Never was there a truer statement.
Last week I mentioned reading this incredible book and let you know that I would be telling you about it in this post. Guess you could call it a book review.
The Slight Edge – By Jeff Olson
This book is very motivational and really sums up what a lot of other self improvement books have at their core. That is also the reason why I hesitated a little to buy it. What if I had already read everything that this book mentions? It didn’t matter. I wanted those ideas reinforced and that is exactly why I try to read these types of books whenever I can.
I’m glad I got it because he does go into what I feel is most important from the other success books but he takes it a giant step further. His focus is on the fact that you are either on a success curve or a failure curve. The problem is is that most people don’t really completely realize which one they are on until a lot of time has passed. That’s because we all make a lot of small decisions everyday that don’t have immediately noticeable results or effects.
All of those decisions compound over time until they produce visible results. This is exactly why so many people have problems with dieting and exercising and even getting started flipping houses. They will try it for a little while and will probably put forth a lot of effort. The problem comes when they don’t immediately see results. People are so quick to throw up their arms and say “this just doesn’t work”. Then come the excuses and so on and so forth.
Here are some passages and how I relate them to getting started and making this business work. (It was easy to find them again because I dog-eared the heck out of the book. Always a sign that the book was worth reading and going back to. :))
It’s how you do the “how’s” that’s most important.
Jeff states, “People everywhere are clamoring for the formula, the secret, the path to improve their lives. Tell me how you did this, so I can do it, too. Give me the definitive plan. Tell me how to…Tell me…Tell me… … But that’s not how it works. If you’re one of the millions looking for cookie-cutter answers to the great questions in life, you can call off the search right now! How to do it is not he issue. If “how do do it” were the answer, it’d be done. It’s how you do the “how’s” that’s most important.”
This is exactly why so many courses on flipping houses and real estate investing are being sold. There’s nothing wrong with that and I believe everyone should own multiple courses as I do. The problem is what is done with those courses. Merely owning them and reading them will not make you a successful house flipper.
I’d wager that the vast majority of people trying to get into this business won’t even spring for a course. Then a smaller majority will buy one but won’t go beyond reading it before they come up with excuses to not do anything the course said to do. Some will actually make a plan and try to get started. And out of those people, the reason that most don’t continue very long is because it is not what they are doing that is wrong. IT’S THAT THEY DON’T KEEP DOING THOSE THINGS LONG ENOUGH.
As Jeff mentions over and over (as he should be) the problem is not that it is hard to do the small things and make those small decisions every day, it is that it is also very easy (if not easier) to NOT do them. Therein lies the major problem. This gets back in the comfort zone thing. It’s just so much easier to stay in your safe comfort zone.
Believe me that it is just so much more exciting to get out of your comfort zone. It can be difficult to do at first, but once you do, you realize that you can do anything you can dream of. It’s very freeing and exhilarating. (Not a part of the book, just had to add my two cents.)
Have Faith and a Burning Desire
You will run into obstacles and face problems as you get into business for yourself and change your life. I feel that if you are not, you are probably staying in your comfort zone too much.
I love what Jeff says in this section, “And you can determine the size of a person by the size of the problem that keeps them down.” Amen, brother. “Successful people look at a problem and see opportunity.”
That’s all you can do. That’s all you should do. When a problem arises, you just look for a way through it and a way for it to make you better.
Past and Future
“It seems most people live with one foot in the past, saying ‘Only if things had been different, I would be successful.’ And the other foot in the future, saying ‘When this or that happens I will be happy/successful.’ And they completely ignore the present, which is all we really have.”
You’ve got to stop worrying about the past and start using today to work to where you want to be in the future. You really do need to have a crystal clear idea of where you want to be and why you want to be there. If you hadn’t read it, here is my post on Why do you want to flip houses? I hope you know where you are headed.
I think it was Jim Rohn that said, “You can’t change where you are overnight, but you CAN change your direction to where you are headed overnight.” That really sums it up. You just must know which direction to turn to and to stay heading towards.
Jeff Olson talks about how articulating what you want and what dreams you have can cause tension and make you uncomfortable. He talks about how if you tell your five closest friends these dreams and desires and how you are going to work towards them, it will make them uncomfortable because it reminds them of their want (lack).
Most people choose to give up on the dreams and desires because when they do, the tension is gone. Life is easy. But not for long…
Jeff explains it this way, “It means embracing living uncomfortably in order to attain a life that is genuinely comfortable–not deceptively comfortable.”
I want to add that you will get comfortable sooner than later as you work towards your goals and transform your philosophy.
Book Smarts Vs. Street Smarts
Books smarts are definitely useful, but only if you DO SOMETHING with them.
The book explains, “Do the thing, and you shall have the power. The only way to have the power is to do the thing. Just do it. That’s learning by doing.”
I really like this because this is what I’ve always felt that people getting into this business (or any business) should do. Learn as much as you can, but don’t wait until you know everything (which will never happen), before you get started DOING.
Start with a plan.
Jeff goes on to talk about how you need a plan so that you can work towards your dreams and goals. What separates his discussion of plans from the other books, is that he recognizes that you CANNOT possibly plan it all out.
I think a lot of people want to try and plan everything and get bogged down in the details and difficulty in doing such a thing. Then it becomes something that gets put on the back burner or an excuse. I really hate excuses.
You just need a simple plan to get started, not a plan to get you all the way to your end goals and dreams. You need something manageable so that you can take those first steps and DO something towards your goals. Get out of the planning phase. Then, when you’ve made progress and really stoked the fire of your desire to get to where you want to go you can reevaluate and plan for a little further.
If you try to plan everything upfront, you can’t possible know what circumstances you will face 5 years, 1 year or even 2 weeks from now. Make a simple plan to get started so that you can start doing.
The Slight Edge puts it this way, “Until one is committed there is always hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans; that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.”
I’ve always found that when you start doing, you REALLY LEARN the things that you’ve read and heard. You can really start to understand the full depth of what was taught. This is why it’s good to go back and read books that you’ve read several years ago. With your new experiences, you can learn so much more about what was mentioned. Things will seem more clear and you will gain a lot of new ideas.
Once you start doing, the fear that kept you from getting going will quickly recede. The fear of the unknown will disappear as you begin to see the path open up before you. Put fear in its place by doing.
At the end of the book, Jeff mentions that your income will never long exceed your own level of personal development. I believe this to be true and it’s not just your level of income, but your level of fulfillment in other areas of your life as well. This is why I buy and read books like this all the time.
Melissa has heard me talk about this book for a couple of weeks now and is going to read it. I’m very fortunate to have a wife that is as interested as I am in improving ourselves. I’m truly blessed.
I’d love to hear what you get out of the book, so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.
Also, I wanted to get some ideas from others about what book we should read next. I was thinking “Think and Grow Rich
” because that is such an awesome book. It’s been a while since I’ve read it.