letting yourself become aware of what it is that you desire but do not presently have means experiencing the lack side of the wanting coin as well as the desire side. It means becoming more fully aware of what you don’t have. It means staring at your present reality with a sober eye and refusing to kid yourself. Noticing that you’re not where you want to be can be uncomfortable. When Hill says “a burning desire to possess it,” he’s not kidding. And burning is not a comfortable thing.

    When you are formulating goals and creating a vision for your future, it’s important to be careful whom you share them with. It’s natural to share your enthusiasm with the people in your life, especially those you are closest to — and it’s also useful to remember that people often tend to respond by raining on your parade. When they do, it’s not out of malice or the conscious desire to blunt your excitement. More often it’s simply a form of self-defense. They’d rather not hear about the vision you have, because it reminds them of the one they’ve lost. Visions and visionaries make people uncomfortable.

  44. Most people, when confronted by problems larger than or of a different sort than they’re already handling, immediately feel defeated or thrown off course. Most tend to see larger or different problems as negatives, and infect their own lives with negativity. What they don’t realize is this philosophy: The size of the problem determines the size of the person.

    You can gauge the limitations of a person’s life by the size of the problems that get him or her down. You can measure the impact a person’s life has by the size of the problems he or she solves. If you can solve big problems, you can graduate to big pay — because the size of your income will be determined by the size of the problems you solve, too.

    What most people call a “problem” is simply a gap, an open space between point A and point B. And if you keep an open mind, it’s an open space you can bridge. Here is the reason I’ve spent this time describing and explaining this gap: That gap can work against you or it can work for you. The gap between A and B cannot last forever. It has to resolve, and it will, one way or the other. It’s a law of nature, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. But you do have a choice in how it resolves.

    People who live with huge, vivid, clearly articulated dreams are pulled along toward those dreams with such force, they become practically unstoppable.

    When the journey seems daunting, easy not to do can be a lot more appealing than easy to do. But remember, you have to go one direction or the other; you can’t stand still.

  45. The universe is curved, and everything is constantly changing. There are only two possibilities. Either you let go of where you are and get to where you could be, or you hang onto where you are and give up where you could be. You are either going for your dreams or giving up your dreams. Stretching for what you could be, or settling for what you are. There is simply no in-between. Remember, this is the slight edge — and doing nothing means going down. It’s your choice.

    The people living on top, those who take responsibility, live a life that is in some ways uncomfortable. Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do, and that often means living outside the limits of one’s comfort zone. When you’re one out of twenty, you’re always
    going to be going in the opposite direction from the other nineteen.

    This means changing your thinking about the comfort zone. It’s a change in philosophy. It means embracing living uncomfortably in order to attain a life that is genuinely comfortable — not deceptively comfortable.

    “All truth passes through three stages,” the great German philosophy Arthur Schopenhauer reportedly observed. “First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” Gandhi put it this way: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they
    fight you, then you win.”

    Do what the majority won’t dare to do. Risk being the one, not one of the nineteen. Will people criticize you? Of course. But have you ever seen a statue erected for a critic?

    Facing truths about one’s own death can also bring one face to face with some important truths about one’s life. Who has long funeral processions? At whose funerals do thousands cry? For whom do the millions mourn? For those who will do what others are not willing to do. For the people for whom we erect statues. For Martin Luther King, for Gandhi, for Mother Teresa, for Lincoln. Gigantic funerals are held and great crowds, even entire nations, mourn for those who spend their lives not worrying about what others thought.

  46. ...I went to work on me. I read and applied what I learned. I went to work and I did my best. I applied long-term vision and delayed gratification. I knew that in order to be successful, I had to do what others were not willing do to themselves. If I became a success, it would be because of me. If I became a failure, it would be because of me. I couldn’t blame anyone, I wouldn’t and I didn’t. Was it easy? Not at all. Was it worth it? In a very big way. Since that time I’ve taught the slight edge philosophy to audiences in over twenty countries. I created a slight edge chart for myself, the same chart my daughter used to keep her on track to earning a black belt in the martial arts, the same one she used to develop the habit of reading fifteen pages of a personal growth book a day, the same one she used to develop powerful critical thinking skills.
    — Art Jonak, Houston Texas

  47. Essential Points from Chapter 11

    - Mastery begins the moment you step onto the path. Failure begins the moment you step off the path.

    - Wanting is uncomfortable, yet wanting is essential to winning.

    - There are two ways to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be:
    1) you can let go of where you are and be drawn to your goal, or
    2) you can let go of your goal, hit the snooze button, and stay where you are.

    - Chances are good that when you step out onto the path of mastery, you will step out alone.

  48. 12. Invest in Yourself

    “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.” — Abraham Lincoln (attrib.)

    The greatest gift you could ever give yourself is also the wisest business investment you could ever make. What is this mysterious gift? It is your own personal development. Investing in your own improvement, your own personal growth and betterment, is all these things and more.

    Time may not heal all wounds, but it does bring about all change, sooner or later. In terms of living and mastering the slight edge, the most important force you can harness to accelerate and amplify your path through life is the power of continuous learning.

    Once you’ve grasped the philosophy of the slight edge and set foot on the path of mastery, educating yourself through any and all means available is the critical process that will keep you on that path and make the slight edge work for you.

    In assessing the state of literacy in today’s media-crazy world, Mr. Twain might have said: the problem is not that people read too little, but that they fill their brains with stuff that ain’t doing them no good.

    Are you developing yourself? Are you building your dream, or only your boss’s? If you read ten pages a day, then you’ll go through an entire 300-page book in one month. Invest in yourself. Sharpen your axe. Read just one chapter of an information-rich, inspiring book every day. Listen to fifteen minutes of a life-transforming audio. Take a course or seminar every few weeks or months. Are these things easy to do? Sure. And those simple disciplines compounded over time, will send you up to the top.

    Plenty of people invest a good amount of time and effort accumulating knowledge, but still end up living their lives on the failure curve. Why? Because mastering the slight edge and moving onto the success curve is not only a question of the quantity of your learning but also the quality of that learning — and especially whether it includes any doing.

