Improving yourself, being more productive and achieving success
We all want to find that key to success, right? Right, but did you know, that this “key” has always been right before your nose? If you do not wish to live a dull life, stuck in a place you do not want to be, then it is about time to start taking action. This will require effort and discipline. Whether you succeed or fail, is completely up to you. But it is not anything complicated that you have to do either, so no worries. If you follow these simple steps that I am about to tell you, I can guarantee, your overall life quality, self-confidence, self-image and self-love is going to massively improve. Let’s get started.
To be honest, every decision you make, more or less, has an impact on your future. Yes, you may not feel the impact of small, every day decisions today, tomorrow or even next month, but it is there. We massively undervalue the importance of these decisions, because we may not even notice that something has changed. People always expect to get results the next moment after they did something. But that is not how the world works. You cannot reach your goals in a whim of an eye blink. If you want to be successful in life, you need 3 key elements:
You do not need to be super smart to be successful. Every person on this planet is already equipped with the tools necessary to make a happy and prosperous life for themselves. I can guarantee that every wealthy businessmen, tech giant, actor, athlete and even the so called geniuses, live by the steps I am going to tell you. There is no easy way how to become rich and/or succeed in life, whatever your goals may be.
First off, let us get one thing straight - none of the people you look up to, is in some way different from you,do not glorify them as demigods or similar beings who are far more superior than you are. They have had and still have the same tools that you do. But where they have excelled to reach the heights of success, are the 3 key elements I just mentioned. None of the people that the whole world knows, achieved great success by just hoping in dumb luck. They took action. They were patient. And they set goals to achieve and stuck with them. That is exactly the same thing you must start doing right from this moment. I want you to think for a moment, what do you want from life? What is your key to happiness? How would you define life fulfillment? Do that right now, write it down. No, seriously, do not just skip past this, write it down. This is a great way took look back at your goals every day and determine, are you moving towards those goals or away from them? Which path are you taking right now? It is time to take the right path to success.
There is no simple magic trick to make you rich or reach your goals. Do you think Mozart was a genius? Einstein? Tiger Woods? Well, depends how you define a genius. Their fame did not come easy to them. They have trained, tried and failed more times than you can count, before reaching the very top. Key to success is doing small things every single day. That is correct. Keep on reading, as I am going to explain how this works and how it has tremendously helped me and, actually, still is aiding me in improving myself every day. I learned this wisdom, whilst reading Jeff Olsons book - The Slight Edge . I strongly believe, that this is a must read book for every ambitious person on this planet. If you are looking how to be successful, then this book covers the very basics, at where you need to start. With this knowledge, you will be able to pave your path to happiness and fulfillment. I am going to share some of the wisdom that Jeff Olson transferred to me through this medium called “The Slight Edge”. But I really recommend to actually buy the book and read it, if you wish to get the full experience and blast of motivation to take control of your life in your own hands. IF you are looking to buy the best personal development book, then I probably would suggest to add this to you list. To give you and example, here is a graph about how personal development tips learned here helped me improve my average grade (From scale 1 - 10) in college. Pretty impressive, right? (I added only 4 semesters of data, because later on the grades drop again, as I worked almost full time and had to attend college as well. My main focus was my job at the time.) I am going to touch this topic in more detail a little bit further. This is what helped me turn my life around for the better, although, it took some time before I actually realized that I have stumbled upon the path to success.
