Why is it that some people live the life they’ve always dreamed of, while others watch from the sidelines as their own dreams gather dust? Is it luck, or an elusive quality that only some people are born with? Neither. Everything you need to live your own dream is contained between the pages of a simple book.
It’s called The Slight Edge, and it’s NOT a self-help gimmick or motivational tool. It’s a personal development book that simply shows you how to create powerful results from the simple daily activities of your life, by using tools that are already within you. Once you’ve got it, then you will discover how your philosophy…creates your attitude…creates your actions…creates your results…creates YOUR LIFE! And your life will never be the same again.
The Slight Edge personal development book is merely a single plank in an ever-growing “positivity platform” designed to encourage people to make helping others a regular part of their everyday lives. Learn more about how “the ripple effect” can help you make giving a powerful habit.LEARN MORE
…the self-described “perpetual student of personal development” who has devoted his life to health and happiness as well as personal and financial success – and find out how you can do the same.GO
|Part One: How the Slight Edge Works|
|Chapter 1 The Beach Bum and the Millionaire||1|
|Chapter 2 The First Ingredient||15|
|Chapter 3 The Choice||29|
|Chapter 4 Master the Mundane||47|
|Chapter 5 Slow Down to Go Fast||63|
|Chapter 6 Don’t Fall for Quantum Leap||81|
|Chapter 7 The Secret of Happiness||93|
|Chapter 8 The Ripple Effect||111|
|Chapter 9 But You Have to Start with a Penny||127|
|Part Two: Living the Slight Edge|
|Chapter 10 Two Life Paths||141|
|Chapter 11 Mastering the Slight Edge||159|
|Chapter 12 Invest in Yourself||175|
|Chapter 13 Learn from Mentors||191|
|Chapter 14 Use Your Slight Edge Allies||205|
|Chapter 15 Cultivate Slight Edge Habits||217|
|Chapter 16 Three Steps to Your Dreams||237|
|Chapter 17 Living the Slight Edge||253|
|Chapter 18 Where to Go from Here||269|
|A Personal Invitation||273|
|About the Author||279|
When the first edition of The Slight Edge came out in 2005, I had no idea how popular it would become. There was no media campaign, no bookstore placement, no press release. We just published it. Promoted by word of mouth, from person to person, soon it was spreading like a grassfire, and before we knew it hundreds of thousands of people had read it and told others about it. Clearly, there was something in these pages that had struck a chord.
Since that time we have received thousands of personal letters and emails from readers, of all ages and from all walks of life, telling us how The Slight Edge has touched their lives. Now it was our responsibility, as we saw it, to make sure we kept making the book as relevant and as available as possible.
In 2008 we helped produce an adaptation of the book aimed at teenagers. Titled SUCCESS for Teens: Real Teens Talk about Using the Slight Edge, the book presented the core slight edge material in a more teen-friendly format, accompanied by dozens of stories from real-life teens about their experiences applying the principles in their lives. Through the efforts of the SUCCESS Foundation, the book has since been given to nearly two million teenagers.
In 2011 we produced a revised and expanded edition of the original book, with some additional principles I’d developed in the course of giving slight edge talks and new material by my daughter, Amber Olson Rourke, along with the inclusion of many personal experiences by Slight Edge readers.
With 2015 only a few years away, we started thinking about a tenth anniversary edition, which would incorporate a few new and critical concepts based on observations and experiences that had unfolded with The Slight Edge in the years since it first appeared. But we soon realized we couldn’t wait until 2015. Too much had happened in the meantime.
So we decided to pull the trigger and make the Tenth Anniversary Edition into the Eighth Anniversary Edition you now hold in your hands.
This edition offers a complete rewriting and reorganization of the original material. For example, the discussion that revolves around the “roller coaster” graph that appears in chapter 1 (The Beach Bum and the Millionaire) presents an evolving understanding of where success and failure come from, and why, which did not appear in the earlier books for the simple reason that I hadn’t yet articulated it. The “seven slight edge habits” in chapter 15 build on ideas that first appeared in the 2011 edition and take those ideas to their logical conclusion. Ongoing experiences in business led to several new story-illustrations, as did formative experiences from early in my career that I haven’t shared until now.
Probably the most significant change in this edition is the addition of two entirely new chapters—The Secret of Happiness and The Ripple Effect—that take the concept of the slight edge to new levels of depth and breadth. These chapters explore the effect the slight edge has on two critical areas of life, everyday happiness and long-term impact, and insights from these two chapters play out throughout the rest of the book as well. I hope you enjoy it.
|The Secret of Happiness|
Several years after we first published the original edition of The Slight Edge, I made a discovery that rocked my world and took my understanding of the slight edge to a whole new level. Up to that point I had studied, applied, and taught the slight edge mainly as it applied to four big areas of life: health, wealth, personal development, and relationships. Then, starting in the late 2000s, I began learning about a fascinating new frontier of science called positive psychology.
In plain terms, the science of happiness.
A graduate assistant of Marty Seligman, the father of the science of positive psychology, shared with me a funny story about the massive shift in psychology that occurred over the past 20 years. He said, “The difference between positive psychology and traditional psychology is that with traditional psychology the ambulance is at the bottom of the cliff and with positive psychology the ambulance is at the top of the cliff.”
What Science Has Learned About Happiness
Let me take a moment to tell you how this science happened, because it is itself a great example of the slight edge at work.
