The Compound Effect

The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy is  amazing small personal development book packed with wisdom and Big Ideas. Read on to find the most valuable content from the book.


The compound effect states that the only real secret of success is making the right decision, over and over again, for a long period of time. The right decision most of the time doesn’t look appealing, at least when you are first starting. Watching Game of Thrones instead of writing this article is way easier but is not the right choice if I want to be successful. Our habits are built by what we repeatedly do. If you are going to project yourself into the future, five years from now, taking the actions that you are currently taking, where will you be? Are you happy with your answer? If not, you need to change the small actions that you are taking in your day to day life to change your future.

“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.”


The small actions we take every day have huge repercussions on our lives, but usually, we are not aware of it. Let’s say that Ben has been watching his favorite TV series for the past month, he was staying up late, and when finally went to bed, he couldn’t fall asleep. He was tired in the morning and wasn’t showing up on time at work. He started eating McDonalds because he wasn’t able to cook his own food anymore. As a result, Ben had less energy and underperformed at his office, and after three months, he got fired.

“Every decision, no matter how slight, alters the trajectory of your life.”


Have you ever seen elephants biting someone? What about mosquitoes instead? When there is a big change for the worse in your life, the small bad decisions you have been taking for the past year, even for the past ten years, are the cause of the problem.

“Seemingly insignificant decisions can completely throw you off course because you’re not mindful of them.”


This is a really powerful tool. For example, our poor friend Ben is having financial problems because he is spending more money than he could afford. The main problem is that Ben is not aware of his choices, he is just following his impulses without thinking about what he is doing. One thing he should definitely do is to start tracking whatever he is buying, even the cups of coffee from Starbucks he enjoys so much. Once Ben is aware of his decisions, he can make improvement in the way he is spending his money. We can apply this tool in all the areas of our lives, especially in the time management.

“Tracking is a simple exercise. It works because it brings moment-to-moment awareness to the actions you take in the area of your life you want to improve.”


This is not some woo-woo notions from The Secret. We need to understand that our life situation is just a reflection of who we are and the choices we have made. To improve our situation, we need to expand ourselves to be able to influence the lives of other people for the better. If we are looking to earn more money, we should stop watching so much TV and replace that habit with an empowering one, like reading or listening to audio books. A good question to ask yourself, in order to understand if you are investing your time well and not just wasting it, is: am I going to be a better person after I have done/watched/read, etc. the X thing? The more you are/give, the more you get. How many people Bill Gates is influencing? What about Steve Jobs? What about you?

“If you want to have more, you have to become more. Success is not something you pursue. What you pursue will elude you; it can be like trying to chase butterflies. Success is something you attract by the person you become.”


What do you think people like Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, Roger Federer have in common? They are all aware of the power of the momentum; when they start getting results, they keep working as hard as they were doing before and end up achieving even more. It is not easy to build momentum. The hardest part for a space shuttle is escaping the gravity of the earth, in fact, the biggest portion of its fuel is used during the launch. When starting from scratch, making the first steps is going to be the hardest part. Once you get into the rhythm, you are always going to get more and more momentum. Obviously, you need to keep putting in the efforts for the rewards to keep growing exponentially.

“Achievers-People who get into a successful rhythm-continue busting their butts and end up achieving more and more.”


Once we get some results, the tendency that most people have is to relax and stop doing the things that got them successful in the first place. That is possibly the worst decision one in that position could ever make because they will lose momentum and lose their results. They will need to start all over again and go through the same challenges going back to square one. I have done it myself many times, and I have always regretted it. If you follow this pattern − work hard, get results, stop working, lose your results, start again − be aware that your journey to where you want to be is going to be at least ten times longer.

“If you and I flew planes from Los Angeles to Manhattan, but you took off and landed in every state in between, while I flew straight through, even if you went five hundred miles per hour in the air and I only traveled at a rate of two hundred miles per hours, I’d still beat you by a big margin.”


What is the first thing you do when you wake up? Is it checking your phone for emails or social notifications? What if instead, we spent five minutes first thing in the morning to be grateful for what we already have in our lives? We would start our day in the right mood to work on our goals. Once again, what makes the difference between success and failure is what we repeatedly do.

“To reach new goals and develop new habits, it’s necessary to create new routines to support your objectives.”


We need to say farewell to all the influences that are not helping us become the best version of ourselves. If your friends are always pointing out reasons about why you are not going to make it, then probably they are not real friends after all, and you should consider saying goodbye to them. Have you ever met “vampire people”? They seem to absorb your life energy with their negativity and criticism. Fortunately, though, the world is full of givers, and once two givers meet, they are going to enrich each other’s lives. Remember, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” We need to be aware as well of all the worthless information that we unconsciously or subconsciously absorb throughout the day and how many hours we spend checking the TV, radio, newspapers, Facebook, etc.
“You cannot hang out with negative people and expect to live a positive life.”


Do you want to know what the right thing to do is? Look around and see what most people are doing, then do the complete opposite. Most people don’t follow their passion because of fear of it being “risky.” Most people watch television; most people don’t read books; most people go to college just because their parents said so; no wonder why most people’s life sucks. Don’t be like most people. Make your own mindful choices and live your life according to your own values.

“To me, what’s popular is average, it’s what’s common. Common things deliver common results.”

By Aman Varma • Author • Humanitarian • Happiness Coach

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