How much do I want to read more? 7/10
The slightest effort every day will compound over time, and become huge after a few years.
Success strategies are no longer a secret, but most people ignore them. You think you already know the secret to success? So does everyone else. But the six strategies within this book, when applied in sequence, will launch your income, your life—your success—like nothing before.
I’ve seen it all. Nothing works like the power of the Compound Effect of simple actions done right over time.
SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM ANTHONY ROBBINS
During the past three decades, I’ve had the privilege of helping more than 4 million people create breakthroughs in their lives. I’ve worked with an immensely diverse group of people—from presidents of countries to prisoners, Olympic athletes, and Oscar-winning entertainers, from billionaire entrepreneurs to those just struggling to start their own business. Whether working with a couple fighting to keep their family together or a person in prison searching for a way to change their life from the inside out, my focus has always been on helping people achieve real and sustainable results. You can’t do that through a magic pill or secret formula, but only through understanding the real tools, strategies, and science behind what it takes to break through the patterns that defeat so many and achieve a meaningful life.
Darren and I both made the decision to take control of our lives at an early age. We searched for answers by seeking out people who were living the kind of life we wanted to live. Then we applied what we learned.
It’s not really all that surprising that we both cite Jim Rohn as a mentor. Jim was a master at helping people understand the truths, the laws, and the practices that lead to real, lasting success. Jim taught us that achievement is not about luck; it’s really a science. Sure, everyone is different, but the same laws of success always apply. You reap what you sow; you can’t get out of life what you’re not willing to put into it. If you want more love, give more love. If you want greater success, help others achieve more. And when you study and master the science of achievement, you will find the success you desire.
Darren Hardy is living proof of this philosophy. He walks the talk. What he shares in his book is based on what has worked in his life—and mine as well.
This is a guy who has taken simple but profound fundamentals of what it takes to be successful and used them to earn more than a million dollars a year by age twenty-four, and build a company to more than $50 million by age twenty-seven. For the past twenty years, his life has been a personal laboratory of study and research on the topic of success. He’s used himself as a guinea pig, testing thousands of different ideas, resources, and tools, and through his failings and his triumphs, he’s figured out which ideas and strategies have merit, and which ones are just plain BS.
For sixteen years, I have crossed paths with Darren, who as a leader in the personal-development industry, has worked closely with hundreds of top writers, speakers, and thought leaders. He has trained tens of thousands of entrepreneurs, advised many large companies, and personally mentored dozens of top CEOs and high-performance achievers, extracting from them what really matters and really works, and what doesn’t. In his role as publisher of SUCCESS magazine, Darren sits at the center of the personal development industry. He’s interviewed top leaders, from Richard Branson to General Colin Powell to Lance Armstrong, on a multitude of success topics, and drilled down to their best ideas, compiling them all—even a few of mine. He is an all-consuming, sorting, filtering, digesting, analyzing, summarizing, categorizing, itemizing, personal-achievement encyclopedia of information. He has culled the clutter, and focused on the core fundamentals that matter—fundamentals that you can immediately implement in your life to produce measurable and sustainable results.
The Compound Effect is the operator’s manual that teaches you how to own the system, how to control it, master it, and shape it to your needs and desires. Once you do, there is nothing you can’t obtain or achieve.
The Compound Effect is based on a principle I’ve used in my own life and training; that is, your decisions shape your destiny.
The future is what you make of it. Little, everyday decisions will either take you to the life you desire or to disaster by default. In fact, it’s the littlest decisions that shape our lives. Stray off course by just two millimeters, and your trajectory changes; what seemed like a tiny, inconsequential decision then can become a mammoth miscalculation now. From what to eat and where to work, to the people you spend your time with, to how you spend your afternoon, every choice shapes how you live today, but more important, how you live the rest of your life. But the good news is, change is within you. In the same way a two-millimeter miscalculation can send you veering wildly off your life’s course, a mere two-millimeter readjustment can also bring you right back home. The trick is finding the plan, the guide, the map that shows you where that home is. How you get there. How you stay on the path.
This book is that detailed, tangible plan of action. Let it shake up your expectations, eliminate your assumptions, ignite your curiosity, and bring value to your life—starting right now. Take advantage of this tool. Use it as a guide to create the life and the success you want. If you do this, and if you do all the other right things—and keep doing them day in and day out—I know you will experience the best life has to offer.
