The Compound Effect

Physical Copy:


By: Darren Hardy

Rating: A

This book is about success and what it really takes to earn it. 

There is no magic bullet, secret formula, or quick fix to success. You don’t lose thirty pounds in a week with a “Hollywood diet,” rub twenty years off your face with a cream, fix your love life with a pill, or find lasting success with a get-rich-quick scheme. 

It would be great if you could buy your success, self-esteem, good relationships, health, and well-being in a nice and neat package at the local Walmart, but that’s not how it works.

Warning: earning success is hard. The process is laborious, tedious, and sometimes even boring. Becoming wealthy, influential, and world-class in your field is slow and arduous.

If you have an aversion to work, discipline, and commitment, you’re welcome to turn the TV back on and put your hope in the next infomercial instead.

Chapter 1 – The Compound Effect In Action

It doesn’t matter how smart you are or aren’t, what you lack in experience, skill, intelligence, or innate ability you need to make up with hard work.

The Principle

The Compound Effect is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices. The results are massive, the steps, at the moment, don’t feel significant.

Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = RADICAL DIFFERENCE

After 31 months (or 31 years), the person who uses the Compound Effect appears to be an “overnight success.” In reality, his or her profound success was the result of small, smart choices, completed consistently over time. 

Success, Old School 

The most challenging aspect of the Compound Effect is that we have to keep working away for a while, consistently and efficiently, before we begin to see the payoff. Our grandparents knew this.

The secret to success was then, and is now, hard work, discipline, and good habits.

Chapter 2 – Choices

We all come into this world the same: naked, scared, and ignorant. After that grand entrance, the life we end up with is simply an accumulation of all the choices we make. Our choices can be our best friend or our worst enemy.

Own your choices 100 Percent. Everything is up to you. You are responsible for everything you do, don’t do, or how you respond to what is done to you.

The Complete Formula for Getting Lucky:

Preparation (personal growth) + Attitude (belief/mindset) + Opportunity (a good thing coming your way) + Action (doing something about it) = Luck

  • Preparation: By consistently improving yourself (skills, knowledge, expertise, relationships, resources) you have the wherewithal to take advantage of great opportunities when they arise.
  • Attitude: A matter of seeing situations, conversations, and circumstances as fortuitous. You cannot see what you don’t look for, and you cannot look for what you don’t believe in.
  • Opportunity: A natural occurrence that often shows up seemingly of its own accord.
  • Action: YOU take action.

If you want to get from where you are to where you want to be, you have to start by becoming aware of the choices that lead you away from your desired destination. Become very conscious of every choice you make today so you can begin to make smarter choices moving forward.

Track Your Actions. If you want to become aware of your choices, track every action that relates to the area of your life you want to improve.

Tracking works because it brings moment-to-moment awareness to the actions you take in the area of your life you want to improve. 

Want to lose weight? Track every calorie you eat, every workout you do, and how much sleep you are getting. 

You’ll be surprised at what you will observe about your behavior. You cannot manage or improve something until you measure it. Likewise, you can’t make the most of who you are – your talents and resources and capabilities – until you are aware of and accountable for your actions.

Chapter 3 – Habits

Habit: an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary.

Great achievers all share one common trait – they all have good habits. Their habits take them in the direction of becoming more informed, more knowledgeable, more competent, better skilled, and better prepared.

Most people drift through life without devoting much conscious energy to figuring out specifically what they want and what they need to do to take themselves there.

Set Goals. You only see, experience, and get what you look for. If you don’t know what to look for, you certainly won’t get it.

When you instruct your brain to look for the things you want (writing down a goal), you will begin to see them. In fact, the object of your desire has probably always existed around you, but your mind and eyes weren’t open to “seeing” it.

What To Do With Bad Habits

Your life comes down to this formula:

You ⇨ CHOICE (decision) + BEHAVIOR (action) + HABIT (repeated action) + COMPOUNDED (time) = GOALS

That is why it is imperative to figure out which behaviors are blocking the path that leads to your goal, and which behaviors will help you accomplish your goal.

Write out your top three goals. Now make a list of the bad habits that might be sabotaging your progress in each area. Write down every one. 

  1. Identify Your triggers. Look at your list of bad habits. For each one you’ve written down, identify what triggers it. Figure out what I call “The Big 4’s” – the who, the what, the where, and the when underlying each bad behavior.
  1. Clean House. If you want to stop drinking alcohol, remove every drop of it from your house. If you want to stop watching so much television at night, cancel all your cable, Netflix, and other subscription services. If you want to eat healthier, clean your cupboards of all the crap and stop buying junk food.
  1. Swap It. How can you alter your habits so that they’re not as harmful? I love something sweet after a meal. I replaced an entire bowl of ice cream with two Hershey’s Kisses (50 calories).

