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What is one thing I can give you to motivate you to reach your goals?

This Months Book of the Month is your guide to a successful fitness joureny.  making professional, health, and life goals obtainable. Craig recommended this book to me when we started the FIT CLUB. Craig took to the computer to write about how this book changed his life.

The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olson

What can I say about this book to make you want to read it? I don’t just want to write a review, because that won’t do it justice.  For me, The Slight Edge has become a guiding philosophy as well as validation of how I’ve been working toward my goals.  The Slight Edge applies to every aspect of your life, whether you like it or not. 

In a nutshell, the Slight Edge Philosophy is based on the premise that your decisions about what actions you take during the day will compound and produce results that you want, or don’t want.  Success is simple…and so is failure.  “What??” you say.  That’s impossible.  If success was simple, everybody would be successful.  Well, I said “simple,” not easy. 

We all know that in general, if you work out and eat healthy, you will be in good shape.  So, why don’t more people do it?  According to the Slight Edge, it all boils down to the small, seeming inconsequential, decisions that we make all day long.  For example, what if I were to eat a giant bacon cheeseburger with lots of fries for lunch and chase it down with a big milkshake?  Would I step on the scale tomorrow and see a big change?  NO.  What if I had a grilled chicken salad with no dressing, avocado slices, some dried cranberries, etc.  What would the scale look like tomorrow?  Probably EXACTLY THE SAME.  These choices that we make are compounded over time.  The Cheeseburger every meal make me fat OVER TIME.  The health choice meal keeps me fit/lose weight OVER TIME.  That’s why we all make bad choices, because we don’t see the immediate effect.  The “Slight Edge” is when you have an advantage over other people because you know that all your choices will affect your future.

The Slight Edge pertains to health, financial health, education, or any long term goal you can think of.  In Chapter 6, the author applies the Slight Edge to his daughter college experience.  I remember a similar experience for myself in college.  I remember being a freshman.  For most of the incoming student, it was our first time in our lives that we could control our own schedule 24/7.  I can remember noticing that some students seemed to have a lot more free time than I did.  They were able to party during the week and skip classes.  For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how they did it.  Some people that I can remember seemed to not have a worry in the world and just had a good time.  Somewhere around my junior year, I realized how those particular students were able to carry on their schedule.  They WEREN’T.  I had made the assumption that they were going get good grades and graduate like I was.  They didn’t have an ability that I didn’t.  They had just made partying a higher priority than school and eventually dropped out.  If you look at the number in each class year at any university, you will see what I mean.  The freshman class is much larger than the senior class.  What a light bulb moment I had!  I hadn’t done anything spectacular, I just went to class and studied.  All I did was continue doing what I was expected to do and I graduated and they applied the same principals to get my master’s degree.

As we age, we can see the Slight Edge, not only in our own lives, but in other that we know as well.  A great place to see this is at class reunions.  Ask yourself, if I was to go to my class reunion next week, would I be proud to tell my old friends what I’m up to?  Am I in the physical shape that I want to be? 

In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, takes about 8-10 years to get a black belt.  The vast majority in BJJ don’t make it to the Black Belt level because of the time it takes.  Greg Lawson, the head instructor where I train Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, has a favorite saying.  “A black belt is just a white belt who never quit.”  Or, maybe I could change it to “a black belt is a white belt who  applied the Slight Edge.”