I just finished the book The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson.
Ok in all honestly I just finished RE- reading it.
Ok I read it twice and am reading back through my highlighted parts.
This book is filled with the most seemingly obvious advice equivalent to a “just do it” of sorts but I couldn’t help but nod my head in agreement, every sentence that passed my eyes.
What is the slight edge and why do you need it? It is essentially this. It is the culmination of daily actions repeated over and over again to get the results you are seeking.
How do you use it? You quit blaming, talking, thinking, contemplating, and searching and implement the little things each and every day over and over again. It is as simple as it is hard.
Because success, reaching goals, and overcoming challenges is not a big magical accomplishment that all of a sudden happens, it is a series of little things done each and every day that add up over time. We know this, we just don’t do it. Or we do it and expect immediate results so we stop doing the little things we need to do to get us to where we want to be.
I still do this when starting a new exercise program, want to tighten up my diet or reduce pain in my back. I think that because I have been at it for a week I should have the grand results I have been seeking. With much practice I have broken the cycle of simply stopping when the results are invisible and keep the bigger picture in mind and just keep going. It is not that it isn’t working, the universe just has not supplied enough time for me to see the results yet.
Where you can start?
Quit stopping at survival and keep going to success.
Us humans get comfortable in survival mode. We unintentionally self sabotage our best efforts to improve our health and change our habits. It’s not that we don’t know what to do, it is just that we don’t do it for long enough.
When we workout more we think we can eat a ton more, when we drastically reduce calories our bodies respond by slowing our metabolic rate making it harder to make the weight budge, and when we skip our healthy habits we create poor habits and justify our choices. A recent article in the New York Times states it perfectly.
“The human body and brain are funny. They often, and rather insidiously, undermine some of our best efforts to be healthier, in an attempt to maintain our physiological status quo.The result can be that we do not benefit as much as we’d hoped from changes to our lifestyles.”
Or in the case of using the slight edge Olsen suggests that humans are comfortable in survival mode and waiver back and forth between survival and failure instead of pushing towards success.
When we start to slip to rock bottom we will do anything to get back to survival mode, where we are getting by, just good enough. Once we get to survival mode, we get comfortable and naturally stop doing the things that keep us progressing.
There is nothing magical about going from failure to survival and survival to success, it is the same actions you have been doing, you just have to keep doing them.
To be successful with body change you have to keep going, even when you don’t feel like it or the results are intangible.
Take responsibility for yourself and your choices.
“When you take and retrain full responsibility – even when others are wrong or the situation is genuinely unfair – you get to keep your life’s reins in your own hands.”Jeff Olsen
I don’t think we mean to always put the blame on other things or other people, I think deep down it is more like a mode of self protection. If there is some reason we are not able to complete a task or put in the work, it makes us feel just a little better if the responsibility is not on us. No time, no money? No problem, we get to wipe our hands clean and be off the hook.
When we take responsibility, we get full power in return. Full power in each and every one of our choices from the way we eat, when we exercise, and what we prioritize. This in itself is truly the best place to be. We can own our choices and have the ability to change them.
I know sometimes little choices seem insignificant, like eating a healthy breakfast or doing 10 push ups and 10 squats a day won’t matter much. But 365 breakfasts over the course of the year does make a difference. And 280 push ups and 280 squats each month is significant compared to none. The little things are really easy to do, but they are also really easy to skip, yet when you take responsibility, the power is yours.
You supply the actions. The universe will supply the time.
Our current conditions are not shocking when we look at all the choices we made day after day to get us to where we are.
If you are in a healthy state you most likely have made several positive decisions over a very long period of time that have led you to where you currently are. If you are unhealthy, the same thing applies. You have made several decisions over time that have had an impact on your health and you have made them again and again.
Body change is not based on a single choice, a days worth of choices, or a weeks worth of choices. It is based on numerous choices every for months at a time that lead to our current conditions whether they serve us or not. Patience can be one of the most annoying but valuable pieces of advice.
To get to a place where you want to be you simply choose positive actions day in, day out. You do it over and over again until you are successful and then you keep doing it. Plan for what might get in the way. Don’t stop when things get tough. Practice a little patience and put a lot of trust in the process.