We hear about 1 percenters. Or 5 percenters.    Meaning the people who are the top 1% or 5% of earners.  But the question is – What are some of the predominant things that make them so?

For Starters, Successful people (regardless of whatever criteria you use for evaluation) never blame circumstances, or other people. Successful people practice the daily disciplines that are assured to take them to their final destination.

They show up consistently with a good attitude over a long period of time, with a burning desire backed by faith. They are willing to pay the price and practice The Slight Edge integrity.

Successful people use inertia to build momentum, making their upward journey of success easier and easier.

Successful people acquire three kinds of knowledge they need to succeed.
They create an on-going support system of both book smarts and street smarts,
learning through study and through doing,
and they catalyze and accelerate that knowledge by finding mentors and modelling their successful behavior.

Successful people are always asking: “Who am I spending time with? Are they the people who best represent where I want to be headed?”

Successful people read at least ten pages of a powerful, life-transforming book every day.  Or at least listen to at least fifteen minutes of educational and inspirational audio information every day.

Successful people go to work on their philosophy first, because they know that it is a source of their attitude, actions, results and the quality of their lives.  They understand that they can increase their success by doubling their rate of failure.

Read that again – Doubling their Rate of Failure

They understand activity and because they do the thing, they have the power.   

They understand the power of simple things.  They understand the power of daily disciplines.

So, where do you go from here?  Find your penny. And then start finding ways to double it.

The Power of One Percent

How do you add one cent’s worth of happiness or knowledge? Here’s how:  The word “cent” is short for centum, meaning one hundredth. A penny is called a cent because it is one hundredth, or 1 percent, of a dollar. So let’s say you add 1 percent of whatever value you want to achieve,     In all these areas. By the end of the year, by adding 1 percent each day—pure addition, no compound interest—how much have you added? A total of 365 percent. In other words, Three-And-A-Half times.   Triple.  Then another half.  PER YEAR.

Every day, in every moment, you get to exercise choices that will determine whether or not you will become a great person, living a great life. Greatness is not something pre-determined, predestined, or carved into your fate by forces beyond your control. Greatness is always in the moment of the decision.  But you have to start with a penny.

Do the thing, and you shall have the power.

If you’ve ever been told, “You’ll get it if you just want it bad enough,” I’m here to let you off the hook: it simply isn’t true. Just wanting something doesn’t necessarily get it for you, not even when you combine wanting with trying really hard and working really hard. You can want all you want, and try yourself blue in the face.

But it still won’t happen—not without the first ingredient.  How to do it is not the issue.  The secret ingredient is your philosophy.  A positive philosophy turns into a positive attitude, which turns into positive actions, which turns to positive results, which turns to positive lifestyle.  A positive life.

If you don’t change the way you think about these simple everyday things, then no amount of how-to’s will get you anywhere or give you any true solutions. Because it’s not the hows that do it, it’s how you do the hows.

Simple Daily disciplines—little productive actions, repeated consistently over time—add up to the difference between failure and success.

The slight edge is relentless and cuts both ways: simple daily disciplines or simple error judgement, repeated consistently over time, make you or break you.

How many people do you know whom you would call successful? I don’t necessarily mean financially successful, although that certainly counts as one aspect of success. But I mean successful on every aspect of their lives. People who have vibrant health, plenty of good friends, people who full of energy and curiosity, always learning new things and excited about life. Successful as in people whose lives are clearly working for them.

How many people do you know who are like that?  My guess is: not many.

Let’s be honest: most people are struggling to keep their heads above water.   1 in 20. Or about 5 percent.

There is only one difference: the slight edge.  The 5 percent all understand the power of the slight edge and how it is working for or against them.      The first of the book’s seven rules is, “Always live below your means.” Nothing to excited about that, is there?  Downright mundane.

Do the thing, and you shall have the power.

What makes the top 1% or top 5% the top?   There is only one difference: The Slight Edge.  The 5 percent all understand the power of the slight edge and how it is working – for or against them.

Why are the rules so often over-looked?   Hell, they are downright mundane.

Reason #1: They’re Easy to Do.

This is a lesson learned from Jim Rohn: The simple things that lead to success are all easy to do. But there are also just as easy not to do.