Live with passion!
This book is about success and what it really takes to earn it. It’s time someone told it to you straight. You’ve been bamboozled for too long. There is no magic bullet, secret formula, or quick fix. You don’t make $200,000 a year spending two hours a day on the Internet, lose 30 pounds in a week, rub 20 years off your face with a cream, fix your love life with a pill, or find lasting success with any other scheme that is too good to be true. It would be great if you could buy your success, fame, self-esteem, good relationships, and health and well-being in a nicely clam-shelled package at the local Walmart. But, that’s not how it works.
We are constantly bombarded with increasingly sensational claims to get rich, get fit, get younger, get sexier… all overnight with little effort for only three easy payments of $39.95. These repetitive marketing messages have distorted our sense of what it really takes to succeed. We’ve lost sight of the simple but profound fundamentals of what it takes to be successful.
I’m tired of it. I won’t sit back and watch these reckless messages derail people any longer. I wrote this book to take you back to basics. I’m going to help you clear the clutter and bring focus to the core fundamentals that matter. You can immediately implement in your life the exercises and time-tested success principles this book contains to produce measurable and sustainable results. I’m going to teach you to harness the power of the Compound Effect, the operating system that has been running your life, for better or worse. Use this system to your advantage and you truly can revolutionize your life. You have heard you can achieve anything you set your mind to, right? Well, only if you know how. The Compound Effect is the operator’s manual that teaches you how to master the system. When you do, there is nothing you can’t obtain or achieve.
How do I know that the Compound Effect is the only process you need for ultimate success? Firstly, I have applied these principles to my own life. Now I hate it when authors beat their chests about their fame and fortune, but it’s important you know I speak from personal experience—I’m offering you living proof, not regurgitated theory. As Anthony Robbins mentioned, I’ve enjoyed significant success in my business endeavors because I’ve made it a point to live by the principles you’ll read in this book. For the past twenty years I’ve been intensely studying success and human achievement. I have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars testing thousands of different ideas, resources, and philosophies. My personal experience has proven that, no matter what you learn or what strategy or tactic you employ, success comes as the result of the operating system of the Compound Effect.
Thirdly, as publisher of SUCCESS magazine, I sift through thousands of article submissions and books, help choose the experts we feature in the magazine, and review all of their material. Each month I interview a half-dozen top experts on a multitude of success topics and drill down to their best ideas. All day, every day, I am consuming, sorting, filtering, and wading through an ocean of personal-achievement information.
Here’s my point. When you have such an exhaustive view of this industry, and wisdom gained through studying the teachings and best practices of some the world’s most successful people, an amazing clarity emerges—the underlying fundamental truths become crystal clear. Having seen it, read it, and heard most all of it, I can no longer be fooled by the latest gambit or self-proclaimed prophet with the newest “scientific breakthrough.” Nobody can sell me on gimmicks.
I have too many reference points. I’ve gone down too many roads and learned the truth the hard way. As my mentor, the great business philosopher Jim Rohn, said, “There are no new fundamentals. Truth is not new; it’s old. You’ve got to be a little suspicious of the guy who says, ‘Come over here, I want to show you my manufactured antiques!’ No, you can’t manufacture antiques.”
What this book is about, with all the unnecessary noise, fat, and fluff removed, is what really matters. What really works? What half-dozen basics, when focused on and mastered, constitute the operating system that can take you to any goal you desire and help you live the life you were meant to live? This book contains those half-dozen fundamentals; they comprise the operating system called the Compound Effect.
Before we dig in, I have one warning: Earning success is hard. The process is laborious, tedious, sometimes even boring. Becoming wealthy, influential, and world-class in your field is slow and arduous. Don’t get me wrong; you’ll see results in your life from following these steps almost immediately. But if you have an aversion to work, discipline, and commitment, you’re welcome to turn the TV back on and put your hope in the next infomercial—the one touting promises of overnight success, if you have access to a major credit card.
Here’s the bottom line: You already know all that you need to succeed. You don’t need to learn anything more. If all we needed was more information, everyone with an Internet connection would live in a mansion, have abs of steel, and be blissfully happy. New or more information is not what you need—a new plan of action is. It’s time to create new behaviors and habits that are oriented away from sabotage and toward success. It’s that simple.
