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The Compound Effect: Notes

You understand what this book is all about from its title: How small, targeted steps and habits over time will add up. A simple, but high-energy and motivational self development book written by the founder of SUCCESS Magazine, Darren Hardy. Several inspirational real life examples of the compound effect at work, and several useful techniques and strategies to improve yourself in every aspect of life.

The author
The author

Darren Hardy is an American author, keynote speaker, advisor, and former publisher of SUCCESS magazine.

Notes

I want you to know in your bones that your only path to success is through a continuum of mundane, unsexy, unexciting, and sometimes difficult daily diciplines compounded over time.

If we want to succeed, we need to recover our grandparent’s work ethic.

Darren Hardy

Your biggest challenge isn’t that you’ve intentionally been making bad choices. Your biggest challenge is that you’ve been sleepwalking through your choices. Nobody intends to become obese, go through bankruptcy, or get a divorce, but most often those consequences are the result of a series of small, poor choices.

If I always took 100 percent responsibility for everything I experienced – completely owning all of my choices and all the ways I responded to whatever happened to me – I held the power. Everything was up to me. I was responsible for everything I did, didn’t do, or how I responded to what was done to me.

From this day forward, choose to be 100 percent responsible for your life. Eliminate all of your excuses. Embrace the fact that you are freed by your choices, as long as you assume personal responsibility for them. It’s time to make the choice to take control.

Go for whole-life success – balance in all the aspects of life that are important to you: business, finances, health, family, lifestyle and relationships.

Track your progress

You cannot manage or improve something until you measure it. Likewise, you can’t make the most of who you are – your talents, resources and capabilities – until you are aware of and accountable for your actions.

Pick an area of your life where you most want to be successful. I want you to track every action that relates to that area of your life. If you want to get out of debt, you’re going to track every penny you pull from your pocket. If you want to lose weight, you’re going to track everything you put in your mouth. This process forces you to be conscious of your decisions.

It’s time to WAKE UP and realize that the habits you indulge in could be compounding your life into repeated disaster. The slightest adjustments to your daily routines can dramatically alter the outcomes of your life

Darren Hardy

Position yourself for luck

The complete formula for getting lucky:
Preparation + attitude + opportunity + action = luck

“When I asked Richard Branson if he felt luck played a part in his success, he answered, “Yes of course, we are all lucky. If you live in a free society, you are lucky. Luck surrounds us every day; we are constantly having lucky things happen to us, whether you recognize it or not. I have not been any more lucky or unlucky than anyone else. The difference is when luck came my way, I took advantage of it.”

It’s a funny thing; the more I practice, the luckier I get

Arnold Palmer

The biggest difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people are not. Successful people aren’t necessarily more intelligent or more talented than anyone else. But their habits take them in the direction of becoming more informed, more knowledgeable, more competent, better skilled, and better prepared.

For example: by listening to something instructional why commuting, you will gain knowledge equivalent to two semesters of an advanced college degree – every year. Think about it; using the time you’re currently wasting by listening to radio or generic music, you could obtain the equivalent of Ph.D. in leadership, sales success, wealth building, relationship excellence – or whatever course you choose.

Action steps

Write out the half-dozen small, seemingly inconsequential steps you can take every day that can take your life in a completely new and positive direction.

Write down the small, seemingly inconsequential actions you can stop doing that might be compounding your results downward.

List a few areas, skills or outcomes where you have been most successful in the past. Consider whether you could be taking those for granted and are not continuing to improve, and are therefore in jeopardy of having that complacency lead to future failure.

Where in your life are you not taking 100 percent responsibility for the success or failure of your present condition? Write down three things you have done in the past that have messed things up. List three things you should have done but didn’t. Write out three things that happened to you but you responded poorly. Write down three things you can start doing right now to take back responsibility for the outcomes of your life.

Identify your triggers: look at your list of bad habits. Identify what triggers them.

Your why

The power of your why is what gets you to stick through the grueling, mundane, and laborious. All of the hows will be meaningless until your whys are powerful enough. Until you’ve set your desire and motivation in place, you’ll abandon any new path you seek to better your life. If your why-power isn’t great enough, if the fortitude of your commitment isn’t powerful enough, you’ll end up like every other person who makes a New Year’s resolution and gives up too quickly and reverts to sleepwalking through poor choices.

