The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy – How to Achieve The Life of Your Dreams!

These are my personal book notes of The Compound Effect by the author Darren Hardy.

AuthorDarren Hardy
TitleThe Compound Effect
SubtitleJumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success
First published2010
Typenon-fiction
Genreself help
Author’s websitedarrenhardy.com
Rating10/10
RecommendedYes (Hell Yeah!)
Buy the bookThe Compound Effect on Amazon

You only need to take a series of tiny steps, consistently, over time, to radically improve your life.

Darren Hardy – The Compound Effect

Table Of Contents

  • Also by Darren Hardy
  • Praise
  • Title Page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgments
  • Forward by Anthony Robbins
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 – The Compound Effect In Action
    • You Haven’t Experienced the Payoff of the Compound Effect
    • The Magic Penny
    • Three Friends
    • The Ripple Effect
    • Success, Old School
    • Microwave Mentality
    • Put the Compound Effect to Work for You
  • Chapter 2 – Choices
    • Elephants Don’t Bite
    • Thanksgiving Year-Round
    • Owning 100 Percent
    • Getting Lucky
    • The (Complete) Formula for Getting Lucky
    • The High Price of Tuition at UHK (University of Hard Knocks)
    • Your Secret Weapon – Your Scorecard
    • Money Trap
    • Keep It Slow and Easy
    • The Unsung, Unseen Hero
    • Take a Walk
    • Money Tree
    • Time Is of the Essence
    • Success Is a (Half-) Marathon
    • Put the Compound Effect to Work for You
  • Chapter 3 – Habits
    • Creatures of Habit
    • Start by Thinking Your Way Out of the Instant Gratification Trap
    • Finding Your Mojo – Your Why-Power
    • Why Everything’s Possible
    • Core Motivation
    • Find Your Fight
    • Goals
    • How Goal Setting Actually Works: The Mystery ‘Secret’ Revealed
    • Who You Have to Become
    • Behave Yourself
    • Game Changers: Five Strategies for Eliminating Bad Habits
    • Run a Vice Check
    • Game Changers: Six Techniques for Installing Good Habits
    • Change Is Hard: Yippee!
    • Be Patient
    • Put the Compound Effect to Work for You
  • Chapter 4 – Momentum
    • Harnessing the Power of Big Mo
    • Routine Power
    • Bookend Your Days
    • Rise & Shine
    • Sweet Dreams
    • Shake It Up
    • Getting into a Rhythm: Finding Your New Groove
    • Registering Your Rhythm
    • The Rhythms of Life
    • The Power of Consistency
    • The Pump Well
    • Put the Compound Effect to Work for You
  • Chapter 5 – Influences
    1. Input: Garbage In, Garbage Out
    2. Associations: Who’s Influencing You?
    3. Environment: Changing Your View Changes Your Perspective
  • Chapter 6 – Acceleration
    • Moments of Truth
    • Multiplying Your Results
    • Beat the Expectations
    • Do the Unexpected
    • Do Better Than Expected
    • Put the Compound Effect to Work for You
  • Conclusion
  • Resource Guide

My personal book notes on The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

From the Intro…

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

We are constantly bombarded with increasingly sensational claims to get rich, get fit, get younger, get sexier… all overnight with little effort for only three easy payments of $39.95. These repetitive marketing messages have distorted our sense of what it really takes to succeed. We’ve lost sight of the simple but profound fundamentals of what it takes to be successful.

I’m tired of it. I won’t sit back and watch these reckless messages derail people any longer. I wrote this book to take you back to basics. I’m going to help you clear the clutter and bring focus to the core fundamentals that matter. You can immediately implement in your life the exercises and time-tested success principles this book contains to produce measurable and sustainable results.

Here’s my point. When you have such an exhaustive view of this industry, and wisdom gained through studying the teachings and best practices of some the world’s most successful people, an amazing clarity emerges – the underlying fundamental truths become crystal clear.

There are no new fundamentals. Truth is not new; it’s old.

Jim Rohn

I have one warning: Earning success is hard. The process is laborious, tedious, sometimes even boring. Becoming wealthy, influential, and world-class in your field is slow and arduous.

Here’s the bottom line: You already know all that you need to succeed.

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 toward success. It’s that simple.

From Chapter 1 – The Compound Effect In Action

You know that expression, “Slow and steady wins the race”? Ever heard the story of the tortoise and the hare? Ladies and gentlemen, I’m the tortoise.

Give me enough time, and I will beat virtually anybody, anytime, in any competition. Why? Not because I’m the best or the smartest or the fastest. I’ll win because of the positive habits I’ve developed, and because of the consistency I use in applying those habits. I’m the world’s biggest believer in consistency.

