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Five Things learned from “The Compound Effect”

“The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy takes a look at the way that small actions influence our lives and long-term goals every day.

The advice in this book is mostly common-sense practice that people simply ignore in their day to day lives. It does contain a lot of “aha” moments that will influence the way you operate and interact with people. The author ties each “lesson” in with powerful real world examples from his own experience as a business coach and Editor of Success Magazine.

Here’s five take away lessons that I picked up reading “The Compound Effect”:

The Compound Effect

Each day, we make thousands of big and small decisions. Every one of these decisions “compounds” with other decisions to determine whether we achieve the goals we set for ourselves. Some decisions set us on a path to a positive outcome, others to a negative outcome. This is “The Compound Effect” in action and, whether you like it or not, it’s happening every day. We’re powerless to stop it – it’s part of life.

Our actual power lies in the fact that we can choose to make the right choices that will compound to achieve desired goals we seek. This is where the book steps in to help.

Be the Tortoise

The book makes it very clear that effective change does not happen overnight. Making a “gung-ho” decision and jumping in all guns blazing to achieve your goals may appear to work in the short term. In the long run though, that effort could simply burn out your enthusiasm and lead you right back to square one. A good example is a diet blitz – cutting out all the yummy things in your diet may appear to be a good idea at first but is it sustainable?

To succeed, be the tortoise and make slow, sustainable changes to your life that you can keep steadfast to. The results will not be visible overnight but six months down the track, you will have gained a steady momentum and you’ll definitely see the benefits.

Small Changes can make a BIG Difference

An analogy is given in the book of a plane flying east from Los Angeles. Just a slight 1 ½ degree change in the plane’s direction results in a massive difference in its final destination (over 150kms). This is comparable with the small choices we make in life – small choices we make over time will either lead us to achieve our desired goals or, if we make the wrong choices, somewhere totally different.

Track Everything

To keep yourself on the right path, the book suggests tracking everything you do to achieve your desired goals. If you want to lose weight, keep a diet and exercise diary. If you want to grow your business, write down the steps that are being implemented to achieve that goal.

Tracking keeps us accountable to ourselves – it becomes a habit to record what you are doing and, if you miss a day, you will feel that you didn’t really commit on that day. This feeling alone will drive you in future to keep your tracking (and desired goal) in mind.

Make the Change a Habit

The overall message of “The Compound Effect” (for me anyway) is to make each step towards your ultimate goal part of your daily routine. Add the changes in such a way that you can commit to them every single day without fail.

Once the changes are a consistent habit, the desired goals will become part of your reality and they won’t disappear overnight like when a “quick fix” fails to deliver long term results.

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