Monday, May 16, 2011

The Compound Effect: Success, Old School
Written by Darren Hardy

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 this. They didn’t spend their evenings glued to the TV watching infomercials about how to have thin thighs in thirty days or a real estate kingdom in six months. I bet your grandparents worked six days a week, from sunup to sundown, using skills they learned in their youth and repeated throughout their entire life. They knew the secret was hard work, discipline and good habits.

It’s interesting that wealth tends to skip a generation. Overwhelming abundance often leads to a lackadaisical mentality, which brings about a sedentary lifestyle. Children of the wealthy are especially susceptible. They weren’t the ones who developed the discipline and character to create the wealth in the first place. So it makes sense that they may not have the same sense of value for wealth or understand what’s necessary to keep it. We frequently see this entitlement mentality in children of royalty, movie stars, and corporate executives—and to a lesser degree, in children and adults everywhere.

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!

If we want to succeed, we need to recover our grandparents’ work ethic.

It’s time to restore our character, if not for the sake of saving America, at least for your own greater success and achievement. Don’t buy into the genie in a lamp idea. You can sit on your couch waiting to attract checks in your mailbox, rub crystals together, walk on fire, channel that 2,000-year-old guru, or chant affirmations if you want to, but much of that is hocus-pocus commercialism manipulating you by appealing to your weaknesses. Real and lasting success requires work—and lots of it!

I have a quick, real-time story to illustrate this nothing-fails-like success concept: A great new restaurant opened up close to my home on the beach in San Diego. In the beginning, the place was always immaculate, the hostess had a big, welcoming smile for everyone, the service was impeccable (the manager came over and assured it), and the food was sensational. Soon, people started lining up to eat there and would often wait more than an hour to be seated.

Then, unfortunately, the restaurant’s staff began to take its success for granted. The hostess became snooty, the service staff disheveled and curt, and the food quality hit-or-miss. The place was out of business within eighteen months. They failed because of their success. Or rather, because they stopped doing what made them successful to begin with. Their success clouded their perspective and they slacked off.

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. OK?

Promise yourself that you’re going to let go once and for all of your lottery-winner expectations because, let’s face it, you only hear stories about the one winner, not the millions of losers. That person you see jumping up and down in front of the Vegas slot machine or at the Santa Anita horse track doesn’t reveal the hundreds of times that same person lost. If we go back to our mathematical chance of a positive result, again, we have a rounding error of zero—as in, you have about zero chance of winning. Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, says that if we gave lottery losers each thirty seconds on TV to announce not, “I won!” but “I lost,” it would take almost nine years to get through the losers of a single drawing!

When you understand how The Compound Effect works, you won’t pine for quick fixes or silver bullets. Don’t try to fool yourself into believing that a mega-successful athlete didn’t live through regular bone-crushing drills and thousands of hours of practice. He got up early to practice—and kept practicing long after all others had stopped. He faced the sheer agony and frustration of the failure, loneliness, hard work, and disappointment it took to become No. 1.

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. If you use the principles outlined in The Compound Effect, you will create your fairy tale ending!

This article is excerpted from SUCCESS Magazine publisher Darren Hardy’s book, The Compound Effect.

Content republished with permission from Darren Hardy, Publisher of SUCCESS Magazine. For more great insights, tips and strategies on success and achievement go to http://DarrenHardy.SUCCESS.com. More about Darren Hardy can be found at: http://DarrenHardy.SUCCESS.com/About.
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