As I start this blog, it’s difficult to truly know where to begin. I want to share with you all the tools and all the techniques that I am using, and will be using, to achieve my goals. The problem is, I’m now dragging myself out of a slump. So where do I begin?
I have already read plenty of books. I’ve already tried out and utilised many apps. I’ve implemented lots and lots of productivity and anti-procrastination systems.
Not only does that leave me with some trouble regarding how to introduce all of my readers to those things, it also leaves me with the problem of how best to reintegrate each of those back into my life.
I honestly don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I do know that I will. The most important thing is that I initially introduce to you the goals that I have myself in life. And also I’m going to introduce to you a principal that is vitally important within my belief system.
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
I read the compound effect by Darren Hardy a number of years ago for the 1st time and the concept has always stuck with me, remaining an important part of my life. I’ve read it multiple times again over the years and listened to it in its audio format. It’s actually available to listen to for free on YouTube if any of you are interested.
I read this book again this morning because of how important it has been to my way of progressing through life. It has actually illuminated some of my fears from the introductory portion of this article. Before progressing any further, though, let me introduce you to the compound effect.
The compound effect is basically the idea that any minute action, repeated, will lead to a far greater result. If we think about this in terms of investing, Warren Buffett immediately springs to mind. Possibly the greatest businessman and investor the world has ever seen, Warren Buffett embodies the compound effect (his biography aptly named The Snowball).
By investing his money, Mr. Buffett earns interest on his initial yearly investment. He then plunges all of that money back into his investments, meaning that the following year he has invested his initial sum plus the interest that he accrued during his 1st year. That means his 2nd year of investing earns him interest on his initial sum plus his 1st year’s interest. After a prolonged period of time, the results of investing using the compound effect are astonishing.
Just in case that didn’t make any sense to anyone, the title of his biography is a perfect metaphor for the compound effect. Imagine making a small snowball, and putting it at the top of the hill. As you roll it down the hill more snow clings to the Snowball. By the time it reaches the bottom of the hill that snowball is huge. There is a far greater surface area for far more snow to stick to it, the further it rolls.
So how does all that help guide my life? It is the idea that each habit I have, that I repeat on a regular basis, has led me to lead the life I currently live. It has led to my financial situation, my health, my family, my lifestyle and even how I feel spiritually.
I’m 23 years old and until this point, I have not led my life along a predetermined route. I’ve not actively tried to control my habits, nor have I actively tried to control my destination. Yet, I have still arrived at this point due to the decisions I have made.
Mr. Hardy starts the book in a manner that introduces self-reflection. He makes you look at your own life in order for you to understand why you are living the life you are currently living. Before you make any change, you need to know what you’re changing, and evidently, there are going to be lots of things necessary to change.
At this point, though, it’s enough for me to admit that I’m living this life because I’ve chosen to, based on every decision I have ever made. That’s quite powerful thought. It’s also an essential construct that you must understand if you want to move forward and make a change.
Let me reiterate that point for a final time. You and you alone are responsible for the circumstances you find yourself in. You, and you alone are the only person that is capable of making a change. And finally, all change is due to each and every decision you make each day.
The next point that Darren explains is that you need to be able to handle your initial expectations. Do not think that just because you understand the concepts within this book, or any book, that you can apply them and see immediate success. The idea of becoming an overnight success story is flawed, as you don’t have the privilege of seeing the countless hours of struggle that led to those overnight success stories.
In my head at the moment I have the idea of going to the gym when I go back to university. I also really like the idea of taking up a martial art. But I don’t think I’ve handled my expectations fantastically well. Rather than looking at the actual situation I will find myself in, I’m dreaming about how cool it will be when I’m the world’s strongest man and a 7th-degree black belt.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t look to the future, I’m merely saying that you shouldn’t live there.
Key Points of the Compound Effect
The main idea that I want you to take away from this article is that every single decision you make is one step further toward a destination. It isn’t necessarily a destination you have chosen, but each decision will land you somewhere.
In order to make sure that you end up at a destination you’re happy with, you need to plan. You need to decide on clear, defined and focused goals. You need to understand your purpose for having selected those goals and understanding your true motivation for achieving them. And ultimately you need to connect each and every decision you make to your motivation and your goals.
The next point is to understand that if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always gotten. Of course, your actions need to change in order to change your trajectory, but more important than that is to analyse the sort of person that could achieve those goals and live that life. You need to focus on the attributes, the behaviours and the characteristics necessary for a person to accomplish those goals.
As you go about your day, try to make a note of all of the bad habits that you have. Write them down in a notebook as soon as you find yourself doing them, and make the list as wholesome and complete as possible. Many of those bad habits are going to represent the incongruity between who you are as a person and what you want to accomplish. One by one, and again take your time on this, phase out the bad habits and replace them with ones that you would be happy for the compound effect to multiply.
The final point is that motivation is a very fleeting factor in our lives and will contribute far less to success than discipline. The only way that you can really make all of these new habits and changes stick is if you are able to create a routine to maintain momentum. You need to find a way to integrate any change into your daily life as fluidly as possible.
I understand that this article opens up a lot more questions than it answers. How do you best find your bad habits? How do you best eliminate them? How do you easily adapt good habits into your daily routine? How should you set goals?
Those are just a handful of the questions that I now have sifting through my mind, and I know that there are many more. Hopefully, as this blog progresses and I learn more and more, I will be able to answer them. For now, I’m just going to focus on the last one.
How should you set goals? I don’t really know. At this present moment of writing, I don’t know how to effectively set goals but I do have a couple of things to add that might help.
The 1st is that any goal you set should be as specific and measurable as possible. The 2nd is that any goal you set should be written down and preferably left somewhere that you will see it each day. Goals should be specific and measurable in order for you to know whether you actually achieve them, and they should be written down because any thought floating around in your mind can easily be misconceived by your mind as something that you have already achieved.
Here are a few goals that I have, but bear in mind I will add more and adjust them at any time when I feel more qualified to do so.
• I will have at least 100 daily visitors to my blog by the end of the year.
• I will start video blogging consistently to correspond with the articles on this blog and have at least 100 viewers per video by May 24, 2017 (my 24th birthday).
• I will earn at least £10 per month passively online by the end of the year.
• I will achieve at least 80% in every exam I sit and every piece of coursework I submit from here on out.
• I will read at least one book per week until the end of the year.
• I will continue to train my memory each day until memorisation is effortless and reliable.
• I will make a conscious effort to have my diet made up of at least 80% clean foods.
• I will begin weight training at least 3 times per week by the end of the year.
• I will join a martial arts school by the end of the year assuming my work and university timetable correspond with their lesson times.
I can see from my goals the behaviours that I need to change and the attributes and characteristics I need to develop in order to achieve said goals. I will try to identify the bad habits I currently have that held me back from achieving those goals and identify the greatest way to eliminate them.
I want to end this article by reminding myself of 3 key principles that are going to help me accomplish everything I could ever dream of.
Small, positive, daily actions progress into big success.
I will always benefit myself by pushing a little bit more.
The most important thing I can ever do is consistently show up.