One simple and proven technique to bring radical change in your life
We all read Books. Once the book is completed and fortunately if it is really a good read we usually carry over some of the recommendations and insights from the book in our sub conscious mind. As new information gets generated from our everyday acquaintances , the lessons learned from the book get faded away. Hence from now on, I thought of summarising my learnings from each book I read and publish on medium for my future self to refresh his learning.
My 9-year-old son gave me this book, “The Compound Effect,” by Darren Hardy, as a return gift for his Christmas present. Such a nice gesture from the lil one.
I started reading the book thinking it will be one of those self help books which start off with an elevated pitch, boring advice, quotes, slogans etc. Initially I felt the author is over selling about the benefits that reader will generate by following the techniques prescribed. But I convinced myself to continue reading and determine if this is truly a best seller and yes it is. This is definitely a great book if you just started reading self help books. Highly recommended for people in 20s and if you have already read a lot of self help books, still this one has some good actionable advice.
If I have to summarise this book in one line
“The Compound Effect is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices”
All the while we think we need a massive change in your life style, routines etc to change our life. Darren Hardy, the author conveys this is not true and not sustainable. The core principle says that you just need to take some insignificant steps which are easy to implement and practice them consistently(I made it bold very very intentionally) to create a radical difference or change in your life
Eg:- Don’t work out for 1 hr — 2hr right on day one if you would like to get fit , Don’t meditate for 1 hr straight on day one if you would like to gain great mental health, Don’t practice some new skill straight for 10hrs to gain expertise. Instead take some baby steps and do them consistently to see the compound effect.
Small, smart choices + Consistency + Time = RADICAL CHANGE IN LIFE
Do realize this compound effect is equally applicable for bad choices and there by cultivating or habituating to bad habits.
The most challenging aspect of Compound effect is keep working consistently for a while to see the payoff. The first step to assimilate and absorb Compound effect as an adaptable framework is to get rid off Microwave Mentality i.e, get rid of “get instant results expectation”.
In subsequent chapters , Darren Hardy touches on marital relationships and how to find more fulfilling life. Somehow i found an “Aha” moment or “Yaa he is right” moment in Page 22,23 of the book how someone can cultivate positive mindset and improve on relationships. I highly recommend reading it in author’s words.
Ok , now lets demystify the below formula for Radical Change in life.
Small, smart choices + Consistency + Time = RADICAL CHANGE IN LIFE
As stated in the above formula to get a radical change in life , the first step is to make smart choices. Each choice starts a behaviour that over time becomes a Habit. The biggest challenge is that we might have been sleep walking through our choices and not even aware that we are making them.
Darren Hardy provides a simple but powerful method to identify whether we are making right choices.
Lets say you want to bring a change in some area of your life eg:- Lose weight.Darren recommends to track every action that you do or choice you make that relates to that area of life i.e. in the stated example track everything, everything mean everything even a small piece of cake, snack you consume in a small notebook for 3 weeks. This tracking brings moment-to-monent awareness to the actions we take in the area of your life that we would like to improve. With this technique we will be able to identify the choice we made, be it consuming at a wrong hour or mindless eating or having a healthy snack. What a simple and profound realisation
“You cannot manage or improve something until you track it”
Darren recommends to start with just one area of improvement not to overwhelm ourself and then subsequently apply it for more. Each day start with date on top of a fresh page and keep tracking for 3 weeks . Once we start tracking our attention we become aware of good and bad choice and make the smallest course corrections consistently over time to see the radical change. I would highly recommend if your in 20s and just started your career apply this technique to your finances and identify where your hard earned money is being spent and saved and improve on your financial aspect of your life. Somehow I would like to remind Warren buffet’s philosophy here , first save and then spend. Again what a simple and profound strategy to get good at your finances
Once the right choices are identified , thats where the second component in the formula Consistency needs to play in. Consistency in doing some action can be achieved when it is made a HABIT. Habit means —
“Any acquired mode of behaviour or action that has become nearly or completely involuntary”
Everyone know that it takes will power to cultivate a habit. But will power as the name says that your will needs to be always highly pumping to follow that, which in long term become very difficult to sustain. Thats where Darren wants to replace will power with “Why Power”. Choices are meaningful when they are connected with our desires and dreams. The wisest and most motivating choices are the ones which are aligned with our core values. Choices which are not aligned with our core values are easy to give up. Hence recommended practice is to first identify
“What are your Core Values?Is it — Excellence or Stay healthy or Financial Freedom or Growth or Impact?
Once the core values are identified it really helps us to stick and being consistent on the choices or actions that are identified to bring in a Radical Change. Lets says if you really identify Stay healthy as your Core value now it is easy to stick the choices of eating healthy, working out everyday etc.
Next to be consistent these choices have to become really really involuntary. This is possible when we tuck in these choices in our everyday routines. Like we brush everyday without any thinking because we made it as a routine. So
Forming routines around the choices we make is a very very step for being consistent.
Without a routine of doing something it is highly impossible to be consistent and in turn resulting deviating from the trajectory and ending up with no change. I highly highly recommend reading another great book on Habits called Atomic Habits by James Clear. What a book, it is a gem which has some solid actionable advice on forming habits.
The core principle is same make your choices part of a routine. So come up with a routine of actions something like below
Wake Up — 7AM, Mediate — 7:30 AM, Exercise- 8AM, Read something instructional — 8:30AM etc.
Also refer page 100,101,102,103 of the book to know Author’s routine.
You see the above plan is so detail and prescriptive you don’t need to think through or plan again but just follow it. Remember these choices that are written above should be aligned with your core values, Otherwise it is easy to skip or go back to couch.
I believe same as Darren, it is better to choose either Morning or Evening routine rather than mid day routine which are mostly driven and dependent on the work we do. Personally I feel Morning Routines are a great choice where you have more control.
The third constituent of the formula for Radical change is TIME. Don’t expect changes over night, over week, over month. This is where Darren refers to get rid of Microwave mentality(or 2- Min Maggie Mentality) of expecting instant results. Don’t depend on results just keep going. As stated these smart choices are insignificantly small which enables to adopt easily but very powerful and as we apply for long period , the RADICAL change that we see could be phenomenal. If I have apply this principle to investing, making a choice to do SIP — Systematic Investment Plan where in you invest some fixed amount of money in an asset regularly without fail you end up with a huge corpus. Remember 15*15*15 rule i.e 15000 rupees invested every month for 15 yrs with an expected rate of interest 15% in mutual funds, you end up with 1 Crore rupees which is huge. Just realise the smart and small choice is to keep investing 15000 rupees irrespective of market volatility and your mood swings and there by achieving a radical change i.e. a huge lumpsum. How long one applies these smart choices that big is the change. Time makes all the difference.
Our choices or habits are greatly influenced by very powerful external forces like
- Input( What we consume) — Be mindful what you put in your mind. Is this aligning with your choice or working against to it
- Associations (Whom we meet everyday or do friendship) — Be mindful with whom we hang on. The influence that we have from our friends can be negative or positive. The best way to increase one’s potential is to start associating with people who already have made that Radical change in life which will positively benefit and drive us forward
- Environment(Place or surrounding are we operate in) — If you want to stay healthy ensure your home is cleaned out of Junk. It is extremely difficult to resist yourself from junk foods if you have it in reach and working for “Stay or Eat Healthy goal”.
Learning without execution is useless and hence I have made a commitment to myself to adopt at-least one great takeway from each book i read.
My takeaway from this book is to build a solid morning routine around smart small choices(Meditate for 20 min a day, Read for 30 min a day, Exercise for 40min a day)