Of all of the books I read in my crash course, I think this was probably the simplest and most modest in its goals. It made no grand promises like The 10X Rule or Think and Grow Rich, or remarkable insights on human psychology like many of the other books I read after it.
What The Compound Effect invites its readers to do is very simple. Do something every day towards one of your goals. The effect of doing small things towards our goals will compound over time in the same way that money increases with compound interest.
A man’s life can vary widely based on a few simple choices that he makes every day. The example given in the book is about two men from very similar backgrounds. One decides to buy a new TV and watch the cooking channel after work, while the other chooses to listen to an educational book or podcast on the way to and from work.
While the first man’s days are filled with images of good food, the other’s are filled with great ideas about many aspects of life. Each of these actions by themselves won’t change their lives, but by being around these influences for a prolonged time, their actions will start to change.
The man who watches the food channel may start thinking about eating nicer food, so might buy a grill or start experimenting with new and fancy recipes. The man listening to podcasts and books might start walking around his neighborhood every day. Then these new actions, compounded, wind up with the first man overweight and the second lean, fit, and doing well at his workplace.
I read an article today by Grant Cardone, the author of The 10X Rule. He challenged the adage that says “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” He said that this is not true.
“You are the average of the 5 actions you do every day.”
What are your actions?
My main action? Listening to books. Books like this one, like the other’s I’ve written about and the ones I’m going to write about. I’m far from perfect for doing it every single day, but I am consistent, and I keep coming back when I fall down.
That’s so weird to me that I just wrote that down. I’ve only kept a habit for longer than 6 weeks a handful of times in my life, and most of those eventually stopped with a life change such as moving. I have been consistently reading for over a year, and I’m not going to stop. I say that with wonder, because that would never have happened before. Holy cow.
What’s even cooler is how I see that habit shaping my life, even over a single year. My Etsy shop would not have existed without it. The other projects I’ve attempted would not have been. This habit leads me to try new things over and over again until I find what works. That is the real magic of this book I think.
In a way, that makes it the most powerful one I’ve read.