You’re about to discover a detailed, tangible plan of action. Let it shake up your expectations, eliminate your assumptions, ignite your curiosity, and bring value to your life—starting right now. Throughout the book I mention resources I’ve made available at TheCompoundEffect.com. Please, go there! Use them! This book and the tools I’ve provided to support you offer the best of everything I’ve heard, seen, studied, and tried. It’s the best of what we bring you every month in SUCCESS magazine, all in one life-changing little book. And it is simple!
Chapter 1: The COMPOUND EFFECT In Action
You know that expression, “Slow and steady wins the race”? Ever heard the story of the tortoise and the hare? Ladies and gentlemen, I’m the tortoise. Give me enough time, and I will beat virtually anybody, anytime, in any competition.
Why? Not because I’m the best or the smartest or the fastest. I’ll win because of the positive habits I’ve developed, and because of the consistency I use in applying those habits. I’m the world’s biggest believer in consistency. I’m living proof that it’s the ultimate key to success, yet it’s one of the biggest pitfalls for people struggling to achieve. Most people don’t know how to sustain it. I do. I have my father to thank for that. In essence, he was my first coach for igniting the power of the Compound Effect.
wake-up calls were at six o’clock every morning.
He’d painted a huge “No pain, no gain” sign on the wall of the garage.
One of Dad’s core philosophies was, “It doesn’t matter how smart you are or aren’t, you need to make up in hard work what you lack in experience, skill, intelligence, or innate ability.
If your competitor is smarter, more talented, or experienced, you just need to work three or four times as hard. You can still beat them!”
Behind in your math? Hunker down, hire a tutor, and work like hell all summer until you get it. No excuses. If you aren’t good at something, work harder, work smarter.
He didn’t hammer on us every night about homework; we just had to show up with the results.
And, when you did, you were celebrated.
“Be the guy who says ‘no.’ It’s no great achievement to go along with the crowd. Be the unusual guy, the extraordinary guy.”
Thanks to Dad, by age 12, I’d mastered a schedule worthy of the most efficient CEO. Sometimes I griped and moaned (I was a kid!), but even then I secretly liked knowing that I had an edge over my classmates. Dad gave me a serious head start on the discipline and mentality it takes to be dedicated and responsible, to achieve whatever I set out to achieve.
Today Dad and I joke about what an addictive overachiever he trained me to be. At eighteen, I was making a six-figure income in my own business.
By age twenty, I owned my own home in an upscale neighborhood. By age twenty-four, my income grew to more than $1 million a year, and by age twenty-seven, I was officially a self-made millionaire with a business that brought in more than $50 million in revenue. That just about brings us to the present day, because I’m not yet forty, but I have enough money and assets to last my family the rest of my life.
“There are lots of ways to screw up a kid,” Dad says. “At least my way was a pretty good one! You seemed to have done pretty well.”
The Compound Effect reveals the “secret” behind my success. I’m a true believer in the Compound Effect because Dad made sure that I lived it, each and every day, until I couldn’t live any other way if I tried.
But if you’re like most people, you’re not a true believer. There are lots of perfectly understandable reasons why. You haven’t had the same coaching and example showing you what to do. You haven’t experienced the payoff of the Compound Effect. As a society, we have been deceived. We’ve been hypnotized by commercial marketing, which convinces you of problems you don’t have and sells you on the idea of insta-fixes to “cure” them. We’ve been socialized to believe in the fairy-tale endings found in movies and novels. We’ve lost sight of the good, old-fashioned value of hard and consistent work.
You Haven’t Experienced the Payoff of the Compound Effect
The Compound Effect is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices. What’s most interesting about this process to me is that, even though the results are massive, the steps, in the moment, don’t feel significant. Whether you’re using this strategy for improving your health, relationships, finances, or anything else for that matter, the changes are so subtle, they’re almost imperceptible. These small changes offer little or no immediate result, no big win, no obvious I-told-you-so payoff. So why bother?
Most people get tripped up by the simplicity of the Compound Effect. For instance, they quit after the eighth day of running because they’re still overweight. Or, they stop practicing the piano after six months because they haven’t mastered anything other than “Chopsticks.” Or, they stop making contributions to their IRA after a few years because they could use the cash—and it doesn’t seem to be adding up to much anyway.
What they don’t realize is that these small, seemingly insignificant steps completed consistently over time will create a radical difference. Let me give you a few detailed examples.
Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = RADICAL DIFFERENCE
The Magic Penny
If you were given a choice between taking $3 million in cash this very instant and a single penny that doubles in value every day for 31 days
why is it so hard to believe choosing the penny will result in more money in the end? Because it takes so much longer to see the payoff.
In this example we see why consistency over time is so important.
Let’s take three buddies who all grew up together. They live in the same neighborhood, with very similar sensibilities. Each makes around $50,000 a year. They’re all married and have average health and body weight, plus a little bit of that dreaded “marriage flab.”
Friend number one, let’s call him Larry, plods along doing as he’s always done. He’s happy, or so he thinks, but complains occasionally that nothing ever changes.
Friend number two, Scott, starts making some small, seemingly inconsequential, positive changes. He begins reading 10 pages of a good book per day and listening to 30 minutes of something instructional or inspirational on his commute to work. Scott wants to see changes in his life, but doesn’t want to make a fuss over it. He recently read an interview with Dr. Mehmet Oz in SUCCESS magazine and chose one idea from the article to implement in his life: He’s going to cut 125 calories from his diet every day. No big deal. We’re talking maybe a cup of cereal less, trading that can of soda for a bottle of seltzer, switching from mayo to mustard on his sandwich. Doable. He’s also started walking a couple thousand extra steps per day (less than a mile). No grand acts of bravery or effort. Stuff anyone could do. But Scott is determined to stick with these choices, knowing that even though they’re simple, he could also easily be tempted to abandon them.
Friend number three, Brad, makes a few poor choices. He recently bought a new big-screen TV so he can watch more of his favorite programs. He’s been trying out the recipes he’s seen on the Food Channel—the cheesy casseroles and desserts are his favorites. Oh, and he installed a bar in his family room and added one alcoholic drink per week to his diet. Nothing crazy; Brad just wants to have a little more fun.
At the end of five months, no perceivable differences exist among Larry, Scott, or Brad.
five months isn’t long enough to see any real decline or improvement in their situations.
They’d look exactly equal.
At the end of ten months, we still can’t see noticeable changes in any of their lives. It’s not until we get to the end of the eighteenth month that the slightest differences are measurable in these three friends’ appearances.
But at about month twenty-five, we start seeing really measurable, visible differences. At month twenty-seven, we see an expansive difference. And, by month thirty-one, the change is startling. Brad is now fat while Scott is trim.
But the differences are more significant than weight. Scot’s invested almost one thousand hours reading good books and listening to self-improvement audios; by putting his newly gained knowledge into practice, he’s earned a promotion and a raise. Best of all, his marriage is thriving. Brad? He’s unhappy at work, and his marriage is on the rocks. And Larry? Larry is pretty much exactly where he was two and half years ago, except now he’s a little more bitter about it.
Like magic or quantum leaps. After thirty-one months (or thirty-one years), the person who uses the positive nature of the Compound Effect appears to be an “overnight success.” In reality, his or her profound success was the result of small, smart choices, completed consistently over time.
The Ripple Effect
The results in the above example seem dramatic, I know. But it goes even deeper than that. The reality is that even one small change can have a significant impact that causes an unexpected and unintended ripple effect.
Brad makes some muffins from a recipe he learned from the Food Channel. He’s proud and his family loves it, and it seems to add value all around. He starts making them (and other sweets) frequently. He loves his own cooking and eats more than his share—but not so much that anyone notices. However, the extra food makes Brad sluggish at night. He wakes up a little groggy, which makes him cranky.
He’s less productive, and as a result, gets discouraging feedback from his boss. By the end of the day, he feel dissatisfied with his job and his energy level is way down. The commute home seems longer and more stressful than ever. All of this makes him reach for more comfort food—stress has a way of doing that.
As his own body starts to feel flabby, he feels less self-confident, less attractive and becomes less romantic.
Isn’t it comforting to know you only need to take a series of tiny steps, consistently, over time, to radically improve your life? Doesn’t that sound easier than mustering up some grand show of bravery and heroic strength, only to wear yourself out and have to drum up all that energy again at a later date for another try
We’ve been conditioned by society to believe in the effectiveness of a great display of massive effort.
Success, Old School
The most challenging aspect of the Compound Effect is that we have to keep working away for a while, consistently and efficiently, before we can begin to see the payoff.
