It was ten or so years ago that I first read “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson. I remember agreeing with it’s premise, then doing almost nothing with it. I wasn’t ready to put in the work at that time.
I re-read it a couple of years ago. This time I was ready.
The book presents a simple idea: small changes, over time, produce big results.
Jeff starts the book with an analogy. If you start with a penny, then double it every day for 30 days… you’ll end up with five million three hundred sixty eight thousand seven hundred nine dollars – and 12 cents.
In a month.
That’s the power of compounding, and it works with self development just as well as it works with money – although the later isn’t always as easy to quantify.
The problem with the above example is that, applying it to self development, it assumes that we can double our abilities every day. Sorry… that’s impossible.
But how about, instead of 100% improvement – we shoot for 1%. And instead of 30 days, let’s give ourselves a year. So we are decreasing our goal massively, and at the same time massively increasing the amount of time we are giving ourselves to achieve it.
A daily 1% increase over 365 days means that your penny’s worth of abilities would now be worth a whopping 37 cents.
Pffft… that ain’t even close to over 5 million dollars! Why even bother?
But wait… remember, this is an analogy for self improvement.
Where would you be if you were 37 time better in a year? 37 times the spouse, parent, salesperson, speaker, writer… that you are now?
OK… maybe you are like me and you are really really slow and not very good at this. You probably aren’t, but let’s just say you are. Let’s give ourselves about 2 years with only a 1/10th of a percent increase?
You’ll be twice as good. Only two years, which will pass whether you do this or not (or you’ll be dead, in which case this won’t matter to you), and a teeny tiny almost nonexistent improvement like cleaning just one extra dish in the sink, writing just a few more words of that damn novel, giving your spouse and/or children one extra hug. You’ll be twice the person you are today.
If not, that’s fine. No judgement from me. Live your life the way you want to live it. (See that? 1/10th of 1% more accepting of others! Yay me!)
But if you are, maybe this website can show you how to do it. Or at least point you in a direction that interests you.
Jim Rohn said – I’m paraphrasing here – “The things that will improve your life are both easy to do, and easy not to do.”
1/10th of 1 percent extra??? That’s easy.
Not doing that tiny bit extra? That’s easy too.
Let’s choose the first easy, and slight edge this.