I’m living proof that it’s the ultimate key to success, yet it’s one of the biggest pitfalls for people struggling to achieve. Most people don’t know how to sustain it. I do.

One of Dad’s core philosophies was, “It doesn’t matter how smart you are or aren’t, you need to make up in hard work what you lack in experience, skill, intelligence, or innate ability.

If your competitor is smarter, more talented, or experienced, you just need to work three or four times as hard. You can still beat them!”

Darren Hardy – The Compound Effect

No excuses

If you aren’t good at something, work harder, work smarter.

Dad’s discipline served as an example for me. Dad was my idol, and I wanted him to be proud of me. I also lived in fear of disappointing him. One of his philosophies is, “Be the guy who says ‘no.’ It’s no great achievement to go along with the crowd. Be the unusual guy, the extraordinary guy.

We’ve lost sight of the good, old-fashioned value of hard and consistent work.

Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = Radical Difference

The Ripple Effect shows that seemingly small choices lead to massive differences, over time

In The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson (another Jim Rohn protege) describes this as the repeating of simple daily disciplines versus the simple errors in judgement. It’s that simple. With enough time and consistency, the outcomes become visible. Better yet, they’re totally predictable.

Success, Old School

The most challenging aspect of the Compound Effect is that we have to keep working away for a while, consistently and efficiently, before we can begin to see the payoff.

Our grandparents knew the secret was hard work, discipline, and good habits.

Nothing fails like success. Once-dominant empires have failed for this very reason. People get to a certain level of success and get too comfortable.

Having experienced extended periods of prosperity, health, and wealth, we become complacent. We stop doing what we did to get us there. We become like the frog in the boiling water that doesn’t jump to his freedom because the warming is so incremental and insidious that he doesn’t notice he’s getting cooked!

Microwave Mentality

Understanding the Compound Effect will rid you of “insta-results” expectation – the belief success should be as fast as your fast food, your one-hour glasses, your thirty-minute photo processing, your overnight mail, your microwave eggs, your instant hot water and text messaging. Enough, okay?

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. Know, too, that the results, the life, and the lifestyle of your dreams can be yours when you put the Compound Effect to work for you.

Summary Action Steps

  • Write out a few excuses you might be clinging to (e.g., not smart enough, no experience, wrong upbringing, don’t have the education, etc.). Decide to make up in hard work and personal development to out-compete anyone – including your old self.
  • Write out the half-dozen small, seemingly inconsequential steps you can take every day that can take your life in a completely new and positive direction.
  • Write down the small, seemingly inconsequential actions you can stop doing that might be compounding your results downward.
  • List a few areas, skills, or outcomes where you have you been most successful in the past. Consider whether you could be taking those for granted and are not continuing to improve, and are therefore in jeopardy of having that complacency lead to future failure.

Chapter 2 – Choices

The life we end up with is simply an accumulation of all the choices we make. Our choices can be our best friend or our worst enemy.

Each choice starts a behavior that over time becomes a habit.

In essence, you make your choices, and then your choices make you.

This chapter is about becoming aware of and making choices that support the expansion of your life.

Your biggest challenge isn’t that you’ve intentionally been making bad choices. Your biggest challenge is that you’ve been sleepwalking through your choices. Half the time, you’re not even aware you’re making them!

Nobody intends to become obese, go through bankruptcy, or get a divorce, but often (if not always) those consequences are the result of a series of small, poor choices.

Owning 100 Percent

We are all self-made men and women, but only the successful take credit for it.

If I always took 100 percent responsibility for everything I experienced – completely owning all of my choices and all the ways I responded to whatever happened to me – I held the power. Everything was up to me. I was responsible for everything I did, didn’t do, or how I responded to what was done to me.

You alone are responsible for what you do, don’t do, or how you respond to what’s done to you. This empowering mindset revolutionized my life. Luck, circumstances, or the right situation wasn’t what mattered. If it was to be, it was up to me. I was free to fly. No matter who was elected president, how badly the economy tanked, or what anybody said, did, or didn’t do, I was still 100 percent in control of me. Through choosing to be officially liberated from past, present, and future victim-hood, I’d hit the jackpot. I had the unlimited power to control my destiny.

