Chapter 2 of The Slight Edge is entitled “The Secret of Easy Things.” In it, Olson makes the point what separates high achievers (which he defines as the top 5%) is their consistency. In his words, “That’s what successful people do: simple things that are easy to do.” The first time I read the book I tripped over this sentence. I repeatedly read what lead up to it believing I had missed something important, or it was some sort of Zen meditation. It isn’t. It is just as straightforward as it read.
It’s his next point that makes this clear. If simple, consistent action creates success (however you define it) and is easy to do, then you would think more than 5% of the population would be super successful at whatever matters to them. Here my friends is the answer, “Because they’re all also easy not to do – and while anyone could do them, most won’t.”
“Here’s the problem: every action that is easy to do, is also easy not to do.” Boom.
This may be the great stylistic divide between Olson and Goggins *waves to Tulip*. Olson is insistent that small, repeated steps lead to great achievements over time. This is the critical thrust of his book. There is no one great leap to success. Your initial results are invisible. They are real, you are achieving something, you are progressing. But whether it’s finances, relationships, or fitness, your initial positive actions provide little or nothing in the way of a visible achievement though those achievements are real. You either need faith you are building on success after success, or you need to spend some time envisioning where you will be well down the road.
Olson tells the story of someone who commits to reading 10 pages of a book per day. It’s easy to do and easy not to do. After a week of reading, that person is 70 pages into a book. That’s nice but it is unlikely that person, their family, or friends will notice anything coming from it. A year of reading 10 pages per day yields 3,650 pages. I estimate that’s about ten to twelve books. Imagine reading ten to twelve books on art, cooking, investing, history, or any other topic that interests you. This isn’t rhetorical. Take a moment to picture yourself a year from now having done that. You can’t help but gain a level of expertise.
What easy thing, done consistently, will make a big impact on your life?
As predicted, Gavin Newsom won’t relinquish his emergency powers on June 15th. I may just be an unfrozen caveman California lawyer, but I cannot fathom the Constitutional underpinning for continuing to invoke and exercise these powers. Don’t get me wrong, California’s Supreme Court is well to the political left and is exceedingly unlikely to sustain any challenges to Newsom’s claimed authority. I’m having trouble even making the argument an emergency of any kind still exists. I don’t think this alone is enough get Newsom recalled but his penchant to continually step on rakes gives me some hope he will be recalled.
Weekly cuteness. I think this could be Rhywun if he rode a bike. P.S. Festus I saw your belated shout out from last week’s article.
This week’s music is for Newsom.