Fundamentally, we all pretty much take the same actions every day. We eat, sleep, think, feel, talk, and listen. We have relationships and friendships. We have twenty-four hours a day, 168 hours a week, and we each fill these hours one way or the other – with a sequence of mundane little actions and tasks.

Gold medal marathon runners eat and sleep. So do people who are thirty pounds overweight.

The difference that will make all the difference between success and failure – between achieving the quality of life you want and settling for less than you desire and deserve – lies not in whether you take those actions or not (because we all do), but 100 percent in which of those mundane actions you choose to do.

Reason #2: The Results Are Invisible

The things that create success in the long run don’t look like they’re having any impact at all in the short run.   The results are too far in the future. They’re invisible.

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. “Progressive” means success is a process, not a destination. It’s something you experience gradually, over time. Failure is just as gradual.

In fact, the difference between success and failure is so subtle, you can’t even see it or recognize it during the process. When you get to the point where everyone else can see your results, tell you what good choices you’ve made, notice your good fortune, slap you on the back and tell you how lucky you are, the critical slight edge choices you made are ancient history.

Two Life Paths

Where you end up in life isn’t about whether you are good or a bad person.  Or whether or not you are deserving, or your karma, or your circumstances. It’s dictated by the choices you make—especially the little ones. I know it doesn’t seem like it. It seems like you’re just choosing how to spend the next hour, not the next forty years. But you ARE choosing how you’ll spend the next forty years.

The reason this is hard to see is that it looks like your actions move in a simple straight line.  Only you don’t. You end up in different places. Because your actions don’t move in a straight line. They curve.

The truth is, everything is curved. You are on a journey called your life path, and that path, it is always, every moment of every day, curving either upward or downward.

There are no straight lines; everything curves. If you’re not increasing, you’re decreasing.

Those two slight edge curves, the success curve and the failure curve, typically run parallel to each other for a long time. The two paths may be so close together that it’s almost impossible for most people even to see the distinction between them, until momentum has been built.

If you understand and live the law of compound interest, and engage in the right practices, your life will be the top half of the graph. If you don’t understand and live by the law of compound interest, your life will look like the lower half of the graph. Life is a curved construction; time is its builder, and choice its master architect.

The bad news is, all those 95 percenters are going to be yanking on you, sitting on you, naysaying and doomsaying on you, and doing their level best to pull you back down. Why? Because if you succeed, it reinforces the fact that they are not where they want to be.

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.      People on the success curve live a life of responsibility.  They take full responsibility for     who they are, where they are and everything that happens to them.

Taking responsibility liberates

The people living on the top, those who take responsibility, live a life that is in some ways uncomfortable. Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do, and that often means living outside the limits of one’s comfort zone.

This means changing your thinking about the comfort zone. It’s a change in philosophy. It means embracing living uncomfortably in order to attain a life that is genuinely comfortable—not deceptively comfortable.

                                   Do the thing, and you shall have the power.

Reason #3: They Seem Insignificant:  The difference between success and failure is so subtle, so mundane, that most people miss it.

We quickly develop something we called The Ten Core Commitments, which was a list of basic actions people could take to move their business forward. Things that were in a word, mundane.

Willpower was vastly overrated. (A Friend of mine used to say that people on diets who complain that they lack will-power are usually suffering more from a lack of won’t power.)  In most of us there is a natural tendency to resist an applied force—even when it’s applied by ourselves. Will power will take you only so far before you feel yourself rebelling.

If you want to keep yourself on the upward path, the path of the building, growing, improving – positively compounding effect of the slight edge, rather than the deteriorating, disintegrating, draining, negatively compounding effect of the slight edge – then there’s something you need.

That force is time.  The universe around you supplies the rest of the equation. And the force it uses to do that time.

Consistently repeated daily actions + time = Unconquerable results.

There is a natural progression in life: you plant, then you cultivate, and finally you harvest.  In today’s world, everyone wants to go directly from plant to harvest.   There’s a reason movies and television condense those lengthy transformations, the kind that take months or years in real life, into thirty-second montages set to great music. Because it’s boring.

But it Works!

The slight edge is boring, There, I said it.  The challenge is that making the right choices is not dramatic.      And that’s the big challenge of it: no immediate feedback.

