The Compound Effect

"This book is about success and what it really takes to earn it."

- The Compound Effect, page 1

As the publisher of SUCCESS magazine, Darren Hardy sits at the centre of the personal development industry. All day, each and every day, he filters through an ocean of personal achievement wisdom.

Wouldn’t it be great if he could just summarize all his lessons for us? Well that’s exactly what he did in The Compound Effect. And he did it in an engaging way that empowers us with more confidence and ideas to be more successful. Additionally, and importantly, he gives us the system and plan of action to make those changes happen.

I had the pleasure of meeting Darren Hardy recently while in New York (who by the way is every bit as charming and sincere as he sounds in the book) so I asked him “What are the two things people talk about most from your book?” He said the two things that made the biggest difference for people were:

  1. The thank you book
  2. His perfect match list

I’ll talk more about these below in insight #1 and #2. But first let’s talk about the underlining message or The Big Idea of this book.

The Big Idea

The Big Idea: The biggest takeaway from the book

The Tale of 3 Friends

"If you were given the choice between taking $3 million in cash this very instant and a single penny that doubles in value every day for 31 days, which would you choose?"
- The Compound Effect, page 10

If you chose the penny, by day 31 you would have $10,737,418.24 (!) and your friend who chose the $3 million, would likely still have $3 million. It is these small compounding effects over time that make the huge differences in our lives. And this is the The Big Idea of the book.

Hardy gives a great example of three friends. You might be able to picture them in fact. Here is the abridged version.

Larry plods along doing as he has always done.

Scott decides to make some small, seemingly inconsequential positive changes. He begins reading ten pages a day and listening to self-improvement audios, cuts 125 calories out of each day by trading a can of soda for water, starts walking an extra couple thousand steps a day.

Brad makes a few poor choices. He invests in a big screen TV so he can enjoy more of his favourite shows. He starts eating dessert more often and puts a new bar in his family room which leads him to add about one more drink per week. Nothing crazy, Brad’s just looking for a little more fun.

Ten months later – no perceivable difference is seen. But fast track to twenty-five months and we start seeing measurable, visible differences. At month twenty-seven, we see an expansive difference. And, by month thirty-one, the change is startling. Brad is now fat while Scott is trim. After investing in one thousand hours reading good books and listening to self-improvement audios, Scott earned a promotion at work and his marriage is thriving. Brad on the other hand, got sluggish from the weight gain, started feeling worse about himself and started retreating from his wife, which led to marital demise. Larry on the other hand, is exactly where he was two years ago but is now bitter about it.

You get the picture. It is the small habits we create that lead to huge compounding effects.

By the way, did you see yourself in the friends? Which one are you?

Insight #1

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Gratitude Can Change Your Wife, I Mean Life

"When I gave it to her the following Thanksgiving she cried, calling it the best gift she’d ever received. (Even better than the BMW I’d given her for her birthday!)"
- The Compound Effect, page 27

And would you believe that Darren said he was even more affected by this gift he gave his wife than she was! What was the gift, you ask? Each day for a year he secretly wrote one thing that he appreciated in her. In the end he’d filled an entire journal which showed her how much he appreciated her and maybe even more importantly, showed him! He said that by consciously looking for all the things she was doing “right” there was little room to find things to complain about.

And isn’t that the way we should move through each day; focusing on the gratitude for the things that are right; pushing out any room for complaining.

Insight #2

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Don't Want More. Become More!

"Success is something you attract by the person you become."
- The Compound Effect, page 72

Darren said that understanding this philosophy not only helped him find his wife but it also revolutionized his life. When he wanted to find a partner to marry, he made a long list (40 pages!) of traits he was looking for.  He could have then asked himself two questions:

  1. What do I have to do to get that woman?
  2. Who do I need to become to be attractive to a woman like that?

Had he focused on the first question, he thinks he would still be looking. Instead, by turning inward, and working on achieving the qualities that his ideal woman would want, she appeared before him, “as if she were peeled off the pages of my journal” (page 73).

He quotes Jim Rohn, a mentor of his, who said “If you want to have more, you have to become more. Success is not something you pursue. What you pursue will elude you; it can be like trying to chase butterflies. Success is something you attract by the person you become.”
It appears to be so simple. So why don’t people do it? It requires discipline and patience.

The Compound Effect gives us ideas that – when combined with consistent, positive action – will make a real and lasting difference in your life. I highly recommend you read it, again and again. I know I will.

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Jill Donahue

ABOUT Jill Donahue

Everything I do is focused on improving patient outcomes. I do that by being a student and teacher of ethical, effective influence. I teach pharma people and health care professionals how to improve their ability to influence others...
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