The (Complete) Formula for Getting Lucky:

Preparation (personal growth) + Attitude (belief/mindset) + Opportunity (a good thing coming your way) + Action (doing something about it) = Luck

  • Preparation: By consistently improving and preparing yourself – your skills, knowledge, expertise, relationships, and resources – you have the wherewithal to take advantage of great opportunities when they arise (when luck “strikes”). Then, you can be like Arnold Palmer, who told SUCCESS magazine in February of 2009, “It’s a funny thing; the more I practice, the luckier I get.”
  • Attitude: This is where luck evades most people, and where Sir Richard is spot-on with his belief that luck is all around us. It’s simply a matter of seeing situations, conversations, and circumstances as fortuitous. You cannot see what you don’t look for, and you cannot look for what you don’t believe in.
  • Opportunity: It’s possible to make your own luck, but the luck I’m talking about here isn’t planned for, or it comes faster or differently than expected. In this stage of the formula, luck isn’t forced. It’s a natural occurrence, and it often shows up seemingly of its own accord.
  • Action: This is where you come in. However this luck was delivered to you – from the universe, God, the Lucky Charms leprechaun, or whomever or whatever you associate delivering your good fortune – it’s now your job to act on it. This is what separates the Richard Bransons from the Joseph Wallingtons. Joseph who? Exactly. You’ve never heard of him. That’s because he failed to take action on all the lucky things that happened to him.

The High Price of Tuition at UHK (University of Hard Knocks)

The day you graduate from childhood to adulthood is the day you take full responsibility for your life.

Jim Rohn

Today is graduation day! From this day forward, choose to be 100 percent responsible for your life. Eliminate all of your excuses. Embrace the fact that you are freed by your choices, as long as you assume personal responsibility for them.

It’s time to make the choice to take control.

Your Secret Weapon – Your Scorecard

The first step toward change is awareness. If you want to get from where you are to where you want to be, you have to start by becoming aware of the choices that lead you away from your desired destination.

To help you become aware of your choices, I want you to track every action that relates to the area of your life you want to improve.

What’s simple to do is also simple not to do.

Jim Rohn

The magic is not in the complexity of the task; the magic is in the doing of simple things repeatedly and long enough to ignite the miracle of the Compound Effect.

The biggest difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people are not.

In buying this book, you’re basically paying me for my opinion, my guidance. This is where I’m going to become a hard-ass and insist you track your behaviors for at least one whole week. This book isn’t designed to entertain you; it is designed to help you get results. To get results, you have to take some action.

You may have heard about tracking before. In fact, you’ve probably done your own version of this exercise. But I also bet you aren’t doing it now, right? How do I know? Because your life isn’t working as successfully as you’d like. You’ve gotten derailed. Tracking is the way to get it back on track.

All winners are trackers.

Tracking is a simple exercise. It works because it brings moment-to-moment awareness to the actions you take in the area of your life you want to improve.

At any given moment, I want you to know exactly how well you’re doing. I’m asking you to track yourself as if you’re a valuable commodity. Because you are. Want that idiot-proof system we talked about earlier? This is it. So, regardless of whether you think you’re aware of your habits or not (believe me, you’re not!), I’m asking you to start tracking. Doing so will revolutionize your life, and ultimately, your lifestyle.

Again, merely writing these things down sounds simple – and it is – BUT ONLY WHEN YOU DO IT.

When you track with this awareness, you’ll find yourself showing up in your life very differently. Even more than that, you’re not sleepwalking anymore. You’re aware and conscious and making better choices. All from a little notebook and pen. Simply amazing, isn’t it?

Once you start tracking your life, your attention will be focused on the smallest things you’re doing right, as well as the smallest things you’re doing wrong. And when you choose to make even the smallest course corrections consistently, over time, you’ll begin to see amazing results.

Since your outcomes are all a result of your moment-to-moment choices, you have incredible power to change your life by changing those choices. Step by step, day by day, your choices will shape your actions until they become habits, where practice makes them permanent.

Losing is a habit. So is winning. Now let’s work on permanently instilling winning habits into your life. Eliminate sabotaging habits and instill the needed positive habits, and you can take your life in any direction you desire, to the heights of your greatest imagination. Let me show you how…

Summary Action Steps

  • What area, person, or circumstance in your life do you struggle with the most? Start journaling all the aspects of that situation that you are grateful for. Keep a record of everything that reinforces and expands your gratitude in that area.
  • Where in your life are you not taking 100 percent responsibility for the success or failure of your present condition? Write down three things you have done in the past that have messed things up. List three things you should have done but didn’t. Write out three things that happened to you but you responded poorly. Write down three things you can start doing right now to take back responsibility for the outcomes of your life.
  • Start tracking at least one behavior in one area of your life you’d like to change and improve (e.g., money, nutrition, fitness, recognizing others, parenting… any area).

Chapter 3 – Habits

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

Aristotle

It’s time to take control of the reins, and move your life in the direction of where you really want to go.

