This post is part one of a follow-up to the background story for how I met Darren Hardy. The following is the first half of the top lessons I’ve learned over the past eight years from the man who has become one of my most influential mentors.
1 – Long-term Perspective & Consistency:
The compound effect is a powerful force in your life for positive or negative and many people fail to realize it. Do you know what happens when you double a penny every day for 31 days? You start with $.01 on day one, and then $.02 on day two, and then $.04, $.08, $.16, $.32, $.64, $1.28, $2.56 and so on.
After nine days and a total of $2.56, there’s not much to be excited about. And yet, when you jump ahead to day thirty, you have $5,368,709.12 and on day thirty-one, you have $10,737,418.24. Now here’s the catch. The math never changes from day one to day thirty-one. It’s just simple duplication. The power is in the consistency. Miss any one day and you don’t get anywhere near the same total.
This simple concept has taught me to have a long-term perspective while maintaining absolute consistency in the present moment. Many are tripped up in two ways. With negative habits, you don’t see the damage being done at the moment. And yet, like in the penny example above, a negative habit compounded over time can destroy your health, relationships, career, and ultimately your life. For this reason, you have to remain vigilant and aware of every area of your life.
Even when trying to build in new and positive habits, it can work the same way. People don’t see the benefits in the short run because the positive effects are too small to be noticed. Exercise, nutrition, and weight loss are great examples where people try again and again to change, only to give up too soon because of a lack of apparent results. The key is to be patient in the short run and to trust the process until the power of the compound effect kicks in. Then the positive results will be so compelling that there’s no way you will stop.
2 – Taking Responsibility
This is a big one, and while I have to give credit to Darren’s mentor, the great Jim Rohn, for first sharing this concept with me, it’s been Darren in recent years who has hammered this principal deep into my consciousness. It’s really simple…accept 100% responsibility for every area of your life. This means the good and the bad. You are where you are in life because of the choices and decisions that you’ve made. If you don’t like where you are, make different choices.
Now you might say, that it’s not your fault that you’re dealing with a certain negative situation. And that may be true and yet you always have a choice in how you respond to any situation. When you place blame on outside circumstances, you give away your power to create change for the positive in your life. So regardless of what happens to you, choose to respond in a positive way. Be solution-oriented rather than problem-oriented and your life will be all the better for it.
3 – Associations
Your associations in life will make or break you so choose wisely. It’s been said that you’re the combined average of the people you spend the most time with. This principle is nothing new as you’ve heard it all your life…starting most likely with your mother. The challenge is that it’s not easy.
I encourage you to take a serious inventory of your life including faith, family & friends, finances, and fitness. Now, look at the people you spend time with and consider how they’re doing in these areas. Depending on what you find, you may have some hard choices to make. Life is too short to allow negative people to drag you down. And remember, there’s no such thing as treading water…you’re either growing for the positive or you’re slipping back for the negative.
And for an added emphasis, it’s not just people that you have to be careful with. News in any format, social media, television, movies, and music all carry a message and it’s either positive or negative. You seriously have to guard your heart and mind daily because, in our over-tech-stimulated world, you are being bombarded day and night. To paraphrase Darren, you have to be hyper-vigilant in feeding your mind with the positive and in shielding your mind from the negative because trust me…the negative will beat a path to your door.
4 – Momentum
Momentum is an awesome force. When properly harnessed, it can propel you to the pinnacle of success, regardless of your pursuit. According to Darren, a train traveling 55 mph on a railroad track can crash through a 5-foot thick steel-reinforced concrete wall without stopping. That same train, starting from a stationary position, won’t be able to go through an inch-thick block in front of the driving wheel.
The trick then is to get momentum working for you so that like the train above, you become essentially unstoppable. The biggest secret I’ve learned from Darren regarding momentum is that it takes time and patience to build. A great example is Apple’s introduction of the iPod. For the record, Apple was the eighth company to introduce an MP3 player…four years behind the original from South Korea’s SaeHan Information Systems.
In 2000, Apple’s revenue growth was 30%. In 2001, the year they launched the iPod, their revenue growth dropped to – 33%. In 2002, it improved to only -2%. In 2003, it improved to 18%, and in 2004, they hit 33%. From there, Apple skyrocketed up to controlling over 70% of the MP3 player market. And today, according to Mother Google, Apple as a brand is worth in excess of $100 billion dollars.
This story has always been such an encouragement to me. Remember, the iPod entered the MP3 race four years behind the leaders with a technically inferior product, and yet due to Steve Job’s dogged persistence and brilliant marketing mind, Apple caught momentum and rode the wave all the way to market dominance.
5 – Thanks Giving Journal
Of all the lessons I’ve learned from Darren over the years, my favorite is on the power of gratitude. His favorite holiday is Thanksgiving where he puts more emphasis on showing his love and affection for the special people in his life versus any other time of the year.
One year, in particular, Darren gave his wife Georgia a very special gift…a Thanks Giving journal. For the entire previous year, Darren journaled daily one positive thought regarding his wife. It could be anything from the way she styled her hair to the meal she prepared for dinner or the way she cared for their dogs.
This is a classic case of manifesting what you give focus and attention to, and Darren will say that one year of constantly looking