Monday, February 7, 2022




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

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?

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.

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.

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.

Essential Points from Chapter Four

* 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.

Slight Edge | Chapter 3

Slight Edge | Chapter 5

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