I’ve met and worked with many great achievers, CEOs, and “superstars”, and I can tell you they all share one common trait – they all have good habits. That’s not to say they don’t have bad habits; they do. But not many. A daily routine built on good habits is the difference that separates the most successful among us from everyone else.

It’s about becoming a creature of champion habits.

Start by Thinking Your Way Out of the Instant Gratification Trap

Our need for immediate gratification can turn us into the most reactive, nonthinking animals around.

If you took a bite of a Big Mac and immediately fell to the ground clutching your chest from a heart attack, you might not go back for that second bite. If your next puff of a cigarette instantly mutated your face into that of a weathered eighty-five-year-old, chances are you’d pass on that, too. If you failed to make that tenth call today and were immediately fired and bankrupted, suddenly picking up the phone would be a no-brainer. And, if that first forkful of cake instantly put fifty pounds on your frame, saying “no thank you” to dessert would be the true piece of cake.

The problem is that the payoff or instant gratification derived from bad habits often far outweighs what’s going on in your rational mind concerning long-term consequences.

It’s time to WAKE UP and realize that the habits you indulge in could be compounding your life into repeated disaster. The slightest adjustments to your daily routines can dramatically alter the outcomes in your life. Again, I’m not talking about quantum leaps of change or a complete overhaul of your personality, character, and life. Super small, seemingly inconsequential adjustments can and will revolutionize everything.

Most people drift through life without devoting much conscious energy to figuring out specifically what they want and what they need to do to take themselves there.

Finding Your Mojo – Your Why-Power

Forget about willpower. It’s time for why-power. Your choices are only meaningful when you connect them to your desires and dreams. The wisest and most motivating choices are the ones aligned with that which you identify as your purpose, your core self, and your highest values. You’ve got to want something, and know why you want it, or you’ll end up giving up too easily.

So, what is your why? You’ve got to have a reason if you want to make significant improvements to your life.

Why Everything’s Possible

The power of your why is what gets you to stick through the grueling, mundane, and laborious. All of the hows will be meaningless until your whys are powerful enough.

When the reason is big enough, you will be willing to perform almost any how.

Core Motivation

The access point to your why-power is through your core values, which define both who you are and what you stand for.

Find Your Fight

People are either motivated by something they want or something they don’t want.

We can all make powerful choices. We can all take back control by not blaming chance, fate, or anyone else for our outcomes. It’s within our ability to cause everything to change. Rather than letting past hurtful experiences sap our energy and sabotage our success, we can use them to fuel positive, constructive change.

Goals

As I mentioned before, the Compound Effect is always working, and it will always take you somewhere. The question is, where? You can harness this relentless force and have it carry you to new heights. But you must know where you want to go. What goals, dreams, and destinations do you desire?

The one skill most responsible for the abundance in my life is learning how to effectively set and achieve goals.

The highest achievers in the world have all succeeded because they mapped out their visions. The person who has a clear, compelling, and white-hot burning why will always defeat even the best of the best at doing the how.

How Goal Setting Actually Works: The Mystery ‘Secret’ Revealed

When you define your goals, you give your brain something new to look for and focus on. It’s as if you’re giving your mind a new set of eyes from which to see all the people, circumstances, conversations, resources, ideas, and creativity surrounding you.

I suggest that you take some time today to make a list of your most important goals. I recommend considering goals in all aspects of your life, not just for your business or finances. Be wary of the high price of putting too much focus on any single aspect of your life, to the exclusion of everything else. Go for whole-life success – balance in all the aspects of life that are important to you: business, finances, health and well-being, spirituality, family and relationships, and lifestyle.

Who You Have to Become

If you want to have more, you have to become more. Success is not something you pursue.

Success is something you attract by the person you become.

Jim Rohn

When most people set out to achieve new goals, they ask, “Okay, I have my goal; now what do I need to do to get it?” It’s not a bad question, but it’s not the first question that needs to be addressed either. The question we should be asking ourselves is: “Who do I need to become?”

Behave Yourself

Alright, let’s map out your process for achieving the goals you’ve decided upon. This is the doing process – or, in some cases, the STOP-doing process.

What stands between you and your goal is your behavior.

You may think you’ve got a handle on all your bad habits, but I’d bet good money you’re wrong. Again, that’s why tracking is so effective.

As I emphasized in the previous chapter, your first job is to become aware of how you’re behaving. Where have you fallen asleep on the job and developed an unconscious bad habit that’s leading you astray?

Okay, now it’s your turn. Get out your little notebook and write out your top three goals. Now make a list of the bad habits that might be sabotaging your progress in each area. Write down every one.

Habits and behaviors never lie.

