When my boss asked me to read an almost 300-page book earlier this week, gave me two days to read it and submit a book report, I couldn’t help but be transported back in time. There I was, somewhere mid-1999, seated in the back row of my Geography class, with Mrs. Gaal at the whiteboard. A teacher I despised during those pubescent years but grew to love and appreciate later in life for her ability to see a light in her most troubled students and relentlessly try to nurture it. Back then, I always felt like she picked on me more than the other kids, never making sense to me how I ended up with more homework than the rest of my class mates. The 14-year-old me was convinced the woman hated my guts and was out to make my school life miserable. Had I known then what I know now, I would have been much kinder to her (thank you Mrs. Gaal wherever you are!).
When I went home on Wednesday, I was disappointed at having to clear my schedule of all the things I had been looking forward to that week. Nevertheless, I did exactly that and of the next 48 hours, I spent 11, rare and precious Chanel only hours sitting and reading a book I felt pressured to read and understand. Not answering my phone and only responding to texts that urgently required a response, the first 5-hour speed read-fest of The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen had me in a whirlwind. I was literally questioning how this man had sold so many books, why so many hash tags existed on this topic or why this book had the following it did. The first few chapters perplexed me. I wasn’t getting it.
I won’t lie, for a moment I contemplated using the summary at the end of each chapter along with notes from whatever I could find via Google search to build my own book report. Had it not been for the gnawing in my stomach, I might actually have done so but my intuition is never wrong. I had to listen. What was I missing that others the world over found so valuable? The tweets and hash tags were life changing and inspirational. Why wasn’t I getting it? It was in that moment I made the decision that my need to hit a deadline had to take a back seat to the potential this book was offering me. Speed reading The Slight Edge was not giving me the opportunity to experience what this resource had to offer. Take #2…Page 1…I needed to start all over again.
I embarked on The Slight Edge journey thinking that my boss was asking too much of me. By page 273, I realised what he was asking of me. Like my 9th grade teacher, Mrs. Gaal, he saw something in me worth nurturing.
If you haven’t already read the Slight Edge, I suggest you click this linkwww.slightedge.org and get yourself and every one you know a copy today. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Right in this moment. Because if you want to grow as a person, if you really want to walk the walk and not just talk the talk then this is where your journey starts.
If you are looking for a “Do this and you will be a millionaire in 6 months!” quick fix, then you are not yet ready for what the pages of The Slight Edge contain. What it does do, however, is remind us that success isn’t defined by how much you already have, how smart you are, what you look like and how many accolades you have sitting on your shelf or the number of zeros in your bank account. Success starts from doing what most others are not willing to do and having an appreciation for success that most others don’t have. A lot of the time it all seems like too much work without a significant return, therefore, we are just not interested enough to make the time for it
A few days ago, I was on that side of the fence too. What’s one chocolate bar? Who cares if I miss a work out session today, I’ll just go tomorrow. I can’t be bothered to make that phone call, I’ll just do it next week. I really want that coffee, it’s not like $3.50 is breaking the bank. Any of these sound familiar? Today, instead of walking straight past that fence, I jumped on the other side of it.
The further you get into The Slight Edge, the more “aha!” moments seem to pop up out of nowhere. I was stunted by the realization that the only thing threatening personal and professional success is the person staring back at you in the mirror. That the number of times you have failed, does not determine whether you will ever succeed. Brain explosions!
As I fell asleep on the couch holding The Slight Edge close to my chest, the biggest take away for me from this book was that I am only as successful as the people I surround myself with and up until now it has served my ego well to be the smartest person in the room when it should in fact, be the other way around. We are all here to learn from each other as we ebb and weave on our paths of purpose. Armed with the slight edge, I truly believe anyone willing enough can achieve the the kind of success in life all of us are seeking.