For most of the last hundred-plus years, the modern study of psychology has focused mainly on what goes wrong with people: emotional disturbances, psychological illness, trauma, neurosis, psychosis, mania, obsession, insanity … call it what you will, it’s mainly been about examining humanity’s darker side. There has been startlingly little attention paid to what habits, practices, or influences build up our nobler instincts and better nature.
Until the turn of the twenty-first century.
In the late nineties a Philadelphia psychologist named Martin Seligman had a thought: What if happiness is more than simply the absence of sadness? What if there’s more to humanity’s nobler nature than simply treating illness? What if we could have a kind of psychology that focused on the positive, instead of the negative?
Call this idea a water hyacinth.
Seligman shared the idea with a colleague, and they shared it with a few more. The small group then invited nearly two dozen of the best and brightest young researchers in the country to join their cause. They began generating a stream of research cash to pursue their idea. Six months later Seligman presented the idea to a convention of thousands of psychologists drawn from around the country. By the early 2000s millions of dollars were funding an avalanche of new research, international associations and journals were founded, and an entirely new branch of psychology had been born.
By the middle of the decade, the public caught on to what was happening. In January 2005 Time magazine ran a cover story titled “The Science of Happiness.” The following year a Harvard professor offered a lecture course in positive psychology and 855 students showed up, making it the largest class at Harvard. The press went nuts, calling it “Happiness 101.” School systems, Fortune 100 corporations, and the U.S. military all got involved. Governments floated proposals to begin measuring GNH—“gross national happiness”—along with GNP and GDP as yardsticks of their countries’ health. In 2010, when Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh published his business memoir, Delivering Happiness, it debuted on the New York Times bestseller list at No. 1 and stayed on the list for twenty-seven consecutive weeks.
The water hyacinth had covered the lake.
And the Pursuit … Make That the Realization of Happiness
In a way, the happiness revolution was not entirely new. In a way, all that science echoed and built upon another revolution that happened a few hundred years earlier.
Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin really nailed it in the American Declaration of Independence when they identified humanity’s “three inalienable rights.” They wrote that every one of us, by virtue of our showing up on this planet as a human being, has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Here’s how you might express those three inalienable rights in modern- day terms.
Life means your health. The healthier you are, the more life you experience. Better health not only lets you live out all the days of a longer life, it also lets you live more life in each and every one of those days. Poor health is like a cloudy, smoggy day: it cuts off the sunlight. Let your health get bad enough, and you lose your life altogether.
Liberty in the modern world (assuming you don’t live in North Korea or some other pocket of political oppression) means finances. If you don’t have money handled, you don’t live free. Financial health gives you freedom; freedom to follow your passions, chase your pursuits, develop your skills and talents and gifts, to fulfill the promises of life itself.
And the pursuit of happiness? Now that’s a great question.
The founders of the American experiment wanted to frame a context, an environment where individuals could go about pursuing happiness, whatever that meant for them, in relative peace and freedom. They didn’t try to guarantee happiness itself, just a place where you stood a better chance of chasing it down without being clapped in irons.
What Seligman’s happiness revolution has done is worked out the precise steps that it takes to do that. And what the positive psychologists have found is that happiness isn’t some big thing you pursue, not something you chase after. It’s not something “out there” that you have to go way out of your way to hunt down, like some sort of psychological or emotional safari. It’s right in front of our noses. It’s not something you pursue, it’s something you do.
Or to be more accurate, it’s a lot of somethings you do. It's a lot of a little somethings.
|About the Author|
JEFF OLSON has spoken to more than a thousand audiences throughout the United States and around the world. Over the past thirty years he has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals achieve better levels of financial freedom and personal excellence.
Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Jeff took his undergraduate degree in marketing from the University of New Mexico, graduating at the top of his class. While in graduate school, he was hired by the Albuquerque Airport as one of the youngest airport managers in the industry. He then went to work for Texas Instruments, where he worked his way through its sales ranks to become an intelligence systems manager in less than five years. He left TI to form Sun Aire of America, a company devoted to all aspects of solar energy, from design and manufacturing to marketing and distribution. Through all of this Jeff acquired exhaustive “street smarts” and formal business training in every aspect of sales, marketing, and distribution, and within four years Sun Aire was one of the largest solar companies in the United States. In 2012 Jeff founded a direct selling company that grew from zero to $100 million in one year, becoming the first company in its industry to do so, and which is on track to grow to several hundred million in less than two years.
Since his experiences with TI and Sun Aire, Jeff has worked with a series of sales, marketing, and distribution companies, building three different sales and distribution forces from scratch to multimillion-dollar 280 The SLIGHT EDGE organizations and being appointed CEO to one. In the early nineties he created a national training program for an independent sales force by placing 30,000 satellite dishes in homes across the country. Based on that experience, he went on to found The People’s Network, one of the largest personal development training companies in the nation, where he worked with such legendary figures of personal development as Tony Alessandra, Les Brown, Nido Qubein, Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy, and many others, producing nearly 1,000 television programs and presenting seminars in every major city in the United States. He has been featured on the cover of The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, and SUCCESS.
Jeff ’s original edition of The Slight Edge appeared in 2005 and immediately became a national bestseller. Three years later Jeff partnered with the SUCCESS Foundation to produce a version of the book for teens, titled SUCCESS for Teens: Real Teens Talk About Using the Slight Edge, which has been distributed to nearly two million teenagers.
Jeff describes himself as “a perpetual student of personal development,” and he is as devoted to health and happiness as he is to personal and financial success. Jeff currently divides his time between his business in Dallas, Texas, and his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.