  49. There are two kinds of learning: learning by study — which includes reading, listening to audios, and attending classes and seminars — and learning by doing.
    As passionate as I am about improving yourself by studying with great teachers, through great books, audios, and workshops, I also know that all the study in the world won’t build your business, establish your health, create a rich and fulfilling family life, and make you a happier person. That takes your getting up and out of your chair and doing it.
    Book smarts is not enough: all true success is built from a foundation of study plus street smarts. If you want to stay grounded and move ahead at the same time, you need a balance. Life is not a spectator sport; as a matter of fact, it’s a contact sport, and there are no practice sessions, and you’ve been in the game from day one. Life lives in the right-here, right-now.

    Do the thing, and you shall have the power. The only way to have the power is to do the thing. Just do it. Learn by doing.

    “Be here, actively immersed in the process, one year from now.” You can’t build your dream by what you’re going to do or planning to do or intending to do. You only build your dream by building it. You have to jump off the lily pad. Life is doing. If you aren’t doing, you’re dying.

    “Knowledge without practice is useless, and practice without knowledge is dangerous.” - Confucius

    You can’t excel based purely on knowledge learned through study; and you can’t excel purely through knowledge gleaned through action. The two have to work together. You study, and then you do activity. The activity changes your frame of reference, and now you are in a place where you can learn more. Then you learn more, and it gives you more insight into what you experienced in your activity, so now you reapproach activity with more insight. And back and forth it goes. That back-and-forth rhythm is worth noting, because it isn’t just the rhythm of learning. It is the rhythm of success.

    Those who understand the slight edge embrace Thomas Watson’s philosophy about failure:
    ...Double your rate of failure...You’re thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure — or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember that’s where you’ll find success. On the other side of failure.

    Your gyroscope is your vision of where you’re going — in other words, your dream. Your processor is the slight edge: a consistent series of tiny, seemingly insignificant actions, easy to do and easy not to do, and in this case, doing them leads you directly to the moon instead of shooting off into the vacuum of outer space. You return again and again to take the proper course — guided by what? By the picture in mind of the place you are headed for.

  50. Your own thoughts are one of the most powerful examples of the slight edge there is. Your thoughts multiply themselves by the power of compounding interest and, like a mental water hyacinth, over time (often a lot less time than you might expect) they come to cover the pond of your mind. This is true of positive thoughts. And just as true of negative thoughts.

    As we saw earlier, it’s not even a matter of “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” Forget wishing — it’s a matter of what you think, period. Because what you think, multiplied by action plus time, will create what you get. You, through the power of your own thoughts, are the most influential person in your life. Which means there is nobody more effective at undermining your success — and nobody more effective at supporting your success.

    The purpose of investing in yourself is not to accumulate skills or fluency in specific areas of knowledge. The principal aim in self investment is to train how you think and what you think.

    Your conscious brain is the part that does what we think of as “thinking.” It focuses intensely on one thing at a time, something like a flashlight beam scanning a darkened room. The conscious brain is incredibly powerful at what it does, but its scope is very limited.

    If your conscious brain is like a flashlight, illuminating one object at a time, your subconscious brain is like a superfloodlight, illuminating everything at once — but only on a subconscious level.

    Your conscious brain is easily distracted. The average person loses conscious focus six to ten times per minute. How often does the subconscious lose focus? Try never.

    The truth is, the subconscious runs virtually everything.

    The sobering fact is, you do 99.99 percent of everything you do on automatic pilot. The sobering fact is, we all do 99.99 percent of our lives on automatic pilot.

    What determines where you end up? It’s all a question of what route you have programmed into your subconscious. And that’s something that you can let others program for you (your school, parents, teachers, friends, TV, etc.) — or you can choose to program it yourself.
    It’s up to you.

    So, how do you program that life route? How do you determine the choices and decisions that your subconscious makes for you in carving out your life path? The same way you learned to tie your shoes: you create it first with intention, with your conscious mind, and then repeat it over and over, in slight-edge fashion, until it is handed off to your subconscious — at which point those three magic words kick in: It becomes automatic.

  51. Essential Points from Chapter 12
    - The wisest investment you can make is to invest in your own continuous learning and
    - Learning by studying and learning by doing—book smarts and street smarts—are the two
    essential pistons of the engine of learning.
    - On the path to a goal you will be off-course most of the time. Which means the only way to reach a goal is through constant and continuous course correction.
    - it’s essential that you take charge of your automatic pilot’s training.

  52. 13. Learn from Mentors

    “You must hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anyone else says to you, don’t let ’em get your goat. Try fightin’ with your head for a change.” — Atticus Finch, in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

    There is a third type of learning; it is knowledge through modeling.

    All the great learning traditions say the same thing: if you want to learn how to do something well, go find someone who has already mastered that skill, and apprentice yourself.

    Learning pure information is not enough, and while adding the street smarts you gain from applying that information through personal experience can take you far, even that is not enough to go all the way toward the successful achievement of your goals. You need some way to process all that information and experience and integrate it. And there is only one reliable, solid way to do that: find someone else who has already achieved mastery in the area you’re looking at, and model your behavior based on their experience.

    Personal development is not something you can pursue as an armchair expert, not something you can master from the sidelines. It has to be a contact sport — one where you are in contact with others who can help you on your journey. What we’re talking about here is the power of a mentor.

    It’s amazing the impact one person can have on your life, just from the influence of how they see you, and what they see in you that you may not even see in yourself.

    The quickest and surest path to raising the quality of your life is to start hanging out with people who have been there and done that. If you want to be a great public speaker, spend time with great speakers. If you want to be a success in business, then find a way to spend time in the company of successful businesspeople. If it’s important to you to be a terrific parent, the best thing you can do to further that aim is to spend lots of time with men and women who have mastered parenting.

  53. Who are your heroes? Who are you modeling yourself after?

    Too often we make heroes out of people who can’t really help us, whose lives are fantasies, not genuine role models. Take a look at who your heroes are — write down a list and examine it. Ask yourself, “Can I become like them? Are these people doing the kinds of things that I aspire to do and living the kinds of lives that I aspire to live? Can they really help me become who I want to become?”

    Whatever goals you aspire to, seek out people who have achieved the same or very similar goals or who are well along that path, and go camp on their doorsteps or do whatever you can to associate with them, emulate them, and let their grasp, understanding, and mastery of the subject rub off on you.

    The same is true for personal development and any change we want to see in our life. It has to consist of information and a supportive environment.

    The Law of Association
    Perhaps you’ve heard it said that your income tends to equal the average of the incomes of your five best friends. It’s true, and the same principle applies not only to your finances but to every aspect of your life. 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.

