Your Self Improvement Project – Part VI – The Compound Effect

great_idea2This is my on-going project in self-improvement. You can read prior posts on this at the links provided below at the end of this article.

The next book I chose to review and learn from is The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Here is what I learned from this book:

Darren Hardy, successful businessman, public speaker and editor of Success Magazine provides in The Compound Effect a careful study of those things we must do and those we must avoid to be successful. He teaches how small efforts, repeated over time, create compound effects – that is – they build into a much larger accomplishment than one might realize as one does the small things each day.

Likewise the compound effect also works to defeat us if we fail to do the right things each day or do the wrong things each day. That one candy bar once a week for example, adds pounds to us over the course of a year. That one apple each day can help foster greater health over time.

Hardy begins by describing how the compound effect works both to our benefit and our detriment and demonstrates how crucial it is to be aware of what we are doing and take control of the things that matter. It is about forming and sustaining good habits and defeating bad ones.

He then explains how the choices we make each day influence and drives our outcomes. He describes how positive habits build us up and create long term achievement while bad habits do the opposite.

Next he discusses momentum – how small steps taking deliberately and consistently over time build momentum which then makes it all easier and more effective over time. He explains the power of rhythm and consistency in what we do.

Finally he discusses the power of influence upon us, both good and bad, from the people with whom we associate, the things we choose to do, the way we spend our time, etc.

The book also includes various resources that you can obtain access to on-line which can deepen your experience and put the lessons learned into practice.

Some have criticized The Compound Effect as just another version of the same old ideas found in a thousand success or self-help books. In a sense this is true and Hardy, who is an unapologetic fan of Jim Rohn, cites Rohn’s observation that the principles of success are never new – they are time tested and ancient. We fail to benefit from them to the extent we fail to understand them or more often to the extent we fail to heed them.

What Hardy does in this book is repackage these ancient ideas in a more modern discussion and format using helpful illustrations and his own unique perspective about how they have worked for him and many others. There is always value in this. The more we can see how others have learned from these principles and applied them the more we will understand how we can do the same.

Hardy was raised in a much disciplined manner by a rather harsh father who was a no nonsense sports coach. With this background he naturally is comfortable with the kinds of self-discipline he urges upon the reader to achieve at a higher level. For those who are lazy or just dislike the rigor of self-discipline this book may not offer much. For anyone who is willing to do the work this book is an excellent introduction into what works.

Here are my big three lessons from this book:

  1. A great tool to determine how well or how poorly you are actually doing in any area of your life is tracking. By keeping a small notebook with you at all times and writing down what you are doing or failing to do in any area you wish to improve you will gain tremendous insight into your own success and failure.
  1. You cannot change your life or improve your life unless and until you accept complete and unconditional responsibility for your own life. This sounds simple, and it is, but it is not always easy. It is however essential to make genuine progress.
  1. One of the biggest secrets to success is to eliminate bad habits and replace them with good ones. This requires intentional planning and requires disciplined action for at least a month, often longer. It will be worth the effort.

I have done all these things to one extent or another but have not always maintained the discipline to maintain them. My next step in self-improvement is to incorporate these disciplines into my daily routines. This is how the compound effect works – small steps taken every day leading to significant achievement.

You can view past articles in this series through the links below.

10/06 Part 1

10/10 Part 2

10/24 Part 3

11/7 Part 4

11/28 Part 5

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.