Goals

The one skill most responsible for the abundance in my life is learning how to effectively set and achieve goals. Something almost magical happens when you organize and focus your creative power on a well-defined target. I’ve seen this time and again: the highest achievers in the world have all succeeded because they mapped out their visions. The person who has a clear, compelling, and white-hot burning why will always defeat even the best of the best at doing the how.

Choice + behavior + habit + compounded = goals

Top people have very clear goals. They know who they are and they know what they want. They write down and they make plans for its accomplishment. Unsuccessful people carry their goals around in their head like marbles rattling around in a can, and we say a goal that is not in writing is merely a fantasy.

Every morning at 7 a.m., I have what I call my calibration appointment, where I take fifteen minutes to calibrate my day. This is where I brush over my top three one-year and five-year goals, my key quarterly objectives, and my top goal for the week and month. Then I review (or set) my top three MVPs (Most Valuable Priorities) for that day, asking myself, “If I only did three things today, what are the actions that will produce the greatest results in moving me closer to my big goals?

Right now I’m working on adding more adventure into my life. I set weekly, monthly, and yearly goals to do something I wouldn’t normally do. Most of the time it’s nothing earth-shattering, but things such as eating different kinds of foods, taking a class, visiting a new destination, or joining a club to meet new people.

It’s important to cash out your day’s performance. Compared to your plan for the day, how did it go? What do you need to carry over to tomorrow’s plan? What else needs to be added, based on what showed up throughout the day? What’s no longer important and needs to be scratched out? Additionally, I like to log into my journal any new ideas, ah-has or insights I picked up throughout the day – this is how I’ve collected more than forty journals of incredible ideas, insights, and strategies. All hell can break loose throughout the day, but because I control the bookends, I know I’m always going to start and finish strong.

Develop your own personal board of advisors

I’ve hand-selected a dozen people because of their areas of expertise, creative thinking ability, and/or my great respect for who they are. Once a week I reach out to a few of them and solicit ideas, run thoughts by them, and ask for feedback and input. Having started this process, I can tell you the benefits I’ve already received have been profound – far more than I anticipated! It’s surprising the genius people are willing to share when you show sincere interest.

After spending a couple of hours with Paul, hearing about his plans, ventures and activities, my head would spin. Just trying to make sense of all he had going on exhausted me. After time with Paul, I’d want to go take a nap! But my association with him raised my game. His walking pace was my running pace. It expanded my ideas about how big I could play and how ambitious I could be. You have to get around people like that!

Don’t wish for easy

When conditions are great, things are easy, there aren’t any distractions, no one is interrupting, temptations aren’t luring, and nothing is disturbing your stride; that too is when most everyone else does great. It’s not until situations are difficult, when problems come up and temptation is great, that you get to prove your worthiness for progress.

This is perfect attacking weather, mainly because I know the others don’t like it. I believe that nobody in the world is better at suffering. It’s a good day for me.

Lance Armstrong

Be extraordinary

Regarding applying for a job: Research all the people in the organization. Take that list and run it by your entire network to see if they know anyone who might know someone in this organization. Search every name against your LinkedIn database. Find a few people to connect with. Talk with them and ask them to put in a good word for you. Send them gifts, notes, and other things, and ask them to hand-deliver these things to the decision makers. Phone, e-mail, text, tweet and Facebook them during the process. Could this be overly aggressive? Heck, yes! But I have found that you may lose one out of five for being too aggressive, but you get the other four!”

Do what it takes, even the unexpected, to make your case heard. Add a little audacity to your repertoire.

Darren Hardy

It takes very little extra to be extraordinary. In all areas of your life, look for the multiplier opportunities where you can go a little further, push yourself a little harder, last a little longer, prepare a little better, and deliver a little bit more. Where can you do better and more than expected? Where can you do the totally unexpected? Find as many opportunities for “WOW,” and the level and speed of your accomplishments will astonish you… and everyone else around you.