    You are the combined average of the five people you associate with most—including the way you walk, talk, act, think, and dress. Your income, your accomplishments, even your values and philosophy will reflect them.

    Become acutely aware of who you are modeling. This has everything to do with your philosophy and your attitudes, which have more to do with your actions and what you’re creating in your life than any other factor.

    You know why birds of a feather flock together? Because they’re all heading in the same direction. Look at the people with whom you flock, the company you keep: what destination are they headed for? And is that where you want to be headed?

    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?
    Are they pulling you up or dragging you down?
    This is a pass or fail test; there is no maybe about it. Remember, there is no standing still. Everything curves. We’re all going in one of two directions, either up or down. Your association with each person you know is either empowering you, or it’s not — taking you up the success curve or down the failure curve.

  54. If your relationship with someone has a theme of blame and feeds on the past, it’s disempowering. If it has a theme of responsibility, self-reflection, and change and feels like something moving into the future, it’s empowering.

    Longevity experts are now telling us that keeping a positive outlook is just as critical a factor to health and long life as diet and exercise! You can’t afford to have people around you who are consistently acting as a drag on your positive outlook.

    That may not sound like the most compassionate philosophy in the world, but let me tell you, there’s nothing compassionate about letting yourself get sucked into a vortex of negativity. The best thing I can do to serve the world around me is to keep myself in a state where I can best contribute — and I can’t do that if I’m being dragged down by an environment of cynicism and self-pitying complaint. I want to spend my time with people who have an infectiously positive attitude, who bring
    energy and vitality to the table, and who brighten the room.

    There may be some people with whom you’re now spending two days a week where you might decide you need to take that down to two hours. There may also be people with whom you’re spending only two minutes, where you’ll realize you need to spend far more time with them — two hours or two days. And you will find times when what you really need to do is simply disassociate yourself from someone. That’s a part of the Law of Association, too.

    Casual relationships deserve casual time — not quality time. There are people with whom you can spend two minutes, but not two hours. There are people with whom you can spend two hours, but not two days.

    Having compassion and having direction are not mutually exclusive; they just take careful thought and discernment. You’re not judging those people; you’re simply asking yourself to be honest about whether or not those relationships are empowering you and helping to support your purpose and realize your dreams.

  55. “No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible, intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind,” - Napoleon Hill. A group of like-minded, achievement-oriented individuals, he explained, could come together to create an association far greater than the sum of its parts, thus dramatically leveraging each other’s success.

    Applying Hill’s principle is simple: surround yourself with people of like mind and different talents and temperaments with the purpose of serving the goals of every member of the group. Associate with these people on a regular basis.

    Apply the Law of Association. Create your own mastermind, a group of those who have chosen to live among the 5 percent, and let them support you, let them be the lift beneath the wings of your dreams.

    Leadership is not something you do; it is something that grows organically out of the natural rhythm of learning. When you start at the beginning of anything, you’re at the highest level of anxiety. As you learn — through study and doing, information and experience, book smarts and street smarts — you gradually lower your level of anxiety by raising your level of mastery. As you continue climbing that ladder of knowledge, you keep your eyes on worthy mentors, always using learning through modeling as your learning gyroscope to keep you on track.

    Using those three dimensions of learning — study, do, model — with slight edge persistence, in time your level of mastery rises to the point where you turn around and realize others are modeling you. You have yourself become worthy of emulating, of serving as a guide and hero to others. You have grown into leadership — and now you’re the mentor.

    Reading ten pages a day of a good book has completely changed my thinking. My self-esteem is up, I carry myself so much better, and I’m not afraid to talk to groups of people. Now people ask me for advice and to mentor their kids.
    My ten-year-old son Camden reads The Slight Edge — five pages a day. There is a noticeable difference between him and the other kids in his class. What a blessing to be able to teach your children the proper philosophies so they don’t make the same mistakes their parents might have made. We have a nice-sized library of personal development books and I’m looking forward to seeing it grow. The Slight Edge book started it all. It literally saved my life.
    If you follow the slight edge philosophy, you can change anything in your life. Your past does not equal your future. Read The Slight Edge over and over, apply it to your life and to your business, and watch the transformation! — Howard Smith, Macon, Missouri

  56. Essential Points from Chapter 13
    If you want to learn how to do something well, find someone who has mastered that skill and apprentice yourself.
    Choose your heroes carefully: are they genuine role models you want to emulate?
    Choose your associates: everything about your life will closely reflect the lives of your five closest friends.
    Sometimes you need to let go and disassociate.
    Form and use a mastermind: two minds are better than one, and five are even better.

  57. 14. Use Your Slight Edge Allies

    “Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” — Chinese proverb

    You have powerful allies at your disposal, four slight edge forces that, once you recognize them in your life, you can harness in your pursuit of your dreams, like four wild horses all harnessed to a single chariot. They are momentum, completion, reflection, and celebration.

  58. Use the Power of Momentum
    We’ve come to expect fast results, to demand them — but fast, faster, fastest is a strategy that will eventually take you down the slight edge curve to the unhappy life.

    Going too fast, or growing too fast, often puts the system’s (or the person’s) survival at risk. Faster can easily turn out to be slower.

    Part of learning the slight edge is finding your own “intrinsically optimal rate of growth,” and it is always served best by a step-by-step approach of constant, never-ending improvement, which lays solid foundations and builds upon them over and over. The slight edge is your optimal rate of growth.
    Simple disciplines compounded over time. That’s how the tortoise won; that’s how you get to be a winner, too.

    The key word in the Aesop moral is not “slow.” The key word here is steady. Steady wins the race. That’s the truth of it. Because steady is what taps into the power of the slight edge.

    The fable of the tortoise and the hare is really about the remarkable power of momentum. Newton’s second law of thermodynamics: a body at rest tends to stay at rest—and a body in motion tends to remain in motion. That’s why your activity is so important. Once you’re in motion, it’s easy to
    keep on keeping on. Once you stop, it’s hard to change from stop to go.

    I’ve found that it’s far more effective to take one business-building action every day for a week, than to take seven, or ten, or even two dozen all at once and then take the rest of the week off. People who do the first, week in and week out, build a successful business; people who do the second, don’t
    —even if they actually take a greater number of those business-building actions than the first group.

