If you’ve not read the book The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s short too, so it won’t take you long. In my opinion (and many others) it’s one of those books whose teachings are so foundational they will stay with you throughout your life.
Yet like all books, until you put the theory into practice yourself, then little will happen or change. I’m learning this more and more every day and what’s helping me understand this so fully is Joe Dispenza’s book ‘Breaking The Habit Of Being Yourself’. The combination of both these two books has created such a powerful shift for me that it’s hard not to talk about it — and would be a shame not to.
I am six months in, recovering from a pretty serious knee operation. I’ve written about the process because I hope that what I learn, will be of help to others. And writing about it helps me assimilate everything, so that when I look back, I know the pain and the upheaval won’t have been for nothing if I’ve captured some of the learnings. After all, the 21st century world is a busy place and we’re designed, over time, to forget some of the toughest challenges we’ve face in our lives.
I am 100% of the belief that we create challenges in our lives in order to learn lessons from them. My lessons, I knew, were about paying more attention and slowing down — learning more to ‘be’ rather than ‘do’. Like Anita Moorjani says in her wonderful Tedx talk ‘Dying to be me!’, which is about coming back to full recovery from stage 4 terminal cancer,
If you’re in a challenge and it doesn’t feel like a gift, it means that you haven’t got to the end yet”
She says of being vs doing
When we live completely from the mind, over a period of time, we lose touch with ourselves and then we begin to feel lost. This happens when we’re in doing mode all the time, rather than being. Being doesn’t mean that we don’t do anything. It’s just that our actions stem from following our heart whilst staying present in the moment. Doing, on the other hand, is future focused, with the mind creating a series of tasks that take us from here to there in order to achieve a particular outcome, regardless of our current emotional state.”
My injury and recovery have been one of the biggest teachers in my life, thus far. I have come along way with a combination of paying attention (and I have to admit, I wasn’t even sure what that meant up until recently), allowing more time to just ‘be’, a morning and evening journaling routine and these two books, The Compound Effect and Breaking The Habit Of Being You (don’t be put off by the title, Joe Dispenza is a scientist!). Learning, through reading, and then putting theory into practice, has brought about some radical shifts in my behaviour which have enhanced my recovery ten-fold.
If we sit long enough without doing anything we begin to feel something. That something is who we really are.”
The Compound Effect teaches us that the magic pill, the quick answer, the big solution or the overnight success is not actually what you think it is and rarely does it exist. Those people who you think have ‘made it’ or got to where they in overnight success is rarely the case. They have practised their art over and over again. It has come with practice, effort and constantly chipping away to get the result you now see and now make judgements on. After 6 weeks of no walking, with my leg in a machine moving it slowly backwards and forwards for 6 hours a day, I then began to work out — 5 days a week for 5 months, getting up at 5.30am and heading into the gym for 2 hours. It took 4 months before I could see any definition in my leg muscles again and I began to feel despondent along the way. I wondered what the point of it all was. I berated myself for not being good enough, or quick enough at healing and decided I must have been doing it all wrong. All the hard work, yet there was no obvious change.
Yet until I’d read The Compound Effect, what I hadn’t considered was that underneath the exterior, there was actually a huge amount going on. Each day that I worked out, there was a change, but because I could not easily see it, I dismissed it. And without having read the book, would I have kept going?
We draw tools in to help us along the way. I have lived it, I am still living it, and know the compound effect theory to be true. It works.
Let’s take for example the notion that you have a big task to do. Yet you put it off because you can’t face it. It’s too big and you tell yourself you’ll hold off until you have more time. Which of course, you never quite find. Given too much time for a task, you’re probably going to be unproductive anyway. Unfocussed. We’re far more effective when we have a short time to do things, which is why tools such as The Pomodoro Effect have been so successful — working in short-bursts is better. You get the idea.
So, instead, don’t wait for the right moment or the right amount of time. Tackle your goal or task, now. Right away. Chip away at it. Do it for 20 mins every day, or every other day. And keep doing it. It may take time, but you’ll be amazed at the results and I’m sure in most cases, not only can you be sure the job will definitely get done, it will get done quicker than if you’d waited and binged on it in one go (that’s if you ever got around to it).
It’s important too, that along the way you visualise the changes you’d like to see and that you’re grateful for them. So, set aside time each day to allow time for this. Just sit quietly, just you and your imagination and ‘create’ the outcome you would like to see. For example, I am grateful for the small but incremental changes I see occurring at the end of each training session and I take 10 minutes or so to see myself as a fit, fully-functioning person again running around a field or a tennis court. Both of these elements is important. You need to think it, then feel it emotionally, so you need to be quiet and have enough time for this to emerge as some days this is easier than others. Writing your new future down in a journal helps cement this even further.
Joe Dispenza — Breaking The Habit Of Being Yourself https://www.amazon.co.uk/Breaking-Habit-Being-Yourself-Create/dp/1848508565
Darren Hardy — The Compound Effect https://www.amazon.co.uk/Compound-Effect-Perseus/dp/159315724X
Benjamin J Hardy — 52 Weeks Momentum https://www.benjaminhardy.com/
Anita Moorjani Dying To Be Me https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhcJNJbRJ6U