Focus on Daily Actions – Reach Your Long Term Goal.
Jeff Olson – The Slight Edge
This is the book that started it all for me.
I have tried to lose weight, stop wasting time on the internet and keep up with any activity I got into… but the habits I wanted to abandon always came back with a vengeance. Sounds familiar? It was for me. And I hated it.
Along came this book.
For the first time in decades, it got my life back on track.
I am not kidding: This book has changed my life.
Without it, there would be no Lifesciencementor.com.
What makes this book unique?
Traditionally, I would set a goal such as “go from 250 to 200 lbs body weight in 6 months”.
I would close my eyes, hold a strict diet and counted down the days until the 6 months were over.
And 6 months are a long time. I often lost discipline (“just one cheat day, won’t matter in the long run”).
Even if I would succeed, I stopped my strict diet and gained it all back.
I was fixated on “weight loss” as an EVENT, a one-time occurrence – not a whole PROCESS.
The Slight Edge changed these thought patterns.
I was now seeing my big goals as byproducts of my efforts.
Every day, every step itself was ONE goal for me.
Surprisingly – I lost weight and body fat almost effortlessly. I stopped watching porn (ahem) as if it was nothing. I drastically reduced the time spent on YouTube.
And so much more.
If I had been smoking, I am sure I would have been able to stop it.
Key concepts of the book
“Someday” never comes.
“Someday” I am going to be rich. “Someday” I will have my business. “Someday” I will be free.
Don’t fall for the “quantum leap”. The big event is the result of your effort. Walk the walk every day.
And before you even realize, “someday” is here.
Daily steps are easy to do, and easy to forget.
Consistently sticking to simple steps is difficult – they are easy to do and as easy to forget. Sounds familiar? It sure was for me.
However, if you see these steps through the lens of time, they matter. Every single day.
Every decision you make brings you either closer to your goal or further away.
Don’t go “all in” at once. Instead, find your own pace of learning. Challenge yourself above what you could do the day before. Over time, you generate momentum towards your goals.
It’s like a millstone. You have to exert force to move it, but if you do too much at once, you will only slip. Instead, gently apply more and more pressure. Eventually, the stone will move and pick up speed along the way.
Don’t wait for the perfect plan
Even the Apollo rocket, a masterwork of technological perfection, was on its projected course only 2% of the time. They had to manually control it nearly all the way.
Don’t wait forever until you have the “perfect plan”. Start now with a simple step and keep at it for the next couple of days. Write a paragraph each day. Do 15 min of calisthenics. Read 10 pages per day. Then evaluate where you are. Correct if necessary. Work more. Reevaluate. And so forth.
Instead of planning out your dream, you are already working on it.
Show up – whether you feel like it or not.
Be consistent and committed to the long haul.
Cultivate a burning desire backed by faith and/or the belief in yourself.
The price of neglect will always be bigger than the price of discipline.
Practise integrity – do what you set out to do even if no one is watching.
You don’t pursue happiness, you CREATE it.
Every day, small steps.
Write down three things you are grateful for.
Note the positive experience of the day.
Do one random act of kindness.
Exercise 15 minutes a day. Do either or all of these five things for 21 days in a row, and you have installed Happy Habits as part of your life.
What is the most counterintuitive or controversial idea?
This book advocates daily steps that can seem small, such as workout for 15 minutes (only), reading 10 pages of a book, save a dollar a day etc.
Of course, the bigger your goal, the more effort you have to put in.
The point is to put in and focus on consistent effort.
What action steps did I take after I read this book?
#1 – I abandoned bad habits. Losing weight. Surfing the internet. Always waiting for the “last-minute” to finish a project. I could never get rid of those routines. Until I read this book.
#2 – I installed “happy habits” – every day, I am writing down three things I am grateful for. Ever since I started practising this, I have been much more positive and relaxed. How bad can the day be if I already found something to be thankful for?
#3 – I have started reading 10+ pages and writing 750+ words each day. Since february 2014, every day I have a sense of accomplishment. No matter how “bad” the day was, I got something done.
The “Slight Edge” has been a true life changer for me.
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