The Slight Edge: Secret to a Successful Life - by Jeff Olson

There are two prevalent types of attitudes: entitled and value-driven. A value-driven attitude says, "What can I do to help you?" An entitled attitude says, "What have you done for me lately?" An entitled attitude says, "Pay me more, and then maybe I'll work harder. " A value-driven attitude says, "I'll work harder, and then I expect you'll pay me more. " Which of these attitudes is driven by Emerson's philosophy, "Do the thing and you'll have the power"? Your philosophy is what you know, how you hold what you know, and how it affects what you do. You can look at anyone's actions and trace back, through the attitudes behind those actions, to their source: the philosophy behind the attitudes. Show me what a man does, and I'll show you what his philosophy is.

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.

Here's the problem: every action that is easy to do, is also easy not to do. That's the choice you face every day, every hour: A simple, positive action, repeated over time. A simple error in judgment, repeated over time. By the time you get the feedback, the real work's already done. The right choices and wrong choices you make at the moment will have little or no noticeable impact on how your day goes for you. Nor tomorrow, nor the next day. No applause, no cheers, no screams, no life-or-death results played out in Technicolor. But it is precisely those very same, undramatic, seemingly insignificant actions that, when compounded over time, will dramatically affect how your life turns out.

The Slight Edge is all about living in the moment. Greatness is always in the moment of the decision.

The 7 Slight Edge Principles

  1. Show up.

  2. Be Consistent.

  3. Have a Good Attitude.

  4. Be Committed for a Long Period of Time.

  5. Have Faith and a Burning Desire.

  6. Be Willing to Pay the Price.

  7. Practice Slight Edge Integrity: what you do when no one is watching. Doing the thing you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you.

The predominant state of mind displayed by those people on the failure curve is blame. The predominant state of mind displayed by those people on the success curve is responsibility.

There is no treading water in life, no running in place, because everything is in motion. If you're not improving, enriching, building, unfolding, if you're not adding assets to your personal and professional value every day--then you're headed down the curve.

You can gauge the limitations of a person's life by the size of the problems that get him or her down. You can measure the impact a person's life has by the size of the problems he or she solves.

Momentum: Your optimal rate of growth is always served best by a step-by-step approach of constant, never-ending improvement, which lays solid foundations and builds upon them over and over. Give yourself something to work toward constantly.

Completion: Every incomplete promise, commitment and agreement saps your strength, because it blocks your momentum, inhibits your ability to move forward, to progress and improve. Incomplete things keep calling you back to the past to take care of them.


Reflection: Being productive and being busy are not necessarily the same thing. Doing things won't create your success; doing the right things will. Were those actions productive? Did you take a step forward?

Celebration: Keep your Slight Edge activities, your right choices and incremental successes, right out in the open where you can see them and celebrate them. Acknowledge those steps, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem at the time.

Continuous Learning: Book smarts, street smarts. Learning by study, learning by doing. Read about it, apply it, see it in action, take that practical experience back to my reading, deepen my understanding, take that deeper understanding back to my activity ... it's a never-ending cycle, each aspect of learning feeding the other.

Course Correction: Once you know the Slight Edge, you know that in getting from point A to point B you'll be off track most of the time. And you know that it's the adjustments--those little, seemingly insignificant corrections in direction--that have the most power in your life.

Kaizen: Plan, Do, Review.

Learning Through Modeling: Whatever goals you aspire to, just seek out people who have achieved the same or very similar goals, or who are well along that path, and go camp on their doorsteps or do whatever you can to associate with them, emulate them, and let their grasp, understanding and mastery of the subject rub off on you.

The Law of Associations: Look at the people around you. Are they more successful than you are? Are they people who live the kinds of lives you aspire to live, or the kinds of lives you hope to leave behind? Are they pulling you up or dragging you down?

Your Mastermind: Surround yourself with people of like mind and different talents and temperaments with the purpose of serving the goals of every member of the group. Associate with these people on a regular basis.

Goal Setting

  • Write it down, make it specific and give it a deadline.

  • Have a plan to start with.

  • Understand and pay the price.

  • Look at it every day.