    It can take a good amount of energy and initiative to get yourself started in a new activity — but it takes far, far less to keep yourself doing it once you’ve started.

    The slight edge is a flow, and it moves at its own pace, automatically homing in on optimal growth rates. Part of understanding the slight edge is learning to go with the flow.

    Mary Kay Ash put it simply: “Give yourself something to work toward — constantly.”

  59. Use the Power of Completion
    Another way you gather momentum and harness it to your advantage is by regularly practicing an activity called completion.

    Each and every incomplete thing in your life or work exerts a draining force on you, sucking the energy of accomplishment and success out of you as surely as a vampire stealing your blood. Every incomplete promise, commitment, or agreement saps your strength because it blocks your momentum
    and chokes off your ability to move forward, progress, or improve. Incomplete things keep calling you back to the past to take care of them.

    Here’s the unfortunate and powerfully destructive truth of being incomplete: it keeps the past alive. Remember, people who live on the success curve are pulled by the future, while those who dwell on the failure curve are pulled by the past. And a surefire way to be forced to live as a prisoner of your past is not to complete things.

    Take on those incompletions in your life just as you took on learning to walk. Baby steps, one at a time, letting the force of the slight edge work for you to help you complete whatever needs completing.

    Take on any one of your “incomplete” projects, one at a time. And if even that one project seems like too huge a mountain to climb, rummage around its foothills until you find an initial step you can take. The biggest meal is still eaten one bite at a time.

    Give fifteen minutes to completing something every day.

  60. Use the Power of Reflection
    Being productive and being busy are not necessarily the same thing. Doing things won’t create your success; doing the right things will. And if you’re doing the wrong things, doing more of them won’t increase your odds of success. It will only make you fail faster.

    Whose dream did you build today — yours or somebody else’s?

    In twelve-step programs this is called “taking a searching and fearless personal inventory.” I honestly encourage you to get a little searching and get fearless with yourself. Keep your progress, or the lack of it, right in your face.

    Here’s a powerful exercise: Instead of writing down what you’re going to do write down at the end of the day what you did do that day. What actions did you take today that made you successful? Did you read ten pages of a good book? Did you eat healthy food and get some good exercise? Did you engage in positive associations? Did you do the things you need to do to be successful in your business? Did you tell somebody, “I appreciate you”?

    At the end of a week, look back over your lists and take inventory. Not only will it tell you a lot about the truth of your everyday life, chances are good that the mere act of recording this daily reflection will have already started changing what you do.

    Whatever method you choose to use, find some way to make reflection an everyday thing, day in and day out, without fail.

  61. Use the Power of Celebration
    There is another critical reason the power of reflection is so important. It’s not just to be a nag and remind you when you’re slacking off. It’s also to point out to you all the positive steps you’re taking.

    It’s the slight edge power of reflection and acknowledgement — celebration.

    Keep your slight edge activities, your right choices and incremental successes, right out in the open where you can see them and celebrate them. Remember that all the activity required to apply the slight edge for your success is a series of baby steps. Trust the process. Acknowledge those steps, no
    matter how small or insignificant they may seem at the time.

  62. Essential Points from Chapter 14
    On the path of mastery you have four powerful allies:
    The power of momentum: steady wins the race.
    The power of completion: clear out your undones and incompletes.
    The power of reflection: facing the man or woman in the mirror.
    The power of celebration: catch yourself doing something right.

  63. 15. Cultivate Slight Edge Habits

    “Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny.” — Charles Reade (attrib.)

    we tend to overlook the enormous power of positive, intentional habits. It’s not that good habits don’t exist, or that we don’t have them. We do. It’s just that we typically take them for granted.

    Habit and Choice:

    There are two kinds of habits: those that serve you, and those that don’t. A habit is something you do without thinking.

    Every habit; the good and the bad, has its roots in choice — in little decisions you make and over which you have complete control. Complete control, that is, at first. Until they become automatic and take on a life of their own — a life that will determine the direction of your life. So the question is: which behaviors do you want to have take on a life of their own?

    The creation of habits is a pure slight edge: simple little actions, repeated over time. The compounded effect of those habits over time will work either for you or against you, depending on whether they are habits that serve you, or habits that don’t. Your habits are what will propel you up the success curve or down the failure curve.

    “The individual who wants to reach the top in business must appreciate the might of the force of habit — and must understand that practices are what create habits. He must be quick to break those habits that can break him — and hasten to adopt those practices that will become the habits that can help him achieve the success he desires.” - J. Paul Getty,

    The key to your success, to mastering the slight edge through the long-term effect of your everyday habits of thought and action, is your philosophy.

    Each choice is like a length of steel wire. By itself, it’s not that big a deal — but when braided together, when compounded with all the other choices you make, these slender lengths of wire form tree-trunk-like tension lines of awesome strength.

    “Nothing is stronger than habit.” - Ovid

    The cables made from your right choices uphold and support you. Those made from wrong choices imprison and restrain you. These cables are your habits of thought and attitude. Want to know where the slight edge is taking you? Look at your predominant habits of thought and the kinds of choices you habitually make.

    Your habits operate at the unconscious level, which means you are not normally aware of them. It’s only by bringing a habit into your conscious awareness that you can observe what it’s doing, how it empowers and serves you … or doesn’t. By developing slight edge thinking — and especially by using the slight edge ally of reflection — you’ll shine the bright light of awareness on your habits. Once you’re aware of a habit that doesn’t serve you, how do you change it or get rid of it? All it takes is knowing where to focus your energy. That, plus time.

    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. You do it the same way you built any habit you have: one step at a time. Baby steps. The slight edge.

  64. Here are seven positive, productive habits of attitude and behavior:

    Habit #1: Show Up

    Be the frog who not only decides to jump off the lily pad but actually jumps.

    Skill, knowledge, experience, connections, resources, finesse, expertise, all these things are part of the journey — but none of them are possible until the journey itself is initiated. Do the thing, and you shall have the power

    If you’ll just commit to showing up, that’s half the battle right there. By simply showing up you can rise above half of the population in any circumstance.

    Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don ’t give up. - Anne Lamott, author of Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers,

  65. Habit #2: Be Consistent

    According to Woody Allen, 80 percent of success is showing up. That’s a philosophy I subscribe to wholeheartedly — but I would add two words: 80 percent of success is showing up every day.

