Book Summary: The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

My Personal Summary

Simple daily decisions made consistently over time is the only way to achieve anything meaningful. Things that are easy to do are equally easy not to do.

Your daily decisions won’t affect where you are tomorrow or next week, but they will determine where you’ll be a few years from now. 

Book Notes

  • “The truth is, what you do matters. What you do today matters. What you do every day matters. Successful people just do the things that seem to make no difference in the act of doing them and they do them over and over and over until the compound effect kicks in.”
  • The choices you make today won’t affect where you are in life in the short-term, but they determine where you end up in life in the long-term.
  • “There are two kinds of habits: those that serve you, and those that don’t.”
  • Most people don’t fully understand that consistent, daily action creates a compound effect in the long-term that generates massive success.
  • “The journey starts with a single step—not with thinking about taking a step.”
  • All growth follows a nonlinear pattern over time. Your daily habits determine if your growth will follow a nonlinear path to success or decay.
  • Most people don’t give themselves enough time to succeed. Achieving great things takes years and decades, not days and weeks.
  • “Any time you see what looks like a breakthrough, it is always the end result of a long series of little things, done consistently over time.”
  • “Instead of writing down what you’re going to do (chances are you’ve been doing that your whole adult life anyway, and it doesn’t make you any better at doing them), write down at the end of the day what you did do that day.”
  • “People on the success curve live a life of responsibility. They take full responsibility for who they are, where they are, and everything that happens to them.”
  • Most people quit too soon because they don’t see success in the first 3-6 months of a new endeavor. The truth is, to achieve anything worthwhile you have to hammer away at it consistently for years, not months.
  • “‘Some day’ doesn’t exist, never has, and never will. There is no ‘some day.’ There’s only today. When tomorrow comes, it will be another today; so will the next day. They all will. There is never anything but today.”
  • “Showing up is essential. Showing up consistently is powerful. Showing up consistently with a positive outlook is even more powerful.”
  • One of the best ways to make progress over time is to focus on the input, not the output. Show up and do your work for the day. Then show up again tomorrow and do the same. Don’t worry if nobody is praising your work or giving you trophies or recognition. Just do the work. The results will come.
  • “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.”
  • “Things like taking a few dollars out of a paycheck, putting it into savings, and leaving it there. Or doing a few minutes of exercise every day—and not skipping it. Or reading ten pages of an inspiring, educational, life-changing book every day. Or taking a moment to tell someone how much you appreciate them, and doing that consistently, every day, for months and years. Little things that seem insignificant in the doing, yet when compounded over time yield very big results. You could call these “little virtues” or “success habits.” I call them simple daily disciplines. Simple productive actions, repeated consistently over time. That, in a nutshell, is the slight edge.”

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