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Summary 

Your life philosophy generates your attitudes, which generate your actions, which produce your results. Olson argues that the philosophy you should adopt to achieve massive success is the Slight Edge Philosophy. This philosophy is essentially, have a clear, big goal, establish the little daily habits that will help you get there, and begin the endless journey of doing the little daily habits, ever. single. day.

Practical Application

The Slight Edge Philosophy

Reading 10 pages of a great book per day

Cultivate small, daily habits.

Book Notes 

Part 1: How The Slight Edge Works

Chapter 1 – The Beach Bum and The Millionaire

“The only person you are destined to be is the person you decide to be.” – Emerson

What we do when we are trying to avoid failure and we start surviving, we stop doing these things, and this keeps us from having success.
-Simple Daily Disciplines
-Small daily habits
Saving 10% of every paycheck
Exercising
Reading good books
Telling someone you love them/appreciate them
We each have within us the potential to be the beach bum and the millionaire, Olson offers that the difference is “The Slight Edge.” This feels a little gimmicky but the book has a lot of gems.

Chapter 2 – The FIrst Ingredient

“Do the thing, and you shall have the power.” -Emerson

The secret Ingredient is your life philosophy
“Self-Narrative” “Self-Concept” “Life Myth”

This is a big an important idea.

“Your philosophy creates your attitude, actions, and results, which creates your life.”

Value-driven mindset or Entitlement mindset

Chapter 3 – The Choice

Uses parable to introduce the idea of compound interest.

Choose to do the small daily habits that lead to success

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: simply daily disciplines or simple errors in judgement, repeated consisntently over time, make you or break you.

Without the slight edge, you can start with a million and lose it all. With the slight edge, you can start with a penny and accomplish anything you want.

Chapter 4: Master The Mundane

The Slight Edge is working towards your craft every. single. day.

Reasons people don’t do the important Mundane
They are easy to do (so they are easy not to do)
The Results are invisible (for awhile)
They Seem Insignificant

“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”

Habit: Read 10 pages a day of life changing books

Chapter 5 – Slow Down to Go Fast

Time is your ally, think long term in your daily activities
Think: Plant, grow, harvest

“consistently repeated daily actions + time = inconquerable results.”

“The Slight Edge is boring. There, I said it.” lol, interesting but true point.

“The challenge is that making the right choice isn’t dramatic.”

“Success is an accumulation of effort applied to a consist goal”

Embrace that improvements will take time; months or years.

Chapter 6: Don’t Fall For Quantum Leaps (30 day, 60 day programs etc don’t work. Seek to adopt a habit change for life)

Habit change needs to follow the mindset that this will be something I am prepared to integrate into my life style
avoid the 30-60-90 day programs.
Think of a rocket seeking a planet and the constant feedback system working

This is a helpful chapter; Don’t fall for the myth of Quantum improvements.

“Our cultural mythology, the philosophy our society subscribes to as a group, worships the quantum leap breakthrough even when we don’t realize that’s what we’re doing.”

“Have you ever suddenly understood something in a “flash of recognition”? Have you ever known someone who became on “overnight success”? Here is a great secret that holds the key to great accomplishment: both were the final breakthrough results of a long patient process of edge upon edge upon edge.”

Quantum leaps do happen, but only as the end result of a lengthy, gradual buildup of consistently applied effort.

No success is immediate, no collapse is sudden. They are both the result of the slight edge accuring the momentum over time.

Chapter 7 – The Secret of Happiness

“The difference between positive psychology and traditional psychology is that with traditional psychology the ambulance is at the bottom of the cliff, with positive psychology, the ambulance is at the top of the cliff.”

“One of the most radical and remarkable things about the happiness research is the discovery that doing things that make you happy doesn’t just make you happier. It also makes your life work better.”

It is the pursuit that generates happiness.
Happiness derives from the process.

Introduces Positive Psychology

Happiness leads to success, not the other way.
We can do things now that make us happy.

People, (myself included), respond much more to positive psychology then self-help
Focus on Positive Psychology
Positive Psychology is the 80/20 of Self-Help
Happiness will improve most other dimensions of peoples lives

The right philosophy leads to the right attitude which leads to the right actions

FINALLY SOME ACTUAL HABITS
5 Habits Positive Psychology Research shows increases happiness (Shawn Achor)
Journal about 3 things you are grateful for
Journal for 2 minutes about a specific positive event in the last 24 hours (be detailed)
Meditate
Do a Random Act of Kindness in the Course of Your Day
Exercise for 15 minutes a Day
(For those interested, I am integrating each of these into the ebook I’m working on.)

More scientific-supported habits on pg 105

Chapter 8 – THe Ripple Effect

A single committed person can change the world using the slight edge philosophy.

“One of the most compelling, universal human drives is the desire to feel that we make a difference — that because we were here, the world is a better place.”

“I believe we are all, each and every one of us, graced with a unique mix of talent, passion, and vision, and that we were put here to live that out on the grand stage.” (Dharma)

“Growth creates abundance, and that abundance in turn creates responsibility.”

“I want the world to be better because I was here. I want my life, my work, my family to mean something. If you are not making someone’s life better you are wasting your time. Your life will only become better by helping make other lives better.”

Chapter 9 – But You Have to Start With A Penny

The core is: you still have to do something. It won’t just happen.

Continues to recommend reading at least 10 pages a day of great self-improvement books.

“Greatness is always in the moment of the decision.”

“Great success often starts from a tiny beginning — but there has to be a beginning. You have to start somewhere. You have to do something.”

