Setting Goals: The “Magic Bullet”

One of Jim Rohn’s lessons that made an impression on me was when he described the difference between success and failure. Success (or failure) begins with the discipline of performing (or not performing) some easy tasks. Simple tasks are easy to do and they are easy not to do.

As you approach the New Year, you may be charting a course of action that is intended to create major change in your life. Whether you succeed or not will greatly depend on your expectations of what the results will be from a given action(s), or more correctly, simple tasks that must become disciplines if you are to attain success.

In order to ensure you are on the right track, make sure the plan you have is designed to achieve your goals. In most cases, this can be done by balancing your plan with one who has succeeded already. Consider, if your goal is to travel half ways around the world, and you had a choice of taking a hot air balloon or being a passenger on a 747… which would you choose?

The following is an excerpt from Jeff Olson’s “The Slight EDGE” (2005) which will help explain an area you must not confuse in your efforts to achieve your goals.

Sunset in Hawaii

The “Magic Bullet”

Every single January in every gym in America, hundreds of thousands of people start over in a process that they will soon quit— only because they haven’t set themselves up with the right expectation. They aren’t looking for incremental progress; they’re looking for results they can feel. They’re looking for a breakthrough. They never had a chance.

Easy to do, easy not to do … and in that tiny, seemingly insignificant little choice not to do, so many people needlessly live out lives of quiet desperation.

Believing in the “big break” is worse than simply being futile. It’s actually dangerous, because it can keep you from taking the actions you need to take to create the results you want. It can even be lethal. Think of the poor frog that gave up and let himself drown because he couldn’t see a breakthrough on the horizon. He was wrong, of course: there are miracles, even in the life of a frog. It’s just that the breakthrough didn’t come down out of the clouds; it came at the end of a series of consistent, determined, compounding-interest foot-paddlings.

What’s the greatest gift you can give to an inner-city kid? An understanding of the Slight Edge. Because that’s not the answer he’s getting from the world around him. He believes that the only way out of his world of poverty, violence, oppression and fear is to become a sports superstar — because that’s what we tell him. That’s the quantum leap answer. The truth, of course, is that very, very few individuals will have the talent to break out of that world by becoming sports superstars. And deep down, every one of these kids knows that, or soon finds out… so they give up. Why bother? And they become victims of the Quantum Leap Myth.

Over the last several decades, it’s been amazing to me how many people I’ve been close to have persisted in making fun of my dietary choices, exercise habits and personal development goals.

The “insignificant” little things I’ve been doing every day for years have always struck them as funny, because they couldn’t see the point. They couldn’t see the results coming further on down the path.

Today I see these friends and ache for them: many now have failing health, are languishing in poor financial conditions and seem to have lost their hopes for the future. What they have a hard time seeing is that my good health isn’t an accident, and their poor health isn’t a stroke of bad luck. We’ve all gotten to where we are today the exact same way: the Slight Edge. They are victims of the Quantum Leap Myth.

Our society is sliding rapidly into an ever-increasing economic crisis of poor health. Endemic adult onset diabetes, heart disease, obesity and a score of other chronic illnesses have steadily fed a monstrously overgrown health care system, tax system and social security system – and there isn’t a single “cause” anywhere in sight. As I’m writing this (early 2005), several of our most widely used over-the-counter drugs have suddenly been found to make things worse. And as cancer continues its climb, the drumbeat litany goes on as it has for decades: A cure is just around the corner … we’re so close …the latest research says… with your dollars, we’ll soon see a breakthrough …

A cure is not just around the corner. The cure is right here, under our noses and on our plates.

There is no mystery for those who know how to recognize the Slight Edge at work. Our entire health crisis is nothing but one set of little decisions, made daily and compounded daily, winning out over another set of little decisions, made daily and compounded daily.

We look for the cure, the breakthrough, the magic pill – the medical-scientific quantum leap miracle our press has dubbed the “magic bullet.” But the solution already exists. It always did. Is it magic? Yes – the same magic that caused the problem: the power of daily actions, compounded over time. The magic of the Slight Edge.


If you’ve received value from this article, please like, share and comment. And may your upcoming plans be empowered by your Slight Edge.

I’ll see you… on the next page.

Challen Yee

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