Game Changers: Techniques for Installing Good Habits

  1. Set Yourself Up to Succeed. If you want to lose weight and eat healthier, make sure your fridge and pantry are stocked with healthy options.
  1. Go for a PDA: Public Display of Accountability. Tell your family. Tell your friends. Tell Facebook and Twitter.
  1. Find a Success Buddy. There are few things as powerful as two people locked arm and arm marching towards the same goal.
  1. Celebrate! There should be a time to celebrate and enjoy some of the fruits of your victories along the way. You can’t go through this thing sacrificing yourself with no benefit.

Chapter 4 – Momentum (Big Mo for short)

Law of Inertia: Objects at rest tend to stay at rest unless acted on by an outside force. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion, unless something stops their momentum. Put another way, achievers – people who get into a successful rhythm – continue busting their butts and end up achieving more and more. 

Adopting change. You get started by taking one small step, one action at a time. Progress is slow, but once a newly formed habit has kicked in, Big Mo joins the party. Then your success and results compound rapidly. 

How do you build momentum?

  1. Making new choices based on your goals and core values.
  2. Putting those choices to work through new positive behaviors.
  3. Repeating those healthy actions long enough to establish new habits.
  4. Building routines and rhythms into your daily disciplines.
  5. Staying consistent over a long enough period of time.

Bookend Your Days

You can’t always control the middle of your day but you can almost always control how your day starts and ends.

In the Morning: Every morning the first 8 minutes, I do the following: 

  1. I think about everything I am grateful for.
  2. I pray for one person.
  3. I think about my number 1 goal and decide the three things I am going to do on this day to move closer toward reaching it.

At Night: It’s important to reflect on your day’s performance. Compared to your plan for the day, how did it go? What do you need to carry over to tomorrow’s plan? What else needs to be added, based on what showed up throughout the day? What’s no longer important and needs to be scratched out?

Finally, I like to read at least 10 pages of an inspirational book before going to sleep.

The Power of Consistency

If there is one discipline that gives a competitive advantage, it is consistency. Nothing kills Big Mo quicker and with more certainty than a lack of consistency. 

Chapter 5 – Influences

Your choices, behaviors, and habits are influenced by very powerful external forces.

Ensure they support rather than derail your journey toward success. Everyone is affected by 3 kinds of influences: input (what you feed your mind), association (the people you spend time with), and environment (your surroundings).

  1. Input: Garbage in, Garbage Out

Left to its own devices, your mind will traffic in the negative, worrisome, and fearful all day and night. We can’t change our DNA, but we can change our behavior.

We can be disciplined and proactive about what we allow in.

Step 1: Stand Guard

Maybe you can’t avoid the negative posts when you go on social media, but you can limit the amount of time you are logged on. 

Put yourself on a media diet. 

The great danger of the media is that it gives us a very perverted view of the world. Because the focus and the repetition of messaging is on the negative, that’s what our mind starts believing. This warped and narrow view of what’s not working has a severe influence on your creative potential. It can be crippling. 

Step 2: Enroll in Drive-Time U

It’s not enough to eliminate negative input. To move in a positive direction, you must flush out the bad and fill up on the good. My car won’t move without two things: gasoline and an ever-present library of instructional podcasts and audiobooks I listen to as I drive.

By listening to instructional material as I drive, I gain knowledge equivalent to two semesters of an advanced college degree every year.

  1. Associations: Who’s Influencing You?

Who do you spend the most time with? Who are the people you most admire? Are those two groups of people exactly the same? If not, why not? Jim Rohn taught that we become the combined average of the five people we hang around the most.

Dissociations: There are some people you might need to break away from. Completely. This is hard but essential.

Develop Your Own Personal Board of Advisors (Mentors)

Seek out positive people who have achieved the success you want to create in your own life. 

Who should be on your personal board of advisors? Think of someone who can improve individual parts of your life: faith, family, fitness, career, etc. Remember the adage: “Never ask advice of someone with whom you wouldn’t want to trade places.” Reach out to them regularly.

  1. Environment: Changing Your View Changes Your Perspective

The dream in your heart may be bigger than the environment in which you find yourself. Sometimes you have to get out of that environment to see the dream fulfilled.

When I talk about your environment, I’m not only referring to where you live. I’m referring to whatever surrounds you. Creating a positive environment to support your success means clearing out all the clutter in your life. 

Chapter 6 – Acceleration

Giving a little more time, energy, or thought to your efforts won’t only improve your results, it will multiply them. It takes very little extra to be EXTRAordinary. In all areas of your life, look for the multiplier opportunities where you can go a little further, push yourself a little harder, last a little longer, prepare a little better, and deliver a little bit more.

This separates you from others and your old self.

What 3 areas can you do “extra”? (Weightlifting, prospect calls, recognition, etc.)

What 3 areas can you beat the expectations? How can you create “wow” moments?

Next Actions:

What habits do I need to quit right now?

Begin building my personal board of directors.

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