If there’s a discrepancy between what you say and what you do, I’m going to believe what you do every time. If you tell me you want to be healthy, but you’ve got Doritos dust on your fingers, I’m believing the Doritos. If you say self-improvement is a priority, but you spend more time with your Xbox than at the library, I’m believing the Xbox. If you say you’re a dedicated professional, but you show up late and unprepared, your behavior rats you out every time. You say your family is your top priority, but if they don’t appear on your busy calendar, they aren’t, really. Look at the list of bad habits you just made. That’s the truth about who you are. Now you get to decide whether that’s okay, or if you want to change.

Next, add to that list all the habits you need to adopt that, practiced and compounded over time, will result in you gloriously achieving your goals.

Game Changers: Five Strategies for Eliminating Bad Habits

Your habits are learned; therefore, they can be unlearned.

The key is to make your why-power so strong that it overwhelms your urges for instant gratification.

  1. Identify Your Triggers
    • Is there a particular time of day when you just have to have something sweet?
    • What emotions tend to provoke your worst habits – stress, fatigue, anger, nervousness, boredom?
    • When do you experience those emotions? Who are you with, where are you, or what are you doing?
    • What situations prompt your bad habits to surface – getting in your car, the time before performance reviews, visits with your in-laws? Conferences? Social settings? Feeling physically insecure? Deadlines?
    • Take a closer look at your routines. What do you typically say when you wake up? When you’re on a coffee or lunch break? When you’ve gotten home from a long day?
  2. Clean House. Get to scrubbin’. And I mean this literally and figuratively. If you want to stop drinking alcohol, remove every drop of it from your house (and your vacation house, if you have one). Get rid of the glasses, any fancy utensils or doo-dads you use when you drink, and those decorative olives, too. If you want to stop drinking coffee, heave the coffee maker, and give that bag of gourmet grounds to a sleepy neighbor. Get rid of whatever enables your bad habits.
  3. Swap It. Look again at your list of bad habits. How can you alter them so that they’re not as harmful? Can you replace them with healthier habits or drop-kick them altogether? As in, for good. Play with this, and see what behaviors you can replace, delete, or swap out.
  4. Ease In.
  5. Or Jump In.

Run a Vice Check

I’m not suggesting you cut out every “bad” thing in your life. Most everything is good in moderation. But, how can you tell whether a bad habit is becoming the boss of you? I believe in testing my vices. Every so often I go on a “vice fast”. I pick one vice, and check to be sure I’m still the alpha dog in our relationship. My vices are coffee, ice cream, wine, and movies. I already told you about my ice cream obsession. When it comes to wine, I want to be sure I’m enjoying a glass and celebrating the day, not drowning a bad mood.

About every three months, I pick one vice and abstain for thirty days (this probably stems from my Catholic Lent upbringing). I love proving to myself that I’m still in charge. Try this yourself. Pick a vice – something you do in moderation, but you know doesn’t contribute to your highest good – and take yourself on a thirty-day wagon run. If you find it seriously difficult to abstain for those thirty days, you may have found a habit worth cutting out of your life.

Game Changers: Six Techniques for Installing Good Habits

You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.

John C. Maxwell

The key is staying aware. If you really want to maintain a good habit, make sure you pay attention to it at least once a day, and you’re far more likely to succeed.

  1. Set Yourself Up to Succeed
  2. Think Addition, Not Subtraction
  3. Go for a PDA: Public Display of Accountability
  4. Find a Success Buddy
  5. Competition & Camaraderie
  6. Celebrate!

Change Is Hard: Yippee!

There is a one thing that 99 percent of “failures” and “successful” folks have in common – they all hate doing the same things. The difference is successful people do them anyway. Change is hard. That’s why people don’t transform their bad habits, and why so many people end up unhappy and unhealthy.

What excites me about this reality, however, is that if change were easy, and everyone were doing it, it would be much more difficult for you and me to stand out and become an extraordinary success. Ordinary is easy. Extra-ordinary is what will separate you from the crowd.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Be Patient

When it comes to breaking old bad habits and starting new ones, remember to be patient with yourself.

If you fall off the wagon, brush yourself off (not beat yourself up!), and get back on. No problem. We all stumble. Just go again and try another strategy; reinforce your commitment and consistency. When you press on, you will receive huge payoffs.

Summary Action Steps

  • Identify your three best habits – those that support your most important goal. Identify your three bad habits that take you off course from your most important goal.
  • Identify three new habits you need to develop to put you on track toward your most important goal.
  • Identify your core motivation. Discover what gets you fired up and keeps you fired up to achieve big results.
  • Find your why-power. Design your concise, compelling, and awe-inspiring goals.

