How To Make The Compound Effect Work For You

“You already know what you need to succeed. you don’t need to learn anything more. If all we needed was more information, everyone with an internet connection would live in a mansion, have abs of steel, and be blissfully happy. New or more information is not what you need — a new plan of action is. It’s time to create new behaviors and habits that are oriented away from sabotage and towards success. It’s that simple.”

- Darren Hardy

Darren Hardy purchased and relaunched Success magazine in 2008 and made his name in the personal development training and media space, the former real estate agent was interested in turning the magazine into a device for finding out universal truths and what really worked in personal development.

Hardy was willing to make himself into a human guinea pig to test the strategies and ideas that had made their way onto the pages of the magazine.

While it is fine to model yourself after successful people, Hardy says, it is more important to study the people who are closest to you, not just over weeks or months but over decades, and see how they consistently behave.

Hardy learned the first truth of success from his dad, it is that success is hard, it takes a long time, and it is sometimes boring. This is not what people normally want to hear when it comes to achievement but Hardy tells us in way that makes it still seem worth while.

“As a society, we’ve been deceived. We’ve been hypnotized by commercial marketing, which convinces you of problems you don’t have and sells you on the idea of insta-fixes to ‘cure’ them. We’ve been socialized to believe in fairy-tale endings found in movies and novels. We’ve lost sight of good, old-fashioned hard and consistent work.”

- Darren Hardy

Baby Steps

In a nutshell, Hardy’s The Compound Effect is about the results you can gain when you make a series of small and smart choices, most of which don’t feel like they make a difference (but do).

Because we don’t feel like these choices are significant, we become easily convinced that they don’t matter. When you start to run a few times a week, you might give up after a few weeks because you haven’t lost weight.

Little do we realize that if we keep up a habit of running for months and years then a real transformation would take place and your health would be significantly improved.

Every single choice we make creates our life, and most of us are barely aware that we are making them. “Nobody intends to become obese, go through bankruptcy, or get a divorce,” Hardy says, “but often (if not always) those consequences are the result of a series of small, poor choices.”

Ditch your “lottery winner” belief that success only happens to lucky people. Any seemly over-night success is the result of practices and habits put in place for years, if you think otherwise then you are fooling yourself.

Hardy continues to say that we need to recall the ethics of our grandparents, who knew that a certain amount of endurance was what it took to amount to anything, “I want you to know in your bones, that your only path to success is through a continuum of mundane, unsexy, unexciting, and sometimes difficult daily disciplines compounded over time.” There is no other way.

Taking Responsibility

If you blame someone else for your life not going the way you want it to, then it means you aren’t taking full responsibility for your life. Whatever happens to your company, the economy, or in politics, you are still 100% in control of YOU.

Realizing this truth is not something depressing, Hardy remarks, it is freeing. It makes you aware of your actions, leads you to do things that will only benefit you, and it also enables you to disregard the things that don’t.

If you feel like you have it bad then always remember that there are people who have it worse off than you, they live in absolute poverty, they are forced to be ruled by dictators or warlords, with bad roads and unreliable electricity, water, and internet.

The famous Richard Branson told Hardy, “ Luck is all around us,” it is just a matter of noticing it. To put the burden of your circumstances or environment onto someone else is a rejection of your own freedom.

Earlier in his career, Hardy had gotten involved in a business venture that lost him a large amount of money; while the cause was his business partner spending and mismanaging the funds, Hardy ultimately blamed himself instead of the partner because he wasn’t taking the time to see what was up with the business like he should have been.

He decided he was gonna learn from his mistake and move on.

In whatever space you find successful people in they always got that way through making themselves accountable for their own actions. In sports, top athletes track every calorie and macro-nutrient, they track every rep and lap they do. In medicine, doctors track how long they spend with each patient at each time of the day, to better optimize the amount of patients they see.

Hardy says “you cannot manage or improve something until you measure it.” If you want to make a change in your life, whether through your health or your finances, then you need to be writing down and tracking every decision you make.

All your unconscious habits will all of a sudden become conscious because you will be seeing the pattern of your behavior on paper.

You owe it to yourself to get serious about your goals and how you are using your time, energy, and money. Tracking shows us our habits, and it is our habits that cause us to fail or succeed.

Building Strong Habits

Really successful people have strong daily routines, people who aren’t successful on the other hand, are generally unorganized and just work when they feel like it. They don’t have the foundation of unbreakable routines and habits that successful people do.

Anyone who flies a plane knows that if they are just 1 degree off course, they will be nowhere near the destination in a matter of hours. A small change in your habits can have a huge positive or negative impact in the future.

In the book there is a story of two friends. One friend makes a commitment to exercise each week, reads 20 minutes a day, and compliments his wife everyday. The other friend doesn’t see the need for such a change and buys a bigger television to watch his shows.

In a year there isn’t a big difference between the two men.

In five years, the one who chose exercise is doing more of it, he is educating himself on personal development and how to make his relationship even better. The second man now has a man cave so he can spend more time alone and he drinks a few beers each night.

In 10 years, there is an even more drastic difference, the first guy has a healthy body and mind, plus a successful marriage. The other one is growing (wide) and because he never thought about improving himself or his marriage, he never becomes educated, and blames all his problems on others, his wife, the government, and his boss. He is what most people would consider a loser.

Your habits don’t lie, and whatever people say is important to them, it’s their habits and behaviors that speak the truth.

How many hours do you spend glued to your phone, how much is spent browsing the internet or watching T.V. looking at other people’s work and accomplishments? how much money do you put in other people’s pockets, making them rich?

Spend your time and resources on your own development.

“Success is something you attract by the person you become,” says Hardy’s mentor Jim Rohn. When Darren Hardy wanted to find a romantic partner, he pictured her in his mind. He then decided to become the kind of man a girl like that would want.

He went over his habits and behaviors to get rid of the ones that weren’t likely to be appreciated by the girl of his dreams. After he had done the work on himself, the perfect woman walked into his life.

Gaining Momentum

As a reward for maintaining good habits, you will gain momentum. When a rocket is launched, most of the fuel is used at the very start and as it leaves the gravity of earth, it can glide at very high speed using hardly any fuel at all.

It will be very hard at first to get started on improving your life, the effort to get a business going will be immense and that goes for diet and exercise as well. It can be discouraging to see big businesses get bigger and more successful without any noticeable effort.

The main difference between you and them is that they already put in the work at the beginning so they have achieved momentum.

You too can bring momentum into your life, just keep repeating small positive actions each day, even when you don’t feel like it. One day, things will take off for you seemingly out of nowhere.

Doing things fast and intensely are hyped up nowadays but it’s really consistency that matters the most. Remaining consistent is so important not just because of the results you lose from being inconsistent but also because you lose your advantageous momentum.

In Conclusion

“Success strategies are no longer a secret, but most people ignore them.”

- Darren Hardy

While there are similarities to Jeff Olson’s The Slight Edge, I believe that The Compound Effect is the better book. Even though it is a lot shorter, Hardy’s book has more references and examples to back up what he is talking about.

This book shows you exactly the routines and habits you need to build that once put into place, create the life you want.

It’ll take more work than you can imagine, but once you have the compound effect on your side, things will happen much easier than you think.

“When you press on despite difficulty, tedium, and hardship,” says Hardy, ”that’s when you earn your improvement and gain strides on the competition. If it’s hard, awkward, or tedious, so be it. Just do it.”

Successful and Unsuccessful people generally have certain things they dislike doing, and what separates the two is that successful people do those things anyway.

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Originally published at on July 18, 2019.

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