Road to success is pretty simple and as I already mentioned, it goes like this - do small things every day. Yes,that is just that simple. It is the same idea behind “The Slight Edge”. These small things require minimal effort and struggle. So, if it is that simple and everyone can do this to achieve success, then why isn’t every single person on the planet crowned successful? Well, there is, as always, a catch! A person must hold on to the earlier mentioned 3 key elements. Unfortunately, that is where huge percentage of people fail. And no, you cannot rely on just one or two, I strongly believe you need all three. Let us use myself as a case study, so we have something real to relate to. During second year of university (Oh yes, again me and my experience in university. Boy, did I learn a ton during that year. You can check out about my struggles there in my other blog posts.) I somehow found this gem, called “The Slight Edge”. I had not read a book in a really long time, wanted to improve myself and my life in general, so thought, why not, let’s try. Started reading it and I actually liked it, because it was full of solid advice and Jeff Olson perfectly managed to present these kind of common sense things that we usually do not think about during our every day lives very well. Whilst reading, I felt bursts of motivation to actually try some of the advice mentioned there. It was pretty easy to start, as starting small is nothing difficult. I was generally a really lazy person, still am a bit. I was the kind of student, who did almost nothing during the course of the semester and then cussed and stressed, as I was cramming all the knowledge required to pass my exams the night before. But this time, I listened to Olsons advice. I started small. “Okay,” I told myself “at least 20, 30 minutes of doing homework every day, so I do not have to pull my hair out at the end of semester.” I started doing just that. At times, it was more or less difficult to gather up enough will power to do even 20, 30 minute homework sessions, but I did it. I had already found out that doing short sessions is not that hard and painful as spending whole evening studying. So I kept at it, by the end of semester these sessions had become one or even two hour sessions per day. It was like a habit that had formed in time span of about 2 or 3 months. I had finished the book by then and mostly forgot about Olsons advice and needing to keep on track. And the reason for that is, it became just a natural thing to do every day. (well, okay, I probably skipped some days, when I had other plans or there just was not any homework to be done) It did not feel like some weight on my shoulders anymore, I was mentally adjusted to this kind of rhythm by now. When the exams came, for the first time, I watched from the sidelines, as everyones ass was on fire, rushing to complete the tasks that were assigned during the semester. I had no homeworks to worry about, because I had done ALL of them way before exams came. And, for the first time, I was not worried about the exams at all, even calculus, because, little by little, I had filled my head with knowledge during those short learning sessions. Success is in the details! Guess what happened - I passed with flying colors! My average was all time high. When starting college, my average grade was, well, below average compared to other students. And now I was between the top students. Wow, never would have even dreamed of that happening.
Although, I did not consciously strictly live by the rules of “The Slight Edge”, I did subconsciously. These small sessions of studying, that were not so small anymore, became a part of my life. A habit, if you will. And I realized how deep of an impact Olsons book left only some time later. Often heard how people around me complained about how they want to improve themselves, do this and do that, but they have no time and such… While at the same time also talking about how lazy they are and how they do nothing all day long. It is not like I did not understand them, I was more or less the same way. “I want to improve myself / my particular skill / learn something, but I just do not have the time.” You name it, but you have probably heard that before and probably been the one saying these phrases as well. You mean to tell me, you cannot even find 20 minutes a day to improve yourself? I doubt that. I guess the biggest roadblock to utilize this simple self improvement strategy is patience. Because you won’t see the results today and that is what all people are looking for. That one simple, easy, quick trick. I am sorry to shatter your hopes, but there is none. To succeed, you need to bleed. The thing with these small, seemingly unimpactful things is, we do not see the result immediately. We may not even see it months after, because it has already become a habit and you are used to it. You may not feel the change. But, believe me, others will. These learning sessions for me did not stop, they are still with me every day, I just do not notice them. I noticed it became a habit to learn something every day. And I still do that, but with no effort at all, it is subconscious to me. I may not even know that I am in the learning process anymore. I enjoy it. I am programmer and I tinker with something new all the time and it has massively helped in my career. I definitely am climbing the career ladder much faster than my peers. At the moment, this habit has moved to a phase, where I try to find time for improving myself every day. Either I read 10 pages of a book or learn some new techniques in the field of programming, I am improving myself every day. If there is a day that I do not do at least one of these things, I feel the day has been wasted. It has become uncomfortable to stagnate.
