04: The Slight Edge

(Check us out on iTunes!)

Wally and I renamed the podcast to Active Recall. I explained some of the reasoning in this episode and in my previous newsletter post. This week, we discussed The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. Amazing book. Here are some other links:

Some additional notes about the book

This excerpt gives a good sense of what The Slight Edge is about:

The truth is, what you do matters. What you do today matters. What you do every day matters. Successful people just do the things that seem to make no difference in the act of doing them and they do them over and over and over until the compound effect kicks in.

Everything adds up. even the small things. Particularly the small things. Even if you don’t know think about the slight edge it still has an effect on you and has had an affect on you your entire life. This book brings awareness to the small things that you do everyday. These are the decisions you don’t think about often. 

There’s often a bad habit where a good habit might be. If they’re bad then you can work to change them or remove them completely. You can structure things and change your environment so that you make good decisions without thinking.

These daily habits complement deliberate practice. Deliberate practice means you’re trying to improve the skill efficiently. You work at it for a few hours each day. It’s hard and it it should stretch you. The Slight Edge talks about the time outside of your deliberate practice. Professional athletes work hard in practice. It’s structured and deliberate. The rest of the day is structured to do the small things right. It all adds up.

There’s a book called Will It Make the Boat Go Faster? I haven’t read it, but I did read a summary on Blinkist. It’s about creating a focusing question. It’s by a member of the Men’s Rowing Eight team that won gold at the 2000 Olympics. “Will it make the boat go faster?” could be asked throughout the day to make the right decisions, even for the small things. If you have a goal in mind then you can think of a focusing question that will help guide you to make the small choices that matter day in and day out.

You can set big goals for the future but you only get there one step at a time. Once in a while they’ll be giant leaps, but they’ll usually be baby steps. Make sure they’re going in the right direction.