But it Works!

No matter what you have done in your life up until today, no matter where you are and how far down you may have slid on the failure curve, you can start fresh, building a positive pattern of success, at any time.     Including right now. But you need to have faith in the process, because you won’t see it happening at first.

One reason the slight edge is so widely ignored, unnoticed, and undervalued is that our culture tends to worship the idea of the “big break.”  The truth of breakthroughs and lucky breaks is that, yes, they do happen—but they don’t happen out of thin air.

Our entire health crisis is nothing but one set of little decisions, made daily and compounded daily, winning out another set of little decisions, made daily and compounded daily.

Have you ever noticed that when you read stories about lottery winners, they are hardly ever bank presidents, successful entrepreneurs, or corporate executives?

Successful people have already grasped the truth that lottery players have not: success is not a random accident. Life is not a lottery.

Do the thing, and you shall have the power.

The Right Philosophy -> The Right Attitude ->  The Right Actions

The Power of Compounding Effort

Successful people do whatever it takes to get the job done, whether or not they feel like it.  Successful people form habits that feed their success, instead of habits that feed their failure.
It starts with a choice.

Often, in the beginning, the success path can be uncomfortable, even scary. Especially if you’re the only one around who’s on it. That’s why being a pioneer takes such courage. Courage means to have a purpose and to have heart.

Obviously, It’s impossible for either of us to say exactly how long this will be for. But in my experience, in three to five years you can put virtually anything in your life solidly onto the right track.

The slight edge guarantees that your own success shall come to you. But you do need to care for those simple little actions which, compounded over time, will make the difference between your success—–or your failure.

There’s a popular expression you’ve probably heard, “Luck is preparedness meeting opportunity.” It’s a handy idea, but it’s not quite accurate. People who live by the slight edge understand how luck really works. It’s not preparedness meeting opportunity: it’s preparedness, period. Preparedness created by doing those simple, little constructive, positive actions, over and over. Luck is when that constancy of preparedness eventually creates opportunity.

Positive psychologists found that happiness isn’t some big thing you pursue.  It’s not something you pursue, it’s something you do.  When it comes to understanding how to achieve happiness., most of us have it backward. We believe, “Once I become successful, then I’ll be happy.”

 The Right Philosophy -> The Right Attitude ->  The Right Actions

But there was this in-between step.  This stepping stone from philosophy to action. This thing called attitude. Your attitude is the thing that translates your abstract understanding (philosophy) into your concrete actions.

Another word for attitude is ’emotions’, that is, how you feel.  You can reprogram your brain through some very simple exercises that both simple and easy to do.  Simple tasks that, if you do them consistently and persistently over a long enough period of time, will get the results you are looking for.

Slight edge actions for happiness: happy habits.

  1. Each morning, write down three things you’re grateful for. Not the same three every day; find three new things to write about. That trains your brain to search your circumstances and hunt for the positive.
  2. Journal for two minutes a day about one positive experience you’ve had over the past twenty-four hours. Write down every detail you can remember; this causes your brain to literally re- experience that experience, which doubles its positive impact.
  3. Meditate daily. Nothing fancy; just stop all activity; relax, and watch your breath go in and out for two minutes. This trains your brain to focus where you want it to, and not get distracted negativity in your environment.
  4. Do a random act of kindness over the course each day. To make this simple, Shawn always recommends a specific act of kindness: at the start of each day, take two minutes to write an email to someone you know by praising them or thanking them for something that they did.
  5. Exercise for fifteen minutes daily. Simple cardio, even a brisk walk, has a powerful anti- depressant impact, in many cases stronger (and more long-lasting) than an actual antidepressant!

If you do any one of these things faithfully for just three weeks, twenty –one days in a row, it will start to become a habit—a happy habit. You have literary begun to rewire your brain to see the world in a different way.

Success does come from a small beginning – so tiny that it seems invisible and most people miss it. But there has to be a beginning.  And your reward? When you get up the next morning, do you feel better? Not really. That is, not noticeably. Maybe just a little. Say, a penny’s worth.

Mastering the Slight Edge

“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is the definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.”   –Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

In the process of learning to walk, did you spend more time failing down and standing up?