Chapter 4 – Momentum

Adopting any change is the same way. You get started by taking one small step, one action at a time. Progress is slow, but once a newly formed habit has kicked in, Big Mo joins the party. Your success and results compound rapidly.

Ever wonder why successful people tend to get more successful… the rich get richer… the happy get happier… the lucky get luckier?

They’ve got Mo. When it rains, it pours.

How do you get Big Mo to pay you a visit? You build up to it. You get into the groove, the “zone,” by doing the things we’ve covered so far:

  1. Making new choices based on your goals and core values
  2. Putting those choices to work through new positive behaviors
  3. Repeating those healthy actions long enough to establish new habits
  4. Building routines and rhythms into your daily disciplines
  5. Staying consistent over a long enough period of time

Then, BANG! Big Mo kicks in your door (that’s a good thing)! And you’re virtually unstoppable.

Routine Power

Some of our best intentions fail because we don’t have a system of execution. When it comes down to it, your new attitudes and behaviors must be incorporated into your monthly, weekly, and daily routines to affect any real, positive change. A routine is something you do every day without fail, so that eventually, like brushing your teeth or putting on your seatbelt, you do it without conscious thought.

To reach new goals and develop new habits, it’s necessary to create new routines to support your objectives.

Developing a routine of predictable, daily disciplines prepares you to be victorious on the battlefield of life.

Of all the high-achievers and business owners I’ve worked with, I’ve seen that, along with good habits, each has developed routines for accomplishing necessary daily disciplines. It’s the only way any of us can predictably regulate our behavior. There simply isn’t any way around it. A daily routine built on good habits and disciplines separates the most successful among us from everyone else. A routine is exceptionally powerful.

To create profitable and effective routines, you must first decide what behaviors and habits you want to implement. Take a moment to review your goals from Chapter 3, as well as the behaviors you want to add and subtract. Now it’s your turn to be Jack Nicklaus and figure out your best pre-shot routine. Be intentional about what components belong. Once you establish, say, a morning routine, I want you to consider it cast in concrete until further notice. You get up. You do it – no argument. If someone or something interrupts you, start back at the beginning to anchor your foundation for the performance that follows.

Bookend Your Days

The key to becoming world-class in your endeavors is to build your performance around world-class routines. It can be difficult, even futile, to predict or control what will show up in the middle of your workday. But you can almost always control how your day starts and ends. I have routines for both.

Rise & Shine

My morning routine is my Jack Nicklaus pre-shot preparation; it sets me up for the entire day. Because it happens every morning, it’s locked in and I don’t have to think about it.

The rest of the day can take a million different shapes, but as long as I go through my morning routine, a majority of the key disciplines I need to be practicing are taken care of, and I’m properly grounded and prepared to perform at a much higher level than if I started each day erratically – or worse, with a set of bad habits.

Sweet Dreams

Compared to your plan for the day, how did it go? What do you need to carry over to tomorrow’s plan? What else needs to be added, based on what showed up throughout the day? What’s no longer important and needs to be scratched out? Additionally, I like to log into my journal any new ideas, ah-has or insights I picked up throughout the day – this is how I’ve collected more than forty journals of incredible ideas, insights, and strategies. Finally, I like to read at least ten pages of an inspirational book before going to sleep. I know the mind continues to process the last information consumed before bedtime, so I want to focus my attention on something constructive and helpful in making progress with my goals and ambitions. That’s it. All hell can break loose throughout the day, but because I control the bookends, I know I’m always going to start and finish strong.

Shake It Up

Every so often I like to interrupt my routines. Otherwise, life gets stale and I plateau.

Look at your routines. If something that used to energize you has become same-old/same-old, or is no longer generating powerful results, switch it up.

Getting into a Rhythm: Finding Your New Groove

Once your daily disciplines have become a routine, you want the succession of those steps to create a rhythm. When your disciplines and actions jibe into a regular weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly rhythm, it’s like laying a welcome mat at the front door for Big Mo.

The Power of Consistency

I’ve mentioned that if there’s one discipline that gives me a competitive advantage, it’s my ability to be consistent. Nothing kills Big Mo quicker and with more certainty than a lack of consistency. Even good, passionate, and ambitious people with good intentions can fall short when it comes to consistency. But it’s a powerful tool you can use to launch the flight toward your goals.