These little things you do every day determine the path you are going. You are either going upwards or downwards. Each decision if of importance. This can be applied to any situation, really. You want to lose weight? Running is too hard? Try doing that for just 2 or 3 minutes every day. You can do that right? After some time, you start running longer, cover longer distances, you may not even notice it that well and think, well it is not that hard, actually, I guess everyone can do it. And then will come the moment of revelation, probably months after doing this, when others start noticing the change in your physique and asking, how did you do that, what is your secret? And then you will have that eureka moment - “Hey! Doing small things every day actually worked”. Your self confidence is going to improve massively and you will be more determined and motivated as never before. That is a great feeling. But now imagine, you start running, for example, for two minutes,some days go by, you do not see any change at all from this, your motivation starts to plummet and with that, determination to reach your goal as well. So you start slacking off. Every day, you have a choice, go for a small run or buy that delicious chocolate and watch tv series all day (The same idea can be applied to any discipline in life). Guess what then happens? You are going downwards. Your life is not going in the direction of fulfillment, it is going the opposite direction, the direction of misery and self pity.
In his book Jeff Olson shows this illustration about going either upwards or downwards with your small everyday decisions. Your daily choices determine which curve you are on. And as you can see, only 5% of the people in this world, are on the success curve. Those are the people who are determined toreach their goals and are patiently building their success. Why are only 5%? Well, because going the downward curve is more comfortable at the beginning. You need to motivate yourself to start taking control of your life and changing it for the better. But with time, going downwards is going to become more and more uncomfortable, because your life is going downwards as well. Your bad decisions will have compounded and you will be drowning in a sea of problems. It is completely the opposite about making small decisions to improve your life. They are easy to do, but may feel a bit uncomfortable at first, but later on, you get used to them. And when you will start feeling your life is improving, it will become very comfortable to keep doing these things. Your life is taking a turn for the better and there is no way you will even consider a thought of stopping there. You will always want to reach higher and higher. And you will. As long as you live your life by the philosophy of consistently making the right decisions every day.
So the part where most people fail is being patient and consistent. To help you out with that, you should set small goals for yourself along the way. And reward yourself each time you reach them. Because results are compounded over some period of time, let us try and visualize this a little bit better using Jeff Olsons examples from his book. Imagine, if you improved yourself by 1% every day in some area. Would you feel the difference at the moment you improved yourself by 1%? Probably not. After a week, when it would be 7%? Doubt that. Probably not even after a month you would be able to clearly see that. But what happens, if you constantly improved yourself every day for a year? That would mean you have improved yourself by 365%. Pretty impressive, considering it required so little effort from you. That was just some small decision every day made for you, not against you. But imagine, you tried to improve yourself by 365% in one day. What would have happened? You would have burned out. You would have 0 energy after that and you would find any excuse to avoid doing that ever again. And most likely you probably would not be able to reach nowhere near the 365%. But doing small disciplines every day take almost no effort at all and may feel like it has no effect on you. But it does, that effort you put in in the time span of 365 days, amounts to quite impressive work done and the result has compounded over time. Basically, this philosophy just distributes the effort required to reach your goals in smaller and more realistic fractions. Consistency is the key to achieve your goals. This philosophy of living is great, because people often lack motivation to keep on going if they put in a lot of effort in short time span and do not immediately see the results. Usually we want to avoid things that require a lot of effort and burns us out. But by consistently making decisions that work for us every day requires minimal amounts of effort and still moves us towards success and life fulfillment.
This philosophy has definitely changed my life for the better. Every year, I tend to aim higher and higher and I really do believe sky is the limit for every person out there looking to become successful. That is the reason I wanted to share my experience with you. There is a big chance you are reading this, because this is the main idea behind the answer to the question I asked long time ago - how to improve my personal and professional life?This philosophy is the answer I found. Hopefully, starting this moment, you are going to make small decisions every day that will put your life on the upwards going curve of success. If you are still not fully convinced then I urge you to get your copy of Jeff Olsons “The Slight Edge”, as I just did the groundwork for this philosophy. There is so much more to it and some great examples with people from around the world, I guess I am another successful case study here. Best of luck and remember - You are the one who is at the steering wheel of your life. You choose which road to take and the destination at the end of it.
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