The Slight Edge was a book given to me on the very first day of my career. It was a gift from my first boss which is why I appreciate it as much as I do.
The core message is simple but meaningful and readers must know how to reflect upon it for themselves, otherwise The Slight Edge is in danger of becoming just another book on the shelf.
THE SLIGHT EDGE PHILOSOPHY
According to Jeff Olson, the edge is the “door” that determines whether or not you will be successful. The secret in being successful in life, says The Slight Edge, is the “Simple productive actions, repeated consistently over time that ultimately leads to success”.
The problem is that not many people continuously choose to take these actions, which are easy to do, as they are also activities that are easy to skip. This is the main reason that leads to the difference in 5% of successful people compared to 95% of failure.
IF THEY ARE SIMPLE, WHY DO PEOPLE FAILTO IMPLEMENT THEM?
It is simply because these small actions do not have an immediate effect on your life when you decide not to do them.
We are living in the world of “on-demand” service of a 4.0 technology revolution, in which with just a click you can get whatever you want. We do not have to wait to get what we want. We tend to be less patient, we want to get to the result without making progress or efforts. This 4.0 lifestyle makes it easier to give up or stop doing something if it is not convenient for us to do.
As Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity states, “the observed gravitational effect between masses results from their warping of spacetime.” If your daily choices are productive, it will help you move upward, so that your lifeline will be on the upper half (only 5% of people achieve this). Unless your line is downward and your position is at the lower part (95% fall into this category).
WHAT MAKES OTHERS SUCCESSFUL IN LIFE?
Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.
This is my favorite motivational quote by Jerzy Gregorek which clearly defines the philosophy of “The Slight Edge”. He subsequently won four World Weightlifting Championships. His journey towards his successful career was not easy, it took time and effort to overcome the “old” him from being a political refugee to the champion of World Weightlifting.
This quote is not only true to weightlifting athletes but also applicable in every aspect of life. The only way for the weightlifting athletes to lift up the heavier weight is to constantly choose to push a little bit more weight than the last time. The progress leads you to the edge of “what you can’t do”. Taking a step far away from the “what you can do” edge by working harder and harder than what you did yesterday will benefit you in the long-run. “By making it harder for yourself today, you make it easier for yourself in the future.” This simple principle reminds you of the “heavyweight” of small decisions that we choose to do every day.
“KEEP MOVING” SPIRIT
Do you recognize that the word “extraordinary” is the combination of extra and ordinary?
When ordinary people leave their comfort zone and continue practicing doing more and more (extra) simple things every day, at some point, they will become extraordinary. If we do not repeat the small actions such as daily workouts, we might stop ourselves and bounce back to the new comfort zone. When we feel like we have enough and no new challenges are taken, this results in procrastination.
Not many people know how to truly reflect. You read, learn, listen… What’s next?
If you do not spend time practicing and apply what you have read, learned and listened into actions, will this be your knowledge?
If you just keep doing… What’s next?
When you keep doing without looking back on what you have done, you don’t leave space to adjust and improve the process, you cannot increase your productivity.
You are working extremely hard just to live day by day… So what’s next?
Without talking with your inner self, it is hard for you to realize the reason why you are doing what you are doing. Do you truly live or just simply survive?
Daily reflection may help you explore your true self, empathise with yourself after every experience. Don’t stop moving forward by asking yourself: “what’s next?” Simply spend 1% of your 24 hours (15 minutes) to focus on reflection, you will be amazed.
TIE YOURSELF TO THE GOALS
After 10 years of working on my own business, startup and many projects, I have witnessed the change in young people. They are the next generation of leaders, but they do not have much of an environment to grow, to challenge their assumptions, to release their potential, to contribute to the development of our country. That is the reason why I want to give young people a chance to practice and to learn how amazing they are if they keep trying hard and consistently every day.
During this time, I had a chance to hold a lecture at some universities and worked with many mentees. I have realized that IQ is not a strong measurement of one’s ability. My best mentee does not get a high score in school or achieve a high IQ score, most of them have the normal or even “not very special” in the beginning. But what makes them different?
Most of my best mentees that I am extremely proud of, do not have a particularly special talent on the very first day. They are not confident in themselves. They do not know what they want, what their strengths are or what their weaknesses are. Whenever they are asked to give their opinion, they are shy and hesitate to give their ideas. The only thing inside them that makes me believe and become their mentor is their actions, not words. Day by day, they take actions to overcome their “not perfect” parts, they do not prevent themselves from exploring and learn more to make whatever difficulties become their strength.
Their resilience ability ties to their passion and patience to achieve the long-run goal. Resilience is to choose to look forward, day by day, not only in weeks or months but in years, many years. Resilient people see life as a marathon, they see what they are doing in the long run. To be resilient, they need to have the ability to deal with the problems and have the ability to stand up and start again after every failure.
This idea is generated by Carol Dweck – a researcher at Stanford University. People with a growth-mindset do not see themselves with a potential that can be explored and fostered. They are not afraid of failure, they keep their head high to move forward because they believe that their ability is just the starting point of their potential. That is the reason why life cannot knock them down easily. When life gives them lemons, they will sit down and make their own lemonade. They see whatever challenges that life gives as a gift to learn and to be a better version of themselves. Thus what we need to do is keep teaching our inner child to learn how to be more resilient every day.
It is important to keep in mind that your behavior comes from your attitude toward things. Every piece of advice will be meaningless with a fixed mindset, instead of a growth mindset. Because when you keep the fixed mindset, you will see that your ability cannot change and try to prove that you are right, instead of learning from mistakes.
Why do we need to hide our weaknesses instead of fixing them?
Why do we have to maintain the relationship that we think will raise our self-esteem instead of spending time with people who challenge yourself?
Why do we need to compare ourselves to others instead of developing their potential?
The passion for developing yourself when you are not enough is the key to the growth mindset. That is how successful people think and spend their life.