The Slight Edge is a philosophy, a new way of thinking. It helps us to make simple daily choices and take small actions, creating the compound effect to deliver the lives we desire. In this summary, we’ll outline how you can use just one simple, daily discipline and consistently apply the 7 Slight Edge principles to turn around any aspect of your life in just a few years.
We already have all the information about success that we need. The book is about applying that information in our daily lives, to consistently make the right daily choices – all of which add up to create massive outcomes in our lives.
The Slight Edge
Our philosophies shape our attitudes, actions and results, which in turn shape our lives. The Slight Edge is a philosophy; it represents a way of thinking: what we know, how we hold that knowledge, and what we do.
The secret ingredient is straightforward: to do the small things over and over again until success kicks in. Most of these small things are extremely easy to do – such as choosing between a salad or a packet of French fries, saving a penny or spending a penny. Yet, compounded over time, they can produce massive results.
“Consistently repeated daily actions + time = unconquerable results”
A penny, doubled every day, will grow to over $10 million in just one month. If you improved in an area by just 1% a day, you would have improved by 365% in 1 year. With each passing minute and each new choice that we make, the Slight Edge is at work – either for us or against us. Once you embrace this philosophy, you will know that if you do something long enough, you will get the results you want. But, if you make the small errors of judgement long enough, you will also suffer the consequences.
If it’s so simple, why doesn’t everyone do it?
• Things that are easy to do are just as easy not to do. Precisely because they are small decisions and actions, it won’t kill us immediately if we don’t do them today.
• For the slight edge to work, you have to do something, and keep doing it until you succeed. You need to follow the Plant-Cultivate-Harvest cycle. However, many people either expect something from nothing, or they want to go directly from plant to harvest.
• The results are not immediately visible. The small activities are undramatic and seemingly insignificant. In a society that tends to worship breakthroughs and quantum leaps, it’s easy to give up or stop doing the small actions required to deliver results.
Two Life Paths
It has been scientifically established that space is curved. There are no such things as straight lines – everything, including your life, is curved. Your daily choices determine which curve you are on. If you are making the right choices every day, your life curve is on the upper half (which only 5% of people are on). If you are making simple errors in judgement daily, you are on the lower curve (where the majority of people are).
The Slight Edge is constantly at work; once you make a firm decision to step onto the upper curve and consistently apply the 7 Slight Edge principles, you can turn any area of your life around in a few years. In fact, genuine success in any one area of your life tends to spread to other areas.
Applying The Slight Edge for Massive Success
Mastering your Life
• Closing the Gap: What it means to leverage the natural tension between Point A (where we are) and Point B (where we could be).
• Harnessing the 5 Sources of Power: How to harness the 5 natural sources of power, including Momentum, Completion, Habit, Reflection and Celebration.
• Focusing on Philosophy, not Results. Why we should not focus on results (which = focusing on the past).
• Continuous Learning. How to develop yourself continuously as a key element of the Slight Edge philosophy.
Living the Slight Edge
Olsen also takes us through 5 key areas of our lives, including health, personal development, relationships, finances, and life in general. For each of these areas, list down the following:
• My dreams for this area (be specific, vivid, with a deadline)
• Price to pay
• Plan to Start
• One simple daily discipline
To get started, simply start by doing one daily discipline in each of these 5 areas. Review these factors daily, model successful people, and spend quality time with people who have achieved similar goals and dreams.
Other Details in “The Slight Edge”
The most powerful part of The Slight Edge is the simplicity and practicality of the philosophy. Olsen summarizes many big ideas we may already know, and shows how to apply them in simple, daily steps. The book is sobering yet uplifting at the same time, because it presents so clearly how we can shape our lives, there’s no longer any excuse not to.
Olsen shares many relatable stories and examples to help us understand the concepts in the book, including his own story – how he went from a beach bum to owning the 5th largest solar-air energy company in America, to losing everything and rebuilding from scratch again. Throughout the book, there are also numerous notes from people who shared how they have applied the Slight Edge in their lives.
Start harnessing the power of The Slight Edge and win time to your side!