I bet your grandparents worked six days a week, from sunup to sundown, using the skills they learned in their youth and repeatedly throughout their entire life. They knew the secret was hard work, discipline, and good habits.
It’s interesting that wealth tends to skip a generation. Overwhelming abundance often leads to a lackadaisical mentality, which brings about a sedentary lifestyle. Children of the wealthy are especially susceptible. They weren’t the ones who developed the discipline and character to create the wealth in the first place, so it makes sense that they may not have the same sense of value for wealth or understand what’s necessary to keep it. We frequently see this entitlement mentality in children of royalty, movie stars, and corporate executives—and to a lesser degree, in children and adults everywhere.
As a nation, our entire populace seems to have lost appreciation for the value of a strong work ethic. We’ve had two, if not three, generations of Americans who have known great prosperity, wealth, and ease. Our expectations of what it really takes to create lasting success—things like grit, hard work, and fortitude—aren’t alluring, and thus have been mostly forgotten. We’ve lost respect for the strife and struggle of our forefathers. The massive effort they put forth instilled discipline, chiseled their character, and stoked the spirit to brave new frontiers.
The truth is, complacency has impacted all great empires, including, but not limited to, the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and English. Why? Because nothing fails like success. Once-dominant empires have failed for this very reason. People get to a certain level of success and get too comfortable.
Having experienced extended periods of prosperity, health, and wealth, we become complacent. We stop doing what we did to get us there. We become like the frog in the boiling water that doesn’t jump to his freedom because the warming is so incremental and insidious that he doesn’t notice he’s getting cooked!
If we want to succeed, we need to recover our grandparents’ work ethic.
the food was sensational. Soon, people started lining up to eat there and would often wait more than an hour to be seated.
unfortunately, the restaurant’s staff began to take its success for granted.
The place was out of business within eighteen months. They failed because of their success.
if we gave lottery losers each thirty seconds on TV to announce not, “I won!” but “I lost,” it would take almost nine years to get through the losers of a single drawing!
When you understand how the Compound Effect works, you won’t pine for quick fixes or silver bullets.
The athlete got up early to practice—and kept practicing long after all others had stopped. He faced the sheer agony and frustration of the failure, loneliness, hard work, and disappointment it took to become No. 1.
Put the Compound Effect to Work for You - Summary Action Steps
- Write out a few excuses you might be clinging to (e.g., not smart enough, no experience, wrong upbringing, don’t have the education, etc.). Decide to make up in hard work and personal development to out-compete anyone—including your old self.
- Be Scott — Write out the half-dozen small, seemingly inconsequential steps you can take every day that can take your life in a completely new and positive direction.
- Don’t be Brad — Write down the small, seemingly inconsequential actions you can stop doing that might be compounding your results downward.
- List a few areas, skills, or outcomes where you have you been most successful in the past. Consider whether you could be taking those for granted and are not continuing to improve, and are therefore in jeopardy of having that complacency lead to future failure.
CHAPTER 2 - CHOICES
We all come into this world the same: naked, scared, and ignorant. After that grand entrance, the life we end up with is simply an accumulation of all the choices we make. Our choices can be our best friend or our worst enemy. They can deliver us to our goals or send us orbiting into a galaxy far, far away.
Think about it. Everything in your life exists because you first made a choice about something. Choices are at the root of every one of your results. Each choice starts a behavior that over time becomes a habit. Choose poorly, and you just might find yourself back at the drawing board, forced to make new, often harder choices. Don’t choose at all, and you’ve made the choice to be the passive receiver of whatever comes your way.
In essence, you make your choices, and then your choices make you. Every decision, no matter how slight, alters the trajectory of your life—whether or not to go to college, who to marry, to have that last drink before you drive, to indulge in gossip or stay silent, to make one more prospecting call or call it a day, to say I love you or not. Every choice has an impact on the Compound Effect of your life.
This chapter is about becoming aware of and making choices that support the expansion of your life. Sounds complicated, but you’ll be amazed by its simplicity. No longer will 99 percent of your choices be unconscious. No more will most of your daily routines and traditions come as a reaction to your programming. You’ll ask yourself (and be able to answer), “How many of my behaviors have I not ‘voted on’? What am I doing that I didn’t consciously choose to do, yet continue to do every day?”
