“Habits change into character.”
“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which over time, add up to big differences that we often foresee.”
– Marian Wright Edelman
October 6, 2020
The ability to make choices is one of the most underrated and yet powerful gifts endowed to all individuals. Except most of the time the great majority of our choices are made on autopilot by our subconscious. That need not be the case though.
Relinquishing control to subconscious programs that have run for months, years or longer, is one way that an individual’s highest potential and goals become derailed. Even so, subconscious programs can be overruled at any moment by an individual’s conscious choice.
As business strategist and motivational speaker, Tony Robbins, once said:
“It is your decisions, and not your conditions, that determine your destiny.”
Likewise, it is the sequential fusion of optimal choices that individuals make, the never-ending decisions that individuals stitch together over the course of their lives that weaves the threads of their life.
And when a continual wave of optimal choices is concurrently created over time, a compound effect begins to take place which exacerbates growth. How to achieve that compound effect, through carrying out advantageous decisions in stark fashion is what The Compound Effect seeks to bring about.
In essence, CEO advisor and keynote speaker Darren Hardy outlines in The Compound Effect crucial considerations for individuals to keep in mind when they are face to face with the common choices that help interlace the strands of success, while also noting many common pitfalls individuals run up against.
Besides discussing strategies for eliminating bad habits that are some of the main anchors keeping individuals from any significant progress, Hardy also delves into a variety of other critical considerations to help create success such as paying attention to vices at key times, public displays of accountability (nothing like calling yourself out in the public eye!), the importance of setting yourself up for success by doing and not simply wishing, to being mindful about habits such as watching TV, which drain far too much time from daily schedules.
In fact, no choice is too large to overlook. As the author notes:
“Choices are at the root of every one of your results. Each choice starts a behavior that overtime becomes a habit. Choose poorly, and you just might find yourself back at the drawing board forced to make often harder choices. Don’t choose at all, and you’ve made the choice to be passive receiver of whatever comes your way.”1
That is why making conscious choices, permanently remaining in the driver’s seat is fundamental to growth.
If the subconscious mind is making over 90% of the choices, then the simplest way to begin taking control is by being mindful, by anchoring in the moment. That’s square one. Individuals cannot plot a new heading unless they anchor down and begin setting a new bearing, and this can only be done from the driver’s seat.
The beauty of this conundrum is that your life is a reflection of the choices you make, all of them. The more individuals are mindful of their choices, the more they set themselves up for success and growth. Conversely, the more the capacity to exercise cognitive control is relinquished to subconscious programs, the more likely those habits that have always plagued them will remain in control. As Hardy notes, everyone will fall off the wagon at times, but it is getting back on that matters most. This is not simply so optimal decisions are made, but also to continue the momentum built over time, while also making sure that the choice that led to the single mistake doesn’t compound thus becoming a bad habit by overriding new habits created.
In spite of that, there are many circumstances individuals ought to be mindful of, and one of the biggest hurdles all individuals face comes through the instant gratification trap. I know no better example of this than what takes place from the dopamine rush individuals get from use of social media given how prevalent it is.
Modern media has aided in making the societal addiction to speed a default in a significant majority of people’s lives, and the issue grows with every new generation. To turn that tide, not only must individuals become mindful and overrule their subconscious mind and take back cognitive control, but also contemplate how it is that they got to their current point in life in order to ascertain what genuinely worked to bring about success, and what really didn’t and simply held them back so that they are properly prepared for the future.
To that end, one of the most significant parts in the book are the three key influences for your success, which are (1) input, which is what you feed your mind, (2) associations, which are the people with whom you spend the most time with, and (3) your environment, your surroundings.
These might not seemlike crucial considerations, but every aspect of an individual’s daily consumption, relationships and environs influences individuals so much that it can have powerful effects all the way down to the genetic level through the vibrational quantum field of life. Therefore the Compound Effect, through proactive choices that can create positive habits, is an incredibly powerful consideration to keep in mind, for it can not only affect you as a person, but your future generations as well and that’s not a hyperbole.
In the end, the power of conscious choices should be a default consideration for all individuals that not only wish to overrule cognitively defaulting to autopilot, but also those seeking to spawn positively resounding change.
Appreciatively, Hardy provides a genuine template for not only how individuals can rid themselves of bad habits, but also in how to begin stringing enough positive choices together from scratch by doing simple things anyone can do with easy-to-follow suggestions throughout the book, which help bring about the compound effect. The goals achieved and the growth experienced from the employment of the ideas in this book will be directly proportional to the commitment someone employs, which is why staying mindful is paramount for success.
Whatever you do, do not stay a passive receiver of what life throws your way. Instead, become proactive and stay consciously active in as many choices as possible, regaining cognitive control therein creating the consistency that will generate the momentum for new habits to be created that compound continually over time into the growth you seek.
That is how you begin to live life to the fullest, and it all begins with your next conscious thought.
 Darren Hardy, The Compound Effect, p. 22.
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