Think of it like this: If you and I flew planes from Los Angeles to Manhattan, but you took off and landed in every state in between, while I flew straight through, even if you went five hundred miles per hour in the air and I only traveled at a rate of two hundred miles per hour, I’d still beat you by a big margin. The time and energy it takes for you to repeatedly stop and start and get back to momentum make your trip at least ten times as long. In fact, most likely you wouldn’t even make it – you’d run out of fuel (energy, motivation, belief, will) at some point. It’s far easier and requires a lot less energy to take off once and maintain a regular speed (even if slower than most everyone else) all along the way.

The Pump Well

When you start thinking about slacking off on your routines and rhythms, consider the massive cost of inconsistency. It is not the loss of the single action and tiny results it creates; it is the utter collapse and loss of momentum your entire progress will suffer.

Think of a hand-pumped water well, which uses a pipe to draw water up from the water table several feet underground. To get the water to the surface, you have to pump the well’s lever to create the suction that brings the water above the ground and out of the spout.

Consistency is the key to achieving and maintaining momentum.

Winning the race is all about pace. Be the tortoise. The person who, given enough time, will beat virtually anybody in any competition as a result of positive habits and behaviors applied consistently. That’ll put the mojo in your momentum. And keep it there!

Summary Action Steps

  • Build your bookend morning and evening routines. Design a predicable and fail-safe world-class routine schedule for your life.
  • List three areas of life in which you are not consistent enough. What has this inconsistency cost you in life thus far? Make a declaration to stay steadfast in your new commitment to consistency.
  • On your Rhythm Register, write down a half-dozen key behaviors relevant to your new goals. These should be behaviors you want to establish a rhythm with and eventually create momentum – Big Mo.

Chapter 5 – Influences

Hopefully by now you understand exactly how important your choices are. Even those that seem insignificant, when compounded, can make an extreme impact on your life. We’ve also discussed the fact that you are 100 percent responsible for your life. You alone are responsible for the choices you make and the actions you take. That said, you must also realize your choices, behaviors, and habits are influenced by very powerful external forces. Most of us aren’t aware of the subtle control these forces have on our lives. For you to sustain your positive trajectory toward your goals, you’ll need to understand and govern these influences so they will support rather than derail your journey toward success. Everyone is affected by three kinds of influences: input (what you feed your mind), associations (the people with whom you spend time), and environment (your surroundings).

Input: Garbage In, Garbage Out

If you want your body to run at peak performance, you’ve got to be vigilant about consuming the highest-quality nutrients and avoiding tempting junk food. If you want your brain to perform at its peak, you’ve got to be even more vigilant about what you feed it. Are you feeding it news summaries or mind-numbing sitcoms? Are you reading the tabloids, or SUCCESS? Controlling the input has a direct and measurable impact on your productivity and outcomes.

Left to its own devices, your mind will traffic in the negative, worrisome, and fearful all day and night. We can’t change our DNA, but we can change our behavior. We can teach our minds to look beyond “lack and attack.” How? We can protect and feed our mind. We can be disciplined and proactive about what we allow in.

Associations: Who’s Influencing You?

Who do you spend the most time with? Who are the people you most admire? Are those two groups of people exactly the same? If not, why not?

I’m constantly weeding out of my life people who refuse to grow and live positively.

When you make the tough decision to put up boundaries between you and people who drag you down, realize that they’ll fight you – especially those closest to you. Your decision to live a more positive, goal-oriented life will be a mirror to their own poor choices. You will make them uncomfortable and they will attempt to pull you back down to their level. Their resistance doesn’t mean they don’t love you or want the best for you – it’s actually not about you at all. It’s about their fear and their guilt about their own poor choices and lack of discipline. Just know that breaking away won’t be easy.

Environment: Changing Your View Changes Your Perspective

The dream in your heart may be bigger than the environment in which you find yourself. Sometimes you have to get out of that environment to see that dream fulfilled. It’s like planting an oak sapling in a pot. Once it becomes root-bound, its growth is limited. It needs a great space to become a mighty oak. So do you.

If you tolerate disrespect, you will be disrespected. If you tolerate people being late and making you wait, people will show up late for you. If you tolerate being underpaid and overworked, that will continue for you. If you tolerate your body being overweight, tired, and perpetually sick, it will be.

It’s amazing how life will organize around the standards you set for yourself. Some people think they’re the victims of other people’s behavior, but in actuality, we have control over how people treat us. Protect your emotional, mental, and physical space so you can live with peace, rather than in the chaos and stress the world will hurl upon you.