By employing the same idiot-proof strategies I’ve used to catapult my own life and career, strengthened by the Compound Effect, you’ll be able to loosen the mysterious grip of the things that are unwinding your life and pulling you in the wrong direction. You’ll be able to hit the Pause button before stumbling into idiot territory. You’ll experience the ease of making decisions that lead to behaviors and habits that support you, every time.
Your biggest challenge is that you’ve been sleepwalking through your choices.
Half the time, you’re not even aware you’re making them!
Our choices are often shaped by our culture and upbringing.
They can be so entwined in our routine behaviors and habits that they seem beyond our control.
Nobody intends to become obese, go through bankruptcy, or get a divorce, but often (if not always) those consequences are the result of a series of small, poor choices.
Elephants Don’t Bite
Have you ever been bitten by an elephant? How about a mosquito? It’s the little things in life that will bite you.
I’m talking about the decisions you think don’t make any difference at all. It’s the little things that inevitably and predictably derail your success.
these seemingly insignificant decisions can completely throw you off course because you’re not mindful of them.
The Compound Effect works, all right. It always works, remember? But in this case it works against you because you’re doing… you’re sleepwalking.
And as long as you’re making choices unconsciously, you can’t consciously choose to change that ineffective behavior and turn it into productive habits. It’s time to WAKE UP and make empowering choices.
“I’m always in a bad mood because my kids are driving me crazy.”
I decided to keep a Thanks Giving journal for my wife. Every day for an entire year I logged at least one thing I appreciated about her—the way she interacted with her friends, how she cared for our dogs, the fresh bed she prepared, a succulent meal she whipped up, or the beautiful way she styled her hair that day—whatever.
I looked for the things my wife was doing that touched me, or revealed attributes, characteristics, or qualities I appreciated. I wrote them all down secretly for the entire year. By the end of that year, I’d filled an entire journal.
When I gave it to her the following Thanksgiving, she cried, calling it the best gift she’d ever received.
The funny thing was that the person most affected by this gift was me. All that journaling forced me to focus on my wife’s positive aspects. I was consciously looking for all the things she was doing “right.” That heartfelt focus overwhelmed anything I might have otherwise complained about.
I fell deeply in love with her all over again.
As a result of choosing to take a mere five minutes every day or so to document all the reasons why I was grateful for her, we experienced one of the best years of our marriage, and it’s only gotten better.
Owning 100 Percent
I was eighteen when I was introduced to the idea of personal responsibility at a seminar.
“What percentage of shared responsibility do you have in making a relationship work?”.
The instructor turned to the easel and wrote 100/0 on the paper in big black letters. “You have to be willing to give 100 percent with zero expectation of receiving anything in return,”
“Only when you’re willing to take 100 percent responsibility for making the relationship work will it work. Otherwise, a relationship left to chance will always be vulnerable to disaster.”
If I always took 100 percent responsibility for everything I experienced—completely owning all of my choices and all the ways I responded to whatever happened to me—I held the power.
Everything was up to me. I was responsible for everything I did, didn’t do, or how I responded to what was done to me.
You alone are responsible for what you do, don’t do, or how you respond to what’s done to you. This empowering mindset revolutionized my life.
Luck, circumstances, or the right situation wasn’t what mattered. If it was to be, it was up to me. I was free to fl y. No matter who was elected president, how badly the economy tanked, or what anybody said, did, or didn’t do, I was still 100 percent in control of me.
If you are on the right side of the dirt, have your health, and a little food in your cupboard, you are incredibly lucky. Everyone has the opportunity to be “lucky,” because beyond having the basics of health and sustenance, luck simply comes down to a series of choices.
Luck surrounds us every day; we are constantly having lucky things happen to us, whether you recognize it or not. I have not been any more lucky or unlucky than anyone else. The difference is when luck came my way, I took advantage of it.
“Luck is when opportunity meets preparation”
Preparation (personal growth) + Attitude (belief/mindset) + Opportunity (a good thing coming your way) + Action (doing something about it) = Luck
By consistently improving and preparing yourself — your skills, knowledge, expertise, relationships, and resources — you have the wherewithal to take advantage of great opportunities when they arise (when luck “strikes”). Then, you can be like Arnold Palmer, who told SUCCESS magazine in February of 2009, “It’s a funny thing; the more I practice, the luckier I get.”
