January 4, 2016
How the Outwork Book Club works
Posts for the Outwork Book Club will be continuous — I will post updates as I work through each book. Eventually, I will encourage readers to follow along with me and add any insight or pose questions about the central themes of the book. In the military, this is referred to as a living document, mostly because it doesn’t immediately die as soon as it becomes published like everything else. It is something that is continuously updated and changed over time to reflect the newest information.
The first book up for discussion is The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success & Happiness.
This book is part of my deep dive into the concept of Character Building.
Character Building is simply my take on Willpower or more importantly, how to strengthen it.
So far, The Slight Edge has been truly inspirational. It is one of those books where you read a passage and instantly recall events in your life that prove the words to be true.
For example, I am personally really good at collecting information. I can gather books, pour-over site after site, and even join forums and subscribe to newsletters about a topic that I find interesting. What I am bad at doing is following through on what I read and learn, essentially deeming all of that knowledge useless.
In this instance, reading is almost as valuable as doing nothing at all. Action is the key.
The Slight Edge is exactly about solving that problem. Diets work, business plans work, how-to books work, the problem is that no one ever does anything that is instructed. So the diet, plan, goal, etc. fails and there are usually numerous theories as to what happened. Statements like, “diets don’t work” are the usual fail-safe for those that lack the discipline to succeed.
The main question of the book is immediately answered.
What is the Slight Edge?
The Slight Edge is your philosophy. It is changing the way you think about simple everyday things. It is based around the idea of focusing on the actions — the what to do, instead of how to do. It is the first ingredient of long-term success.
Your philosophy creates your attitudes, your actions, your results which creates your life.
Essential Points from Chapter’s 1 & 2
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be” – Ralph Waldo Emerson (attrib.)
♦ You already know how to be successful. All you have to do is to keep doing the things that have worked thus far. This makes me think of the many times I have been successful in the past, only to eventually lose whatever I gained. I figured it was just the natural progression of things but I never realized it was because I simply stopped doing the thing that made me successful at the get-go.
♦ You have complete control over the direction of your life.
♦ Do the little things that seem insignificant. When compounded over time, those same little things will yield big results.
♦ Simple daily disciplines (or success habits) are simple productive actions repeated consistently over time. Those little acts of daily practices will strengthen your willpower. It will make you effective at doing things, especially hard things.
♦ Change the way you look at failure. Total failure is not an option but accept multiple failures along the way as options A, B, C, etc. Successful people fail their way to the top (think Michael Jordan, Abe Lincoln, and Thomas Edison).
January 10, 2016
Chapter’s 3 & 4: A Triumph of the Mundane
“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”
It is important to make the choice to be successful — it is a deliberate decision to commit to the slight edge philosophy. The reason is that the slight edge is relentless and it works both ways: success or failure.
♦ Simple daily disciplines or simple errors in judgment, repeated over time, make or break you. They always add up, regardless of the end result.
♦ It’s never too late to start, but it’s always too late to wait. You can start anywhere and still accomplish anything you want.
♦ Only 5 percent of all people achieve the success they hope for. They are master’s of the mundane, the simple daily disciplines that add up over time.
♦ The other 95 percent of the people that fail don’t do the simple things that add up to success for three simple reasons: (1) they are easy to do but they are also easy not to do; (2) you don’t see any results at first; (3) they seem insignificant, like they don’t matter or won’t have any effect.
♦ The simple things do matter. Things that create success in the long-term don’t look like they have any impact at all in the short run.
January 21, 2016
Chapter’s 5&6: Compounded Effort not Monumental Moments
♦ The power is in compounded effort: time is the force that magnifies those simple daily disciplines into massive success. Use time as a tool for success, not an enemy to avoided or plotted against.
♦ The difficult takes a little time. The impossible takes a little longer. It’s not impossible, most people just give up before the goal is realized. 95% of people fail and settle for mediocrity. 5% of people keep working, every day until they become the 5%.
♦ The 95 percenters often look at the successful people of the world and wish they had the same kind of “instant success” but they don’t see the small, mundane tasks they do every day. Don’t fall for the quantum leap mentality. Successful people with lots of money never win the lottery.
Chapter 7: Slight Edge + Happy Habits= Success
♦ Positive thinking (psychology) is the slight edge’s perfect partner.
♦ It would be counterproductive to practice daily discipline if this practice was not a positive experience. It would also be impossible to sustain. The practice of positive thinking is the science of happiness. Greater happiness is the key to making the slight edge work in your life. Happiness and success are fine complements.
♦ How to become happy? Apply the principles of the slight edge. Do simple easy things every day that promote happiness. Thank someone for their impact on your life. Write down three things that you are grateful for. Cold email a friend and thank them for something they did in the past that made an impact on your life. Meditate. Think deeply.
♦ Illness is associated with anger, hostility, aggression, loneliness, boredom, lethargy. Being happy is also conducive to being healthy.
January 24, 2016
Chapter 8-10: It Starts with a Choice
“Greatness is always in the moment of decision”
♦ Great success starts from somewhere. Great fortunes start with a penny that has built up over time.
♦ If you add 1% of anything — skill, money, knowledge, effort- per day, in a year it has more than tripled. But you have to start with that 1%, which is so small, so insignificant, that it is also easy not to start.
♦ Greatness is not a destiny or fate or luck. Greatness is always in the moment of the decision. Choose to start and choose to be great.
♦ Life is in constant motion. Everything is always in motion. Your life is either curving upward or curving downward. Remember, the slight edge works both ways.
♦ People on the success curve are pulled by the future. People on the failure curve are pulled by the past. They think, “if only things had been different,” or “when this happens, I will be happy.”
♦ No matter where you are, you can choose to reenter the success curve. Every day you have a choice. How you spend the next hour can be how you spend the next 40 years.
Chapter 11-14: Mastering the Slight Edge
♦ You have to want to become a master at the slight edge which is mastering yourself and your daily habits.
♦ Mastery begins the moment you step on to the path.
It starts with a choice and greatness is always in the moment of decision.
♦ Chances are good that when you step out onto the path of mastery, you will step out alone. Naysayers will try to pull you down because you are doing something different. Something that is uncomfortable and more than they are willing to do. Remember, successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people are not.
♦ Invest in yourself and the concept of continuous learning. Learn by studying and by doing.
♦ Program your subconscious to be an ally. Make it work for you. Do not let your subconscious be programmed by an external source like TV, standard education systems, etc.
♦ Train your mind. The principal aim of self-development is to train how you think and what you think.
♦ Choose your heroes. If you want to learn something well, find someone who has mastered that skill and apprentice yourself.
♦ Leadership is not something you do, it is something that grows organically out of the natural rhythm of learning. Through mastery, comes leadership.
♦ On the path of mastery you have four allies: (1) There is a power in momentum: steady wins the race, (2) there is a power in completion, getting stuff done empowers your resolve, (3) there is a power in reflection; constantly asking yourself, Did I continue my momentum on the success curve?, (4) there is a power in celebration; catch yourself doing something right and recognize yourself becoming more successful.
There is a lot of valuable information and actionable knowledge that can be derived from applying the slight edge principles and adopting its philosophies.
Greatness is always in the moment of decision.
You can apply the slight edge philosophy to anything in your life: finances, health, business, self-development, relationships, skill acquisition, and education.
You can become better at any and all aspects of your life.
You can choose to become great.
If you haven’t done so yet, purchase the book here. It comes highly recommended from those that are in the constant and neverending pursuit of greatness.