Summary Action Steps

  • Identify the influence the input of media and information is having on your life. Determine what input you need to protect your glass (mind) from and how you are going to keep your glass (mind) regularly flushed with positive, uplifting, and supportive input.
  • Evaluate your current associations. Who might you need to further limit your association? Who might you need to completely dissociate from? Strategize ways you will expand your associations.
  • Pick a peak-performance partner. Decide when, how regularly, and what you will hold each other accountable to, and what ideas you will expect the other to bring to each conversation.
  • Identify the three areas of your life you are most focused on improving. Find and engage a mentor in each of those areas. Your mentors could be people who have accomplished what you wish to and with whom you have brief conversations, or they could be experts who have written down their ideas in books or recorded their ideas on CDs.

Chapter 6 – Acceleration

For exercise and a test of will, I would regularly ride my bike two miles straight up Mount Soledad. There are very few things you can do voluntarily that cause more pain and suffering than riding a bike up a steep mountain without stopping. There is a point at which you “hit the wall” and come face to face with your true inner character. Suddenly, all the projections and ideas you had about yourself are stripped away and you’re left with the naked truth. Your mind starts inventing all sorts of convenient alibis on why it’s okay to stop. It is then when you’re faced with one of life’s greatest questions: Do you push through the pain and continue on, or will you crack like a walnut and give up?

It’s not getting to the wall that counts; it’s what you do after you hit it.

Hitting the wall isn’t an obstacle; it’s an opportunity.

When conditions are great, things are easy, there aren’t any distractions, no one is interrupting, temptations aren’t luring, and nothing is disturbing your stride; that too is when most everyone else does great. It’s not until situations are difficult, when problems come up and temptation is great, that you get to prove your worthiness for progress.

Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.

Jim Rohn

When you hit the wall in your disciplines, routines, rhythms, and consistency, realize that’s when you are separating yourself from your old self, scaling that wall, and finding your new powerful, triumphant, and victorious self.

Multiplying Your Results

The real growth happens with what you do after you’re at the wall.

If you’re a runner, you know the experience. You get to the goal you set for yourself that day, and you’re feeling the burn, you’re at your wall, but you go a little farther, a little longer. This “little longer” is really a massive expansion of your limits. You have multiplied the results of that single run.

Viewing yourself as your toughest competitor is one of the best ways to multiply your results. Go above and beyond when you hit the wall. Another way to multiply your results is pushing past what other people expect of you – doing more than “enough.”

Summary Action Steps

  • When do you hit your moments of truth (e.g., making prospecting calls, exercising, communicating with your spouse or kids)? Identify so you know when to push through to find new growth and where you can separate yourself from others and your old self.
  • Find three areas in your life where you can you do “extra” (e.g., weight lifting reps, calls, recognition, sentiments of appreciation, etc.).
  • Identify three areas in your life where you can beat the expectations. Where and how can you create “wow” moments?
  • Identify three ways you can do the unexpected. Where can you differentiate from what is common, normal, or expected?

Conclusion

Learning without execution is useless. I didn’t write this book for my own amusement (this is hard work!) or even to simply “motivate” you. Motivation without action leads to self-delusion. As I said in the introduction, the Compound Effect and the results it will manifest in your life are the real deal.

Never again will you wish and hope that success will find you. The Compound Effect is a tool that, when combined with consistent, positive action, will make a real and lasting difference in your life. Let this book and its philosophy become your guide. Let the ideas and success strategies sink in and produce genuine, tangible, measurable outcomes for you.

Whenever you realize small, seemingly innocuous poor habits have crept back into your life, take out this book. Whenever you fall off the wagon of consistency, take out this book. Whenever you want to reignite your motivation and bolster your why-power, take out this book. Every time you read this book, it entices Big Mo to pay a visit to your life.

For you to get results […], I know you have to take immediate action on your new insights and knowledge. Ideas uninvested are wasted. I don’t want that to happen. It’s now time to act on your new convictions. You now have the power, and I expect you to seize it!

You are ready to make dramatic improvements, right? Of course, the obvious answer is, “YES!” But you know by now that saying you’re ready to make the necessary changes and actually making them isn’t the same thing. To get different results, you’re going to have to do things differently.

No matter where you are, or what year it is when you find this book, if I could, I’d ask you these simple questions: “Look back on your life five years ago. Are you now where you’d thought you’d be five years later? Have you kicked the bad habits you had vowed to kick? Are you in the shape you wanted to be? Do you have the cushy income, the enviable lifestyle, and the personal freedom you expected? Do you have the vibrant health, abundant loving relationships, and the world-class skills you’d intended to have by this point in your life?” If not, why? Simple – choices. It’s time to make a new choice – choose to not let the next five years be a continuum of the last. Choose to change your life, once and for all.

My personal book notes cover only a small part of Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect. I barely scratched the surface of this book… So if you like what you read, consider buying the book on Amazon.

Thank you for reading my book notes and stay awesome!

Your Online Business Dude

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