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:
- Because I have to.
- 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.
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