Even better, you can decide if you like your destiny and adjust your action to change your life’s direction and in the effect – its destination.
You can do it using The Slight Edge philosophy. Take a look at the chart and I’ll explain it.
The author of the book, Jeff Olson, states that your lifestyle is the product of your results which come from actions which eventuates from your attitude which are the effect of your personal philosophy. Only 5% of population achieves success, because only 5% is driven by their values on an everyday actions level.
They embrace the discipline and responsibility for their lives. The rest of us decide to rather do what’s comfortable now and don’t care about the future fallouts. That’s the way of the downward curve, which leads to failure.
Why this idea is revolutionizing and made this book a bestseller? Because success and failure boil down to the simple things you do every day. And they all are small, easy to do and easy not to do.
It’s the choice between a fruit and a chocolate bar. Is it easy to take a bite of an apple? Is it easy to peel away a wrapping and devour a chocolate? Both actions are basic. Both of them seemingly don’t matter. However, multiplied, compounded over time they give totally different results.
It’s not the grand action
The idea here is that no single grand action, but everyday actions determine your lifestyle.
Let’s imagine you won a main prize on a lottery. $4 million dollar. That’s grand. You of course quit your job. I would do the same, if I were you. You donate some money to charities; pay your debts and your parents debts. You buy a nice house, a couple of nice cars, a handful of expansive gadgets, but you are no fool, you stop right there. You have $2 million left. You put it on the savings account and you live happily ever after.
Well, there is a small problem with an ‘ever’. Ten years later your fortune drains out. You can’t afford your mansion and Ferrari anymore. You don’t have a job and have no useful skills, because the last 10 years you were focusing on enjoying your life.
How the heck did it happen? Simply, your compounded errors in judgments (read: unnecessary expanses) led you to this point. You didn’t need to buy a new luxury car every year to cause it. It was enough to spend about $550 a day, less than $4k a week or $16,500 a month to gone bankrupt. Frequent vacations, tickets, hotels, souvenirs, not to mention the costs of maintaining your mansion – it all summed up.
This is a fairytale of course. Usually it takes just a few years of small errors in judgment to spend the prize.
A single grand action or grand event means nothing if it’s not supported by a consistent discipline.
Your every action counts. Your every act adds to your wellbeing or works against it. The tragedy is, you don’t know for a long time in which direction it really works. Your errors or disciplines are so tiny, that their results are invisible. Eating a single hamburger won’t kill you. It won’t even make you a slightly ill. Eating a single apple won’t make you a specimen of health.
I don’t think the chart above really gives The Slight Edge philosophy justice. I think it should look like that:
For a long time the results of daily disciplines or daily errors in judgment are very hard to recognize. And the errors give you an immediate reward. The taste of a hamburger or chocolate bar is so much better than the taste of a raw carrot!
Get to know your future
However you can estimate on which curve you are, even if it’s just the beginning of your road. You can get the idea where you are going to, by examining your habits.
First of all, if you can’t recall specific habits connected with a specific area of your life it’s usually a bad sign. It’s highly likely that:
If you don’t think about God and afterlife – your spiritual life is in shambles.
If you don’t know what you eat, drink and have no exercise routine – you are fat.
If you don’t know where your money goes, from where your income comes – you are in debt.
If you don’t care about your education – you are a dropout (or soon will be).
If you don’t remember the last time you’ve said ‘I love you’ – your relationships are shallow.
There is a chance that you are a freak of nature
Maybe you have an incredible metabolism and you can eat huge amounts of anything and still be fit. You may ignore God, but He doesn’t ignore you and gives you a lot of graces so you are not spiritually dead. You spend money like crazy, but earn them even faster.
It’s quite possible to be unique, exceptional in one area, but you would have to be a Superman to be exceptional in all. So even if something is very easy for you, pay attention and draw the conclusion about the area where you are not so flawless.
You may have nice results in some area, but if they are not supported by consistent disciplines, you are still on a downward curve.
Then look for the errors repeated over time.
Bitching on God, not attending your congregation – indicate that your spirit is in shambles.
Eating junk food, drinking soda, smoking, alcohol or drug addictions – indicate that your body is in shambles.
Credit cards maxed out, buying on credit, being late on payments – indicate that your finances are in shambles.
Not a single education activity – indicate that your education is in shambles.
And so on. If you repeat an error on a regular basis, it’s a sure sign that you are on a downward curve. The appearances may not show that, you still don’t have a cancer, you still are able to pay your mortgage on time, but it’s just a question of time.
On the other hand, if you recognize some disciplines and abide to them consistently, it’s a sign that you are on the right way. You may even be starting very low, below the neutral line as a result of your poor past choices such as smoking for your health or gambling for your finances.
Nonetheless, supported by the right discipline, your upward move in the end will be fast and furious and will lead you far above average.
Evaluate your future. This process made me to conclude that my life is going nowhere. I started my transformation introducing 6 disciplines without much hope or belief that it will do much good. It brought a massive value into my life in the effect.
Design your future
Your future is predictable. It is also changeable. It’s never too late to reverse the downward move. Abandon your errors in judgment, develop some consistent disciplines and you change the ultimate direction.
Where to start? As the Slight Edge chart suggests – start from your personal philosophy.
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