Wednesday, June 23, 2010


"Do the thing, and you shall have the power."
                                   - Ralph Waldo Emerson

What separates winners from losers?  What causes one to succeed where another may fail?  In Jeff Olson's "The Slight Edge", the author asserts that it is a fine line that separates most people from their dreams, and that it is the timely, consistent application of personal discipline that launches people toward great results.

According to Olson's philosophy, time will be your friend or time will be your enemy.  Time will reveal the quality of your work, or it will reveal your failure to prepare.  Like compounding interest, simple disciplines repeated daily yield amazing results.  Failure to take action, on the other hand, leads to a slow drift down a lazy river until one day you wake up at the crest of a great waterfall.  Tony Robbins calls this phenomenon "The Niagra Falls Effect".

Olson says that the world is full of negative people "because it takes far more creativity and skill to construct a building than to demolish it."  As a result, Olson says most people are in the wrecking business.

To overcome this negativity, we need to set and clearly articulate our goals.  We need to have deadlines.  And we need to work on the margins of each day to make sure we are constantly improving, constantly adding skills, and finding new ways to create value.

Olson's Slight Edge philosophy can be summarized well by a Chinese proverb:  "Be not afraid of going slowly - be only afraid of standing still."

The Slight Edge is about moving foward, all the time.  It's about working effectively, efficiently and with purpose.  It's a philosophy for gathering momentum, which leads to completion. 

In my business, it's about making one extra phone call.  Sending one extra note.  Going back to a stalled negotiation one more time.  The Slight Edge is about the doing the little things most people won't do so that you generate results that most people will not. 

It's not science, but discipline.  And personal discipline has always been the fuel that propels people to achieve their highest potential.