Thursday, March 1, 2012

Why the tortoise still beats the hare in a fast-paced world (and how you can be the tortoise)

As I mentioned in my review of The Other Wes Moore last week, I’m going to be sharing some of my favorite non-fiction books with you. These authors have become my mentors. And their wisdom is available to you for less than $12 each. It’s really pretty amazing when you think about it. So below is my review of a book that has recently had an incredible impact of my life. I am calling this book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for this generation. 

The book? The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. 
Darren Hardy is the publisher and editorial director of SUCCESS Magazine. I stumbled upon this magazine a year ago and decided to subscribe. It is inspiration and accountability in your mailbox every month, and the ideas I develop from reading this magazine have become invaluable. The articles allow you to learn from and engage with positive people who are committed to helping you reach your goals. 

I think it’s a pretty revolutionary magazine and I highly recommend subscribing to it (and like I mentioned in my interview with YouTern, I’m not getting paid to say this (though…um…that would be awesome!!). I truly love this magazine).

Darren’s book - The Compound Effect - unleashes a powerful idea that reveals important truths that are often lost in our current fast-paced culture.

In short - slow and steady wins the race.

You have to read this book to understand the full concept. But in essence, Darren unpacks the idea that it is your daily habits and choices, compounded over a long period of time, that turn into success.

This idea is so hard for us to grasp. Because, as Darren said, you don’t drop dead of a heart attack the moment you eat fast food. If you did, you’d never eat fast food again. But if you ate fast food as you primary source of nutrition, you would eventually meet that fate.

We don’t always think about long term consequences to our small, seemingly insignificant daily choices (I'm guilty for sure). We live in what he calls a “microwave culture” that expects everything immediately. Our generation really expects instant results, and the one coming up is going to expect things even faster.

But as many in our generation are finding out, our expectations are not being met, and we often feel depressed and frustrated with ourselves that we haven’t met a certain level of success  in a short period of time.

The hard part to sometimes grapple with is that success won't happen overnight.

But the great news is that when you are doing those small things every day (e.g. reading and following the tips in this blog, reading in general, doing homework, getting involved in a club, exercising, etc.), wondering if they make a difference – they do. And there will be a HUGE payoff if you stick with it.

So why does it seem like so many people aren’t reaching those huge payoffs in their lives? Because too many people give up too quickly. 

Success takes time, and it takes commitment that is reflected in the choices you make and the ways you choose to spend your time Every. Single. Day. No exceptions.

As John C. Maxwell says in the book:  “You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” (p. 84). 

What small element of your routine could you change today that you know would have a positive long term effect on your life? 

As Darren says, the consequences of your routine habits over the long term  just the compound effect at work. It can work for good or for bad in our lives. The good news is – the choice is yours.

So all you have to do is have enough will power to change? Right?

Will power is not enough. There is something much more powerful. Darren calls it your "why power."

As Darren says, “your choices are only meaningful when you connect them to your desires and dreams…you’ve got to want something, and know why you want it, or you’ll end up giving up too easily” (p.62)

Why are you in college?

Think about this for a moment. Why?

Is your why power strong enough? It has to be personal, it has to be clear, and it has to be selfish enough to motivate you to push through the hard stuff.

Reflect in a journal and work on your answer if it isn’t clear to you right now. Talk to someone about it and figure out why you’re here and what you want. And then I encourage you to write your why power into a statement and put it up in your room where you can see it every day when you wake up in the morning.

Let your why power push you through every day, for years. That is how you get where you want to go in life - every time.

The Compound Effect is an incredible book filled with a ton of strategies to help you figure out your why power, write down your goals, and improve your daily habits so that you can move towards the life you want. It is literally the best self-help book I have read since the classic 7 Habits of the HighlyEffective People by Stephen Covey. I only wished I had read it sooner.

Check it out on And you can subscribe to SUCCESS Magazine here. These are the kinds of small choices that can impact your life immensely. Take a turtle step today and immerse yourself in these awesome tools for your success. I hope they will help you as they have helped me.

I hope you have a great weekend and find time to enjoy a great book =)

Hardy, Darren. The Compound Effect. New York, NY: Vanguard Press, 2010. 

1 comment:

  1. Isa, beautiful job pulling out some of the gems. Thanks for being a great ambassador (and example) of SUCCESS and the principles in The Compound Effect. Keep shining your light on world. -Darren Hardy


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