    As essential as it is to show up, it is consistency that greatly multiplies its power. Showing up consistently is where the magic happens.

    In baseball, my theory is to strive for consistency, not to worry about the numbers. If you dwell on statistics you get shortsighted; if you aim for consistency, the numbers will be there at the end. - Tom Seaver

    If you will commit to showing up consistently, every day, no matter what, then you have already won well more than half the battle. The rest is up to skill, knowledge, drive, and execution.

  66. Habit #3: Have a Positive Outlook

    Approaching the events of everyday life with a consistently positive outlook moves you toward your goals.

    People who consistently practice seeing opportunities instead of problems, who focus on the best in a situation rather than the worst, who notice other people’s better qualities and look past their weaker ones, who see the glass as at least half-full in every circumstance, are happier, more creative, earn more money, have more friendships, have better immune response, have less heart disease and strokes, have better and longer-lasting marriages, live longer, and are more successful in their careers.

    In fact, people who have made a habit of positive outlook don’t just see the glass as half-full: they see it as overflowing. And because they see it that way — because that’s their attitude — it consistently ends up being that way for them.

    Of all the factors possibly influencing health, vitality, and longevity, Dan Buettner, (author of Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest,) and his team compiled a list of nine. These people:
    (1) live an active life,
    (2) cultivate purpose and a reason to wake up every morning,
    (3) take time to de-stress (appreciation, prayer, etc.),
    (4) stop eating when they are 80 percent full,
    (5) eat a diet emphasizing vegetables, especially beans,
    (6) have moderate alcohol intake (especially dark red wine),
    (7) play an active role in a faith-based community,
    (8) place a strong emphasis on family, and
    (9) are part of like-minded social circles with similar habits.

    Cultivating positive outlook does not mean you are always happy.

    When something is hard or difficult and adversity is at your front door, embrace it, because it will make you stronger and your life richer. You can’t know happiness unless you feel sadness. If you embrace it as part of the process, it can be life-altering. Life is going to get you down and the funk is going to get you. Embrace it and fight through it and know you are not alone. Take baby steps, remember all the slight edge allies you have, and know that there is a path out of the funk.

  67. Habit #4: Be Committed for the Long Haul

    Showing up is essential.
    Showing up consistently is powerful.
    Showing up consistently with a positive outlook is even more powerful.
    But doing all that for a week … is just doing it for a week.

    Farmers know they have to wait a full season to reap their harvests. In our post-industrial world, where so much of everyday life is accessible through the click of a mouse, it’s easier than ever to forget that. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t still true.

    Plant, cultivate, harvest. And that second comma, the one between cultivate and harvest, often represents a loooong period of time.

    It takes a long time to grow an old friend. - John Leonard

    No matter what you are trying to accomplish, you need to ask yourself, am I willing to put in 10,000 hours or more to get what I want?

  68. Habit #5: Cultivate a Burning Desire Backed by Faith

    Here is the truth about burning desire: it is a powerful force, and it works in two directions depending on what you see. Most people wish for big things but can’t really see themselves getting them. The few who achieve great things are those who not only passionately wanted to achieve them but also clearly see themselves achieving them. That’s the key to harnessing the power of desire: it is like a team of wild horses that need a driver to steer them in the right direction, and that driver is your vision.

    A burning desire backed by faith simply means deeply, passionately wanting to get somewhere and knowing — not hoping, not wishing, but knowing that you’re going to get there. In other words, there has to be congruence between your desire and your faith.

    In the course of your journey all sorts of obstacles will appear in the path. And you can determine the size of the person by the size of the problem that keeps them down. Successful people look at a problem and see opportunity. A burning desire is what motivates you to confront them, rather than turn tail and run. But it’s a burning desire backed by faith that takes you through them.

  69. Habit #6: Be Willing to Pay the Price

    Actually, it’s not that dramatic. Your dreams may be big (in fact I hope they’re huge), but the steps you take to get there are always going to be small. Baby steps; easy to do. And the price you pay works the same way. You don’t have to pay for your million-dollar dream with a million-dollar personal check. You can pay for it with … well, a penny a day

    But you do need to understand what that penny is — and you do need to be willing to pay it. Whatever the dream, whatever the goal, there’s a price you’ll need to pay, and yes, that does mean giving up something.

    Remember this: whatever price you pay, there’s a bigger price to pay for not doing it than the price for doing it. The price of neglect is much worse than the price of the discipline. In fact, no matter what price you pay for success, the price for failure is brutal by comparison. It may take five years and 10,000 hours to put your success on track, but it takes a lifetime to fail.

  70. Habit #7: Practice Slight Edge Integrity

    There are many definitions of integrity. Honesty. Truthfulness. Congruence between words and deeds. The aspect of integrity that is most applicable to the slight edge is this: what you do when no one is watching.

    Slight edge integrity is one of the great secrets of entrepreneurial success. When you own your own business, there is no one telling you that you need to be at work or shouting in your ear to make sales calls. No one is there to make sure you are on top of your vendors and your books are up to date. This is all up to you now. You have no boss.

    Actually, that last statement isn’t quite accurate. You do have a boss, but that boss is you. Serving as your own boss, and doing so successfully, consistently, day in and day out, takes an uncommon degree of slight edge integrity, and frankly many business owners just don’t have it. They become intoxicated by the freedom of being their own boss and fail to maintain the kind of structure it takes to become successful. Without that integrity in the little everyday things, a new business can’t keep its head above water for long.

    The truth is, living a life is being an entrepreneur. No matter whether you are one of ten thousand employees working at a gigantic corporation, a sole proprietor running your one-man ice cream stand, or a stay-at-home parent managing the household, you are solely in charge of the steadily unfolding course of your life.

    Your life is an Apollo rocket headed for parts yet unknown, and there is no one at the helm but you. You are a novelist, and the story you are inventing, with its rich plot and imaginative palette of distinct and believable characters, is your life. You are the screenwriter, director, and producer of an epic film, one that will run for years. Like Edison, you are an inventor; like Fritjof Nansen, an explorer; like Emerson, a philosopher; like Steve Martin, an entertainer; like Lincoln, a statesman; like Wilberforce, a patient liberator. You are all these things and more—and the fabric of the tapestry upon which you’re assembling this story is made up of tiny threads that few will ever notice as you weave them. You may think I’m exaggerating. I’m not. You are capable of great things. I know this, because I’ve observed the human condition, and every soul alive is capable of great things. Most will never achieve them or experience them. But anyone can, if they only understand how the process works.