Are there any situations in your life today where you’ve given up and decided to keep crawling for the rest of your life?   Rather than  go for what you really want, what you truly deserve?

The answer is a simple as it is sad: somewhere along the way, you lost faith. There is something treacherous about letting go of that childlike willingness to try and try again.

And the more you give up, the easier and the easier it gets

Those two slight edge curves, the success curve and the failure curve, typically run parallel to each other for a long time. The two paths may be so close together that it’s almost impossible for most people even to see the distinction between them.

The people living on the top, those who take responsibility, live a life that is in some ways uncomfortable. Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do, and that often means living outside the limits of one’s comfort zone.

This means changing your thinking about the comfort zone. It’s a change in philosophy. It means embracing living uncomfortably in order to attain a life that is genuinely comfortable—not deceptively comfortable.

Do the thing, and you shall have the power.

Understanding, but note: the journey starts with a single step—not with thinking about taking a step.

Once you know the slight edge, you know that 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.

Your own thoughts are one of the most powerful examples of the slight edge there is. This is true of positive thoughts. And just as true of negatives thoughts.  You, through the power of your own thoughts, are the most influential person in your life. Which means there is nobody more effective at supporting your success.

The truth is, the subconscious runs virtually everything.

So, how do you program that life route? How do you determine the choices and decisions that your subconscious makes for you in carving out your life path? The same way you learned to tie your shoes: you create it first with intention, with your conscious mind, and then repeat it over and over, in slight edge fashion, until it is handed off to your subconscious—at which point those three magic words kick in:

It becomes automatic.

There is a third type of learning too.  The power to leverage other peoples’ experiences.  Find someone else who has already achieved mastery in the area you’re looking at, and model your behavior based on their experience.

The quickest and surest path to raising the quality of your life is to start hanging out with people who have been there and done that.

Ask yourself specific slight edge questions. “In each area of my life, what are the critical, simple little things that are easy to do, and not easy to do? Did I do them? Did I move forward? Did I ride the success curve?”

 “Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character, Sow a character, reap a destiny.”

-Charles Reade (attrib.)

Habit and Choice

There are two kinds of habits: those that serve you and those that don’t. A habit is something you do without thinking.

Every one of those habits, the good and the bad, has its roots in choice.
So the question is: Which behaviors do you want to have take on a life of their own?

The way behavior turns into habit is by repeating it over and over and over again until it becomes automatic.

It’s tough to get rid of the habit you don’t want by facing it head on. The way to accomplish it is to replace the unwanted habit with another habit that you do want.

Take a few moments to work out your own slight edge plan for your personal development. Don’t skip on the next step: do yourself a favor and put down some initial thoughts.

If you have developed losing habits in your finances, it’s time to replace them with winning habits.      Live below your means. Set up a modest savings plan and stick to it.

Before you go to work tomorrow, ask yourself this question: “Why am I doing this?” There could be all sorts of reasons, but they generally come down to one of these two:

  1. Because I have to.
  2. Because I want to.

Now, if you’re going to be honest, your answer probably needs to involve some of the first. Just make sure it also includes a healthy dose of the second.

For a goal to come true:

Do the thing, and you shall have the power.

You must make it specific, give it a deadline, and write it down. You must look at it every day. You must have a plan to start with.

Living the Slight Edge

Set a specific and measurable goal in a couple areas of your life.

Damnit – Do it!

Now I’m going to ask you to make a simple roadmap for each one, consisting of three elements: 1) your dreams for that area, expressed as goal—specific, vivid, and with a timeline; 2) a simple plan to start (siiimmmpplle); and 3) one simple daily discipline that you will commit to doing each and every day from now on.

Step One: Write it Down:  The most critical skill for achieving success in any area whatsoever – from sports to high finance, radiant health to fulfilling relationships- is the skill of envisioning. Envisioning something simply means having the ability to create vivid picture of something that hasn’t factually happened yet.  To make that picture so vivid that it feels real.

Speaking it out loud to another person is the most powerful of all. But at the very least, write it down.  Make your dreams more concrete: what and when.

