The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines Into Massive Success [Excerpt]

A dear colleague of mine, by the name of Axel Anaya, emailed me the following excerpt upon one of his many travels.  I thought it was an inspiring short read on invisible results, so I decided to share it with you.  Enjoy..

 

An excerpt from The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines Into Massive Success [Source]

If I could have had a magic wand that day in the Phoenix airport as I sat thinking and having my shoes shined, one of the first things I would have done would have been to wave it at the little pile of paperbacks. I would have waved the wand and Presto! Now there would be a little reading table piled with Napoleon Hill, James Allen, Stephen Covey and George S. Clason. Because the simple truth is, how you feed your mind is every bit as critical to your happiness as how you feed your body. Seeing how naturally open-minded and intellectually curious the shoeshine woman was, I have no doubt she would have dove into any one of these books with gusto. But then we would have run into a problem. Everything you need to know to be successful—every how-to, every practical action—is already written in books like these. 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? Of course not. I could tell my shoeshine friend that if she would agree to read ten pages of one of these good books every single day, over time, she could not help but accumulate all the knowledge she’d ever need to be as successful as she ever wanted to be—successful enough to send her daughter to that cheerleading camp and hey, to send her to the best college in the country if she wanted. Like a penny over time, reading ten pages a day would compound, just like that, and create a ten-million-dollar bank of knowledge in her. Would she do it? On day 1, sure. And day 2. And maybe day 3. But would she still be doing it by the end of the week? If she did keep reading, over the course of the year she would have read 3,650 pages—the equivalent of one or two dozen books of life-transforming material! Would her life have changed? Absolutely. No question. But here, back in week 1, all that’s still an invisible result. And that is exactly why most people never learn to recognize or understand the Slight Edge, the reason most people never learn how to make the Slight Edge work for them, and why the Slight Edge ends up working against them: When you make the right choice, you won’t see the results. At least, not today.

We live in a result-focused world. We expect to see results, and we expect to see them now. Push the button, the light flicks on. Step on the scale, look in the mirror, check the account balance online 24/7. Give me feedback, trip a sensor, hit a buzzer, tell me, tell me, tell me it’s working! But that’s not how success is built. 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 also 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. When you get to the point where everyone else can see your results, tell you what good choices you’ve made, notice your good fortune, slap you on the back and tell you how lucky you are, the critical Slight Edge choices you made are ancient history. And chances are, at the time you actually made those choices, nobody noticed but you. And even you wouldn’t have noticed—unless you understood the Slight Edge.  Invisible results..

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