The Slight Edge: Secret to a Successful Lifeby Jeff Olson
The difference between successful and unsuccessful people is one thing: the slight edge. According to Jeff Olson, developing the slight edge is simply a matter of keeping it simple and practising easy, mundane habits that will bring you closer to achieving your goals.
We have compiled all the advice from The Slight Edge: Secret to a Successful Life into a series of actions you can try for yourself. If you’re wanting to reach a certain goal, or are just looking to improve yourself, this is the book for you!
The Beach Bum and the Millionaire
“The truth is, you have complete control over the direction that the rest of your life takes.”
When we experience failure, most of us will do whatever it takes to keep our head above water in order to survive. However, once we reach a place of survival, we tend to fall back into our old habits often leading us back to failure and once again, the cycle repeats
However, if we continue to practice the habits that got us from a place of failure to one of survival, we would naturally move from a place of survival to one even better - a place of success.
These habits that will bring you from failure to success are typically simple everyday ones. For example, saving a certain amount of money every month can help you achieve financial stability. Reading ten pages of an inspiring educational book every day will stimulate your mind positively. Compounded over time, these habits will yield big results.
Actions to take
The First Ingredient
“No matter how much information there is, and no matter how good that information is, if the person consuming it doesn’t have the right catalyst, then success will still elude their grasp.”
Finding the right catalyst - the catalyst that will allow and motivate you to apply the information you have to achieve your goals - is the only way to achieve success. Simply following all the right steps will not get you what you want; what works out for you may not work out for someone else.
You will need to adopt a positive life philosophy, which will act as your catalyst and will motivate you to work towards your goals. Your life philosophy shapes how you think about simple everyday things. This means that you will have to fundamentally change the way you think so you can process and apply information in a manner more conducive to your goals.
An example of a positive life philosophy can be taken from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essay on Compensation: “Do the thing, and you shall have the power.” This life philosophy can be applied to nearly every area of life. For example, if you adopted this particular life philosophy and you wanted a raise at work, you would work harder and expect to be paid more - and if you do work harder, chances are, you will get that raise!
Another example of a positive life philosophy is from Thomas J. Watson, the founder of IBM: “The formula for success is quite simple. Double your rate of failure.” Following this specific life philosophy will push you to keep looking for new opportunities and means of success, and to try again every time you fail.
Actions to take
The Choice & Master the Mundane
“It’s always too late to wait.”
Success doesn’t occur overnight. In fact, success is the result of millions of little actions, or “slight edge habits”, done every day over a long period of time. For example, let’s say you started investing $250 a month after you graduated college. After 18 years, you could stop investing and just let the account accumulate - by the time you are sixty-six years old, you would have amassed a little over $1 million dollars, just from that $250 a month investment!
Only about 5% of people are actually achieving a significant measure of their goals in life, whether financial, professional, or personal. Most people attribute this success to luck, genes, opportunity, fate, karma etc, but it is typically due to the slight edge. The 5% all use the slight edge method to their advantage by practising mundane, slight edge habits - even if they don’t call it that.
When you don’t adopt slight edge habits you run the risk of making several simple errors in judgement. Over a period of time, these can lead you to failure.
Remember, the earlier you adopt slight edge habits, the sooner you will achieve success! After all, you have to start someday - why not today?
Actions to take
The Secret of Happiness
“Here’s the equation: slight edge + happy habits = success.”
Happiness is not something you pursue, it’s something you do. In fact, happiness is generated by simple, easy things we do every day, while unhappiness is created by not doing those things. It has a lot less to do with genetics, luck or circumstance than we think it does.
Practising a positive perspective can help you form happy habits which will lead you to happiness. Essentially, this means to have a positive outlook on life - look for the good in everything, count your blessings, do kind things for others, etc.
Happier people have been found to have better physical, mental and social health as a result of their positive outlook. This means that success would not bring you happiness, but happiness can bring you success.
Actions to take
The Ripple Effect
“When you create positive improvements in your life, you create positive ripples that spread out all around you, like a pebble of positivity dropped in a pond.”
The ripple effect refers to how positive actions create positive ripples that can have enormous impacts - even on other people! As you practice slight edge habits and become a better version of yourself, your relationships with those around you will also become better and have a positive impact on everyone around you.