“If you add just 1 percent of anything — skill, knowledge, effort, per day, in a year it will have more than tripled. But you have to start with the 1 percent.”

“Greatness is not something predetermined, predestined, or carved into your fate by forces beyond your control. Greatness is always in the moment of the decision.”

Part 2 – Living The Slight Edge

Chapter 10 – Two Life Paths (Choosing that you are responsible for and capable of changing your life is the most pragmatic choice)

The difference in blame and responsibility is a great way to see if you are heading towards success or failure
Taking Responsibility is the most pragmatic

“Life is a curved construction; time is its builder, and choice its master architect.” Good fucking quote.

“Taking responsibility liberates you; in fact, it is perhaps the single most liberating thing there is.”
“A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.” – John Burroughs

Interesting technique to try on page 149

“People on the failure curve use the past as a weapon with which they bludgeon themselves and the people around them.” -damn.

Choose to be pulled by a future then pushed by a past.

Chapter 11 – 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

All of us intuitively understand how to seek mastery, we did it as infants. We had to. Once we got comfortable, we seem to have forgotten this,

At it’s source, wanting is attachment, but I offer the Gita’s Dharma whenever this comes up. I believe we each have an instilled dharma destiny, and we can seek to achieve without being blindly chained to the fruits.

Successful people do the things most people don’t do because they are uncomfortable.

“People who live with huge, vivid, clearly articulated dreams are pulled along towards those dreams with such force, they become practically unstoppable.”

A nice summary of the Slight Edge: It is in the last 20% of a behavior where we start seeing the big results. Adapt a long-term mindset.

Chapter 12 – Invest in Yourself

Cultivate a practice of continuous learning

The Slight Edge is a perspective
The Next step is seeking Mastery (This fits with my work and it seems to be the meta-program for success)

Knowledge is useless if it doesn’t lead to doing; action.
Learned this lesson this year. If I want to help people, I need to focus on prescribing things to do.

Reread the good books.

There is a rhythm to learning:
Learn, then do.
Then course correction.
(The last two months will be my doing. I will recalibrate after.

Allow the internal gyroscope to operate
Give yourself a vivid, large, detailed goal

Introduces Dual Process Theory
Conscious and Unconscious mind
Thinker/Prover

The key of self-improvement seems to be
Use the ability of your Rider to think, and let the power of the elephant follow the imagined future.
In different ways this seems to be the crux of most self-improvement books and websites. Mine included.

“Knowledge without practice is useless, and practice without knowledge is dangerous.” -Confucius

“You, through the power of your own thoughts, are the most influential person in your life.”

Chapter 13 – Learn From Mentors

There is third type of learning;
Learning from modeling

Study, Model, Do.

“You can define a society by the heros it admires.” Great fucking quote

You are the average of your 5 closest friends
friends can be people you study and read about
Be very carefully who your closest 5 are
Cut out the psychic vampires

Create a Mastermind group
Find people who share a similar life vision and spend time with them
The mixing of these like minds gives rise to a mastermind.

Claims Think and Grow Rich is the best book he has read.

Chapter 14 – Use Your Slight Edge Allies

The four allies of Slight Edge

Momentum
Steady wins.
One small action every day trumps one day a week of massive action.

Completion
Write down all your open loops (Tech)
Dedicate 15 minutes a day to solving them

Reflection
Take inventory in the evening and review what you did that day (Journal) (Tech)
Protein shake
diet
Meditation
Movement
Reading
Writing

Celebration
In your journal entry at night, catch yourself doing good, and praise yourself

Use your Journal to reflect on your day
Review the habits you want to cultivate
“Catch yourself doing good” and celebrate

Chapter 15 – Cultivate Slight Edge Habits

Good Habit chapter

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

“you are a novelist, and the story you are inventing, with its rich plot and imaginative palette of distinct and believable characters, is your life.”

Do not focus on habits you want to get rid of.
Focus on habits you want to acquire that will crowd out the bad ones

Habit #1) Show Up
Do the Thing

Habit #2) Be Consistent
Do the Thing Everyday

Habit #3) Have A Positive Outlook
Losada Ratio
Do The Thing Everyday with Optimism

Habit #4) Be Committed To The Long Haul
Do The Thing, Everyday, with Optimism, for years.

Habit #5) Cultivate A Burning Desire Backed By Faith
Optimistically Do The Thing, Everyday, for years, with Faith.

Habit #6) Be Willing To Pay The Price
Be Willing to Pay The Price when you optimistically do the thing every day, for years, with faith.

Habit #7) Practice Slight Edge Integrity
Be Willing to pay the price when you optimistically do the thing everyday, for years, with faith, when nobody’s watching.

Chapter 16 – Three Steps To Your Dreams

“First comes the thought; then organization of that thought into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.” -Napoleon Hill

You must make it specific, have a deadline, and write it down.
You have to look at it everyday.
Autosuggestion: Repeat your goal to yourself at least twice a day.
You must have a plan to start with.

Create a goal, be specific and set a dealine.
Look at it every day.
Create a plan for starting, magic follows.

Say my vision to myself every morning and night.

Chapter 17 – Living the Slight Edge

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

Choosing my habits

Health = walk at least 15 minutes
Happiness = Gratitude Journal
Personal Development = Daily Pages
Finances = 10% of paychecks go to savings, 10% to investment
Career = Engage in Deep Work everyday
Impact on Word = Study Psychology everyday

Chapter 18 – Where to Go From Here

Go do it!