    Show up.
    Show up consistently.
    Show up consistently with a positive outlook
    Be prepared for and committed to the long haul.
    Cultivate a burning desire backed by faith.
    Be willing to pay the price. And do the things you’ve committed to doing — even when no one else is watching.

  71. Essential Points from Chapter 15
    There are two kinds of habits: those that serve you, and those that don’t.
    You have choice over your habits through your choice of everyday actions.
    The way to erase a bad habit is to replace it with a positive habit.
    Here are seven powerful, positive slight edge habits:
    1. Show up: be the frog who jumps off the lily pad.
    2. Show up consistently: keep showing up when others fade out.
    3. Cultivate a positive outlook: see the glass as overflowing.
    4. Be committed for the long haul: remember the 10,000-hour rule.
    5. Cultivate a burning desire backed by faith: not hoping or wishing—knowing.
    6. Be willing to pay the price: sometimes you have to quit the softball team.
    7. Practice slight edge integrity: do the things you’ve committed to doing, even when no one else is watching.

  72. 16. Three Steps to Your Dreams

    “First comes the thought; then organization of that thought into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.” — Napoleon Hill, The Law of Success

    I like to keep things as simple as possible, because simple is usually far more effective. Even more importantly, simple is what works best with the slight edge. Remember easy to do, and you won’t stray far from having your hands on the slight edge.

    For a goal to come true: You must make it specific, give it a deadline, and write it down. You must look at it every day. You must have a plan to start with.

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  74. Step One: Write It Down

    The most critical skill for achieving success in any area whatsoever, from sports to high finance, radiant health to fulfilling relationships, is the skill of envisioning.

    Envisioning something simply means having the ability to create a vivid picture of something that hasn’t factually happened yet, and to make that picture so vivid that it feels real.

    If your dreams and aspirations are happening in your mind only, that easily winds up being no more than wishful thinking.

    “Do or do not — there is no try”

    Envisioning means quite literally making something up out of thin air — and making it real. By definition, you can’t do that within the confines of your brain. It needs to become physical; it needs to involve your senses. In other words, you need to write it down. Making pictures of it, which people sometimes call a dream board, is even better. Speaking it out loud to another person is the most powerful of all. But at the very least, write it down. The moment you do, it has started to become real.

    Pick a dream that you’d truly, deeply love to have come true. Write it down, describing it in just a few words. Good. Now, let’s have you add two descriptors that will make your dream more concrete: what and when.

    First, go back to each dream and add whatever wording you need to make it absolutely specific. For example, if you had a dream to “be financially free,” what does that mean specifically? How much money do you need in the bank or investments, or coming in as annual income, to achieve what you call financial freedom? If there are any other conditions that need to be met (such as “being completely debt-free”), add those in, too.

    Now, the second descriptor: when. It’s been said that goals are “dreams with deadlines.” Let’s reshape your dreams into tangible, practical goals by giving them timelines. Go back through each dream and answer the question, “By when?”

    Write your dreams down; make them vivid and specific; give them a concrete timeline for realization; and you’ve taken a giant step toward making them real.

  75. Step Two: Look at It Every Day

    The single most compelling reason for writing down your dreams is so you can look at them and read them every day. The reason you need to look at them every day is the same reason you need to keep yourself in the company of positive people: you need to counteract the force of gravity. Or to put a different name to it, the force of mediocrity.

    If you don’t keep yourself constantly, repeatedly focused on your destination, you’ll be like a rocket ship without its gyroscope: you’ll simply coast off into the outer space of failure, never coming even remotely close to reaching the moon. Or back to earth again.

    Autosuggestion: the power of regularly, consistently telling and retelling yourself what your goals are.

    What we can do — and need to do — is surround ourselves with our own yeses. Surround yourself with messages that tell you that your dreams are real, your dreams are real, your dreams are real. Not only are they possible: they are inevitable. That’s the message your subconscious needs to be soaked in constantly. Having your dreams concretely spelled out, on paper, in the most vivid and specific terms possible, and with a very tangible, concrete timeline, provides you with an “environment of Yes!” for your goals, dreams, and aspirations. And when that nineteen-to-one force of gravity starts leaking in from our subconscious and whispering, “Yeah, but are they really?” we need to respond instantly and without hesitation, Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

    Here is the amazing thing — and I’ve seen this happen so many times, yet it never ceases to fill me with awe: when you clearly, tangibly set your goals, life has a way of rearranging itself, setting in motion a series of events that you could never have predicted or planned, to get you there. If you just sit there and try to figure it out, it doesn’t happen. But when you surround yourself with the vivid expression of your tangible goals, your subconscious brain goes to work on it — and if you have the right philosophy, the philosophy of the slight edge, then you will come up with the right actions and keep repeating those actions … and a series of events will kick in, including circumstances you could never have dreamed of, that will take you there.

  76. Step Three: Start with a Plan

    You have to start with a plan, but the plan you start with will not be the plan that gets you there.

    The point is that you need a plan to start with, the same way you need a penny to start with before anything can double. The way you took your first baby step. The way you furrowed your brows, pursed your lips, and struggled to sound out the first sentence you read.

    The power of a plan is not that it will get you there. The power of a plan is that it will get you started.

    People make the mistake of thinking they need the perfect plan. There is no perfect plan. By definition, there can’t be, because a plan is not getting there — it’s only your jumping-of point. And that’s exactly the reason you need a plan: if you have no jumping-off point, there won’t be any jumping off happening.

    In fact, if you put too much energy into the plan and fuss around trying to make it perfect, you’re likely to squelch all the life, spontaneity, intuition, and joy out of the doing of it. Do the thing, and you shall have the power. Don’t try to figure it all out. If you want twice the success, double your rate of failure. You start with a plan, then go through the process of continuous learning through both study and doing, adjusting all the time like a rocket ship on the way to the moon, off track 97 percent of the time, your gyroscope feeding information to your dream computer to bring you back on track, and continuing on the path of mastery toward your passionately dreamed-for objective. Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.

    Keep holding that as your philosophy, and you will generate the attitudes and actions you need to keep progressively realizing a better and better plan. You need a first plan so you can get to your second plan, so you can get to your third plan, so you can get to your fourth plan. Your starting plan is not the plan that will ultimately get you there — but you need it so you have a place to start.