Step Two: Look at It Every Day

After faith and a burning desire, the third factor Napoleon Hill found when studying 500-plus of the most successful men and women of his day was what he called autosuggestion: the power of regularly, consistently telling and retelling yourself what your goals are. He found that on average, achievers did this twice a day—every day – searing it into the subconscious..

We also need to surround ourselves with messages that tell you that your dreams are real, your dreams are real, your dreams are real.  Not only are they possible: they are inevitable.

Step Three: Start with a Plan

The point is not to come up with the brilliant blueprint that is guaranteed to take you all the way to the finish line. The point is simply to come up with a plan that will get you out of the starting gate.

There is no perfect plan.

Do the thing, and you shall have the power.  Do the FIRST THING.  Don’t try to figure it all out.   But absolutely and positively DO IT.   Hell, it can even be to “think of an idea.”   As long as take action on specific and dedicated time to coming up with the idea.

If you want twice the success, double your rate of failure.  You need a First Plan so you can get to your Second Plan, so you can get to your Third Plan, so you can get to your Fourth Plan.

Just stay at it.  Slightly changing things.  Over and over.

In that great classic of personal development, As a Man Thinketh, James Allen put it this way:

You will become as small as your controlling desire, or as great as your dominant aspiration.

Nineteen times out of twenty there is no single big, significant answer. It is the little things, day by day, that add up over time to unshakable contentment or unsalvageable misery.  Successful people don’t look for shortcuts, nor they hope for the “big break.”

Habit#1: Show Up

Habit#2 :Be Consistent

Habit#3: Have a Positive Outlook

Habit#4: Be Committed for the Long Haul

Farmers know that they have to wait a full season to reap their harvests.

Habit#5: Cultivate a Burning Desire Backed by Faith

Most people wish for big things but can’t really see themselves getting them. The few who achieve great things are those who not only passionately wanted to achieve them but also clearly see themselves achieving them.

Habit#6: Be Willing to Pay the Price

Remember this: whatever price you pay, there’s a bigger price to pay for not doing it than the price for doing it.

Habit #7: Practice The Slight Edge Integrity

While everyone has different approach to goal setting, there are three simple, fundamental steps you need to take for you dreams to turn into reality. Everyone who has created success, whether or not consciously framed it this way or used this specific language to describe them, has gone through some version of these three steps. They are the three universal steps to reaching for a big dream.

Consistently Repeated Daily Actions + Time = Unconquerable Results

Time is your leverage. Your pulley. Your force multiplier.   It’s also your most valuable asset.

But it needs something to multiply. If you don’t have a big stack of money for it to multiply, you are limited to your 2 most valuable assets:  Your Skills and Your Efforts.

And the beautiful part of those 2 assets is that you can increase them at will. The internet is bountiful of new information and  skills that you can get any time.

And your effort is a throttle you control. Do you spend your nights fulfilling the Slight Edge dreams of movie Stars and TV producers by Consuming their Content and watching their ads? Or do you Start taking steps to your better life?

With the Slight Edge the formula is Simple:

  • Determine the direction of the life you want;
  • Take A Step towards it;
  • Make the commitment take another Step, and another Step; Until it’s the habit of walking.   One you make The Commitment Of Your Future.  Important enough that the goals you will commit to the continual and incremental increase of effort WILL gain momentum through the INEVITABLE effect of compounding to propel you to a better life.

The compound effect of incrementally increasing efforts Is inevitable!!!

Remember this: whatever price you pay, there’s a bigger price to pay for not doing it than the price for doing it.

The Law of Association

Perhaps you’ve heard it said that your income tends to equal the average of the incomes of your five best friends. It’s true, and the same principle applies not only to your finances but to every aspect of your life.

So take heart by “disassociating”.   I don’t necessarily mean cutting them out of your life completely. But casual relationships deserve casual time—not quality time.

Use the Power of Momentum

There’s another reason once a day for a week is better than seven times in one day, once a week: the daily rhythm of thing start to change you. It becomes part of your routine.

Use the Power of Completion

Another way you gather momentum and harness it to your advantage is by regularly practicing an activity called completion.

The compound effect of incrementally increasing efforts Is inevitable!!!

Consistently Repeated Daily Actions + Time = Unconquerable Results

Remember this: whatever price you pay, there’s a bigger price to pay for not doing it than the price for doing it.