Tuesday, February 15, 2022





“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. 

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.

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

Don’t complain about what you allow. 

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?

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?

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.

Essential Points from Chapter Ten

* 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.

Slight Edge | Chapter 9

Slight Edge | Chapter 11

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