This is where luck evades most people, and where Sir Richard is spot-on with his belief that luck is all around us. It’s simply a matter of seeing situations, conversations, and circumstances as fortuitous. You cannot see what you don’t look for, and you cannot look for what you don’t believe in.
It’s possible to make your own luck, but the luck I’m talking about here isn’t planned for, or it comes faster or differently than expected. In this stage of the formula, luck isn’t forced. It’s a natural occurrence, and it often shows up seemingly of its own accord.
This is where you come in. However this luck was delivered to you — from the universe, God, the Lucky Charms leprechaun, or whomever or whatever you associate delivering your good fortune — it’s now your job to act on it. This is what separates the Richard Bransons from the Joseph Wallingtons. Joseph who? Exactly. You’ve never heard of him. That’s because he failed to take action on all the lucky things that happened to him.
So no more whining about the cards you were dealt, the great defeats you suffered, or any other circumstances. Countless people have more disadvantages and greater obstacles than you, and yet they’re wealthier and more fulfilled. Luck is an equal-opportunity distributor. Lady luck shines on all, but rather than having your umbrella drawn, you’ve got to have your face to the sky. When it comes down to it, it’s all you, baby. There’s no other way around it.
The High Price of Tuition at UHK
my partner had mismanaged and squandered all the cash. I lost more than $330,000. I didn’t try to sue him; in fact, I lent him more money later for a personal situation.
The bottom line was the loss was my fault. I had agreed to be his partner without doing enough due diligence on his background and personal character.
I now challenge you to do the same. No matter what has happened to you, take complete responsibility for it—good or bad, victory or defeat. Own it. My mentor Jim Rohn said, “The day you graduate from childhood to adulthood is the day you take full responsibility for your life.”
Your Secret Weapon—Your Scorecard
Pick an area of your life where you most want to be successful. Do you want more money in the bank? A trimmer waistline? The strength to compete in an Iron Man event? A better relationship with your spouse or kids? Picture where you are in that area, right now.
Now picture where you want to be: richer, thinner, happier, you name it.
The first step toward change is awareness. If you want to get from where you are to where you want to be, you have to start by becoming aware of the choices that lead you away from your desired destination.
Become very conscious of every choice you make today so you can begin to make smarter choices moving forward.
To help you become aware of your choices, I want you to track every action that relates to the area of your life you want to improve.
If you’ve decided you want get out of debt, you’re going to track every penny you pull from your pocket.
If you’ve decided you want to lose weight, you’re going to track everything you put into your mouth.
If you’ve decided to train for an athletic event, you’re going to track every step you take, every workout you do.
Simply carry around a small notebook, something you’ll keep in your pocket or purse at all times, and a writing instrument.
You’re going to write it all down. Every day. Without fail. No excuses, no exceptions. As if Big Brother’s watching you. As if my dad and I will come and make you do a hundred pushups every time you miss.
But tracking my progress and missteps is the one of the reasons I’ve accumulated the success I have.
The process forces you to be conscious of your decisions.
“What’s simple to do is also simple not to do.”
The magic is not in the complexity of the task; the magic is in the doing of simple things repeatedly and long enough to ignite the miracle of the Compound Effect.
So, beware of neglecting the simple things that make the big things in your life possible.
The biggest difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people are not. Remember that; it will come in handy many times throughout life when faced with a difficult, tedious, or tough choice.
I learned the power of tracking the hard way, after I’d acted like a colossal idiot about my finances.
“You owe well over $100,000 in taxes,” he said.
“What?!” I said. “I don’t have that kind of cash just lying around.”
“Why not?” he asked. “You collected several times that; certainly you set aside the taxes that would be due on that money.”
“Evidently I didn’t,” I said.
“Where did the money go?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” I said, a sobering confession, for sure. The money had passed through my hands like water, and I hadn’t even noticed!
carry a small notepad in my back pocket, and write down every single cent I spent for thirty days.
Tracking is my go-to transformation model for everything that ails me. Over the years I’ve tracked what I eat and drink, how much I exercise, how much time I spend improving a skill, my number of sales calls, even the improvement of my relationships with family, friends, or my spouse. The results have been no less profound than my money-tracking wake-up call.
All winners are trackers. Right now I want you to track your life with the same intention: to bring your goals within sight.
Tracking is a simple exercise. It works because it brings moment-to-moment awareness to the actions you take in the area of your life you want to improve.