    It’s like learning to play music: there are only twelve notes, after all. But to learn it, you need to hear it, and play it, over and over. It’s as vivid an illustration of slight edge success as I’ve ever seen.

  77. Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always inef ectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a great respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”
    - W. H. Murray; The Second Himalayan Expedition

    Don’t try to figure out the whole race. Just figure out where to put your foot for the starting line. Just start. Take a bold step onto the path of mastery. The result looks incredibly complex, but it’s not. It never is. It’s always the simple little things that take you there.

    Everything you do, every decision you make, is either building your dream or building someone else’s dream. Every single thing you do is either leading you away from the masses — or leading you away with the masses. Every single thing you do is a slight edge decision.

  78. Essential Points from Chapter 16
    * There are three simple, essential steps to achieving a goal: Write it down: give it a what (clear description) and a when (timeline).
    * Look at it every day: keep it in your face; soak your subconscious in it.
    * Start with a plan: make the plan simple. The point of the plan is not that it will get you there, but that it will get you started.

  79. 17. Living the Slight Edge “Gentlemen, this is a football.” — Vince Lombardi

    The modern business world has an expression for this mindset: “Assume nothing.” The Zen Buddhists call it “beginner’s mind.” It’s a mindset of humility and fresh inquiry, always looking for the most meaning and importance in the smallest things.

    No matter how great your aspirations, how tall the dream and great the leap it means, the eternally repeating truth of the slight edge is that it is always built of small, simple steps. Easy to do — and just as easy not to do.

    Don’t go too fast, and don’t be too proud to stop, look at your life, and tell yourself, “This is a football.”

    Let’s revisit the seven specific areas. Make a simple roadmap for each one, consisting of three elements:
    1) your dreams for that area, expressed as goals — specific, vivid, and with a timeline;
    2) a simple plan to start
    3) one simple daily discipline that you will commit to doing each and every day from now on.

  80. 1. The Slight Edge and Your Health

    There is nothing more basic to your life than your health, and there is no area of life where the slight edge is more vividly in operation, working either for you or against you.

    Taking control of your health is just a few daily actions away.

    Take a few moments to work out your own slight edge plan for your health.

    My dreams for my health (specific, vivid and with a timeline): ____

    Plan to start: ____

    One simple daily discipline: ____

  81. 2. The Slight Edge and Your Happiness

    If health comes first, happiness is right on its heels, because once you start practicing simple daily disciplines that increase your levels of happiness you’ll find it feeds every other aspect of self improvement you’re trying to implement.

    Remember: success does not lead to happiness — Greater happiness is what leads to greater success. The most significant factors in your happiness are your actions. What you do every day.

    Your happiness is affected by
    1) your outlook, that is, how you choose to view the events and circumstances of your everyday life;
    2) specific actions with positive impact — things like writing down three things your grateful for, sending appreciative emails, doing random acts of kindness, practicing forgiveness, meditating, and exercising; and
    3) where you put your time and energy, and especially investing more time into important relationships and personally meaningful pursuits.

    The most important thing to know about increasing your happiness is that it is something you can consciously, intentionally do — but it doesn’t happen automatically or just by saying, “I resolve to be happier.” Happiness is like health. There are concrete steps you need to take to make it happen.

    My dreams for my happiness (specific, vivid and with a timeline): ____

    Plan to start: ____

    One simple daily discipline: ____

  82. 3. The Slight Edge and Your Relationships

    Here is the ironic truth of human existence: no matter how great our accomplishments, it is ultimately other people who give them meaning. All the success in the world means little if there is no one to share it with.

    Your relationships, like your health, are built up or torn down in the subtlest ways. It is the little things, day by day, that add up over time to unshakable contentment or unsalvageable misery. It is the little things that count.

    The future of every relationship you have, like that of your health, is a choice that is always in your hands, and it’s no bigger than a penny. The key is to make the choice — and keep making it.

    My dreams for my relationships (specific, vivid and with a timeline): ____

    Plan to start: ____

    One simple daily discipline: ____

  83. 4. The Slight Edge and Your Personal Development

    I’d rather be worth a million than have a million. If I’m penniless but I have a million-dollar mindset, then it won’t be long before I have the million dollars, too. But if I don’t have a million-dollar mindset, then even with a cool million in the bank it won’t be long before I’m back to being penniless again.

    Your income will never long exceed your own level of personal development.

    You will become as small as your controlling desire, or as great as your dominant aspiration. - James Allen, As a Man Thinketh

    You already know my number one slight edge recommendation here: read at least ten pages of a powerful, life-transforming book each and every day.

    Audiobooks are a great way to do this. Listening to audios is an especially powerful slight edge tool because it can turn your “down time” into up time and double your productivity. Listen while you drive to the store, to work, to school. Listen while you jog, walk, or exercise, while you sit on planes or stand in line. Feed your mind with life-transforming information and insight.

    My dreams for my personal development (specific, vivid and with a timeline): ____

    Plan to start: ____

    One simple daily discipline: ____

  84. 5. The Slight Edge and Your Finances

    The world of finance is one of the easiest places to see, objectively and logically, the power of the slight edge in action.

    Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing. - Vince Lombardi

    Treat your personal finances like the precious resource it is. Emulate the masters of slight edge economics described in The Millionaire Next Door.

    Be like my mom: live below your means. Set up a modest savings plan and stick to it.

    My dreams for my finances (specific, vivid and with a timeline): ____

    Plan to start: ____

    One simple daily discipline: ____

  85. 6. The Slight Edge and Your Career

    “Lieben und arbeiten.” Love and work. - Sigmund Freud

    Work is one of the most defining, overarching aspects of our lives. It molds and establishes nearly everything about our everyday existence; it is something we do practically every day and will do practically every day for most of our lives.

    When someone asks you, “What do you do?” what they are really asking is, “What is your work? What is your career?”

    Yet here is the sad irony of work in the world of the 95 percent: most people don’t love their work. A pretty good number, in fact, hate it. Not the 5 percent. The 5 percent have learned one of the great secrets of long and happy life: loving your work.

    Before you go to work tomorrow, ask yourself this question: “Why am I doing this?” There could be all sorts of reasons, but they generally come down to one of these two:
    a) Because I have to.
    b) Because I want to.

    Now, if you’re going to be honest, your answer probably needs to involve some of the first. Just make sure it also includes a healthy dose of the second. And here is the good news: your newfound understanding of how the slight works, your new philosophy, can transform your career just as surely as it will transform your health, your happiness, and your relationships.

    My dreams for my career (specific, vivid and with a timeline): ____

    Plan to start: ____

    One simple daily discipline: ____

  86. 7. The Slight Edge and Your Positive Impact on the World

    What kind of impact can you imagine yourself having on the world that will last long after your own life has run its course?

    What will people remember you for after you have come and gone?

    Remember, it’s your life; what would you like it to mean?

    My dreams for my life (specific, vivid and with a timeline): ____

    Plan to start: ____

    One simple daily discipline: ____

  87. Everything You Do is Important

    Toss a rock into a pond, and you’ll see ripples from its impact spreading out until they reach the opposite shore. The same thing happens in life. In most cases you never see those ripples.

    You teach someone to read ten pages of a good book a day, and you may see how it changes her, but chances are you won’t see how it changes her kids, and her kids’ friends, and their friends. And as these ripples spread out, they grow bigger and run deeper. For better or for worse, with positive impact or negative impact, even your smallest actions create a ripple effect that has an incalculably great impact on the world around you.

    No matter how high-minded or long-term your life dreams may seem: It starts with a penny. Start finding your pennies.

  88. Essential Points from Chapter 17

    Write out your goals and dreams, a simple starting plan, and a single daily discipline:
    * For your health
    * For your happiness
    * For your relationships
    * For your personal development
    * For your finances
    * For your career
    * For your impact on the world

  89. 18. Where to Go From Here “Keep your eyes on the prize.” — Alice Wine, civil rights activist

    Sharpen yourself and pursue your path through those simple, small, easy disciplines, and compounded over time, they will take you to the top.

    * Do one simple, daily discipline in each of these seven key areas of your life — your health, your happiness, your relationships, your personal development, your finances, your career, and your impact — that forwards your success in each of those areas; and

    * Make a habit of doing some sort of daily review of these slight edge activities, either through keeping a journal, a list, working with a slight edge buddy, a coach, or some other regular, consistent means; and

    * Spend high-quality time with men and women who have achieved goals and dreams similar to yours; in other words, model successful mentors, teachers, and allies, and do it daily, weekly and monthly…

    Then you will find yourself on the success curve, and you will turn your dreams into realities.

  90. Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do; they put the slight edge to work for them, rather than against them, every day.

    Successful people don’t look for shortcuts, nor do they hope for the “big break.” They step onto the path of mastery and, once having set foot there, they stay on that path for the rest of their lives.

    Successful people never blame circumstances or other people; instead, they take full responsibility for their lives.

    Successful people know how to use the natural tension to close the gap from point A, where they are, to point B, where they want to be.

    Successful people practice the daily disciplines that are assured to take them to their final destination. They show up consistently with a good attitude over a long period of time, with a burning desire backed by faith. They are willing to pay the price and practice slight edge integrity.

    Successful people focus on having a positive outlook. They take baby steps out of the funk and step back into positivity.

    Successful people use inertia to build momentum, making their upward journey of success easier and easier. They understand the powers of reflection, completion, and celebration and they harness them constantly, using their radar for unfinished business to propel them forward rather than being sucked backward and downward.

    Successful people acquire the three kinds of knowledge they need to succeed. They create an ongoing support system of both book smarts and street smarts, learning through study and through doing, and they catalyze and accelerate that knowledge by finding mentors and modeling their successful behavior.

    Successful people are always asking: “Who am I spending time with? Are they the people who best represent where I want to be headed?” They form powerful relationships with positive people; they carefully build mastermind groups, work with those groups regularly, and take them seriously; and they do not hesitate to disassociate themselves, when necessary, from people who are consistently negative and threaten to drag them down.

    Successful people read at least ten pages of a powerful, life-transforming book or listen to at least fifteen minutes of educational and inspirational audio information every day.

    Successful people go to work on their philosophy first, because they know it is the source of their attitudes, actions, results, and the quality of their lives.

    * They understand that they can increase their success by doubling their rate of failure.
    * They understand activity and because they do the thing, they have the power.
    * They understand the power of simple things.
    * They understand the power of daily disciplines.
    * They understand the power of the water hyacinth, and know how to use it.
    * They know how to keep paddling when others give up and sink.
    * They know when they are being offered the choice of wisdom.

    Successful people understand the slight edge, and they put it to work for them.


    * The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor
    * Before Happiness, Shawn Achor
    * As a Man Thinketh, James Allen
    * Multiple Streams of Income, Robert G. Allen
    * The Automatic Millionaire, David Bach
    * Start Over, Finish Rich, David Bach
    * The Go-Giver, Bob Burg and John David Mann
    * Go-Givers Sell More, Bob Burg and John David Mann
    * It’s Not About You, Bob Burg and John David Mann
    * The Aladdin Factor, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen
    * How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie
    * Acres of Diamonds, Russell H. Conwell
    * The Richest Man in Babylon, George S. Clason
    * The 7 Habits of Highly Ef ective People, Stephen R. Covey
    * The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg
    * Positivity, Barbara Fredrickson
    * Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell
    * The Dip, Seth Godin
    * Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill
    * Delivering Happiness, Tony Hsieh
    * Conversations with Millionaires, Mike Litman, Jason Oman, et al.
    * The How of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky
    * The Myths of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky
    * The Greatest Salesman in the World, Og Mandino
    * Failing Forward, John C. Maxwell
    * The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale
    * Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink
    * Cultivating an Unshakable Character, Jim Rohn
    * Seven Strategies for Wealth and Happiness, Jim Rohn
    * The Art of Exceptional Living, Jim Rohn
    * The Challenge to Succeed, Jim Rohn
    * The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle, Jim Rohn
    * The Seasons of Life, Jim Rohn
    * The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin
    * The Magic of Thinking Big, David Schwartz
    * Authentic Happiness, Martin Seligman
    * Flourish, Martin Seligman
    * Little Things Matter, Todd Smith
    * The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko
    * SUCCESS for Teens: Real Teens Talk about Using the Slight Edge, The Success Foundation
    * 21 Success Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires, Brian Tracy
    * The Thank You Economy, Gary Vaynerchuk
    * The Science of Getting Rich, Wallace D. Wattles