You cannot manage or improve something until you measure it.
Likewise, you can’t make the most of who you are—your talents and resources and capabilities—until you are aware of and accountable for your actions.
Every professional athlete and his or her coach track each performance down to the smallest minutiae.
At any given moment, I want you to know exactly how well you’re doing.
I’m asking you to track yourself as if you’re a valuable commodity.
Because you are.
Keep It Slow and Easy
Pick the habit that has the greatest control over you; that’s where you’ll start.
Again, merely writing these things down sounds simple—and it is—BUT ONLY WHEN YOU DO IT. That’s why I’m asking that you commit to choosing a category and a start date, now, before you turn this page.
I am going to start tracking … on … [date/month/year]
Each day you’ll start with the date at the top of a fresh page, and start keeping track.
You’ll be so blown away by the results after one week you’ll sign yourself up for another two. I can practically guarantee it.
The Unsung, Unseen Hero
Once you start tracking your life, your attention will be focused on the smallest things you’re doing right, as well as the smallest things you’re doing wrong.
And when you choose to make even the smallest course corrections consistently, over time, you’ll begin to see amazing results.
Take a Walk
He basically lived in a bubble with his management team. I asked Phil to track just one change: three times a week, he had to step outside of his office and walk around the building. His goal was to seek out at least three people whom he saw doing things right or had heard good things about and give them some personal acknowledgment of his appreciation.
This one small change in his behavior took less than an hour a week, but had massive effects over time.
The employees Phil took the time to recognize began to go the extra mile and work harder to earn his greater appreciation. Other employees started to perform better, observing that great effort was recognized and appreciated.
That simple change over the period of eighteen months did a complete 180 on the company culture.
All because Phil committed to one small, seemingly insignificant step done consistently over time.
Time Is of the Essence
you’ve always wanted to play the piano, but feel it’s too late because you’re about to turn forty. If you start now, by the time you’re retirement age, you could be a master, as you’ll have been playing for twenty-five years! The key is to start NOW.
Every great act, every fantastic adventure, starts with small steps. The first step always looks harder than it actually is.
Brian Tracy’s book Focal Point:
All you have to do is improve yourself, your performance, and your output and earnings by 1/10 of 1 percent each workday
That is 1/1,000. Do you think you could do that? Of course, anyone could do that.
Do it each day of the week, and you’ll improve by ½ percent each week, equaling 2 percent each month, which, compounded, adds up to 26 percent each year.
Your income now doubles each 2.9 years. By Year Ten, you can be performing and earning 1,000 percent what you are now. Isn’t that amazing? You don’t have to put in 1,000 percent more effort or work 1,000 percent more hours. Just 1/10 of 1 percent improvement each day.
Success Is a (Half-) Marathon
I would get close to a hidden egg, she’d say, ‘Oh you’re warm.’ You know, you get closer to it, ‘Oh, you’re on fire.’ And then you move away from the egg and she’d go, ‘Oh, you’re cold, you’re freezing.’ I teach contestants that, on a moment-to-moment basis, I need them to think about their happiness and their ultimate goal as being warm—how every choice and every decision they make in the moment is getting them closer to that ultimate goal.”
Since your outcomes are all a result of your moment-to-moment choices, you have incredible power to change your life by changing those choices. Step by step, day by day, your choices will shape your actions until they become habits, where practice makes them permanent.
Put the Compound Effect to Work for You - Summary Action Steps
- What area, person, or circumstance in your life do you struggle with the most? Start journaling all the aspects of that situation that you are grateful for. Keep a record of everything that reinforces and expands your gratitude in that area.
- Where in your life are you not taking 100 percent responsibility for the success or failure of your present condition? Write down three things you have done in the past that have messed things up. List three things you should have done but didn’t. Write out three things that happened to you but you responded poorly. Write down three things you can start doing right now to take back responsibility for the outcomes of your life.
- Start tracking at least one behavior in one area of your life you’d like to change and improve (e.g., money, nutrition, fitness, recognizing others, parenting… any area).
CHAPTER 3 - HABITS
“My son, you have just demonstrated the power that habits will have over your life!” the teacher exclaimed. “The older they are, the bigger they get, the deeper the roots grow, and the harder they are to uproot. Some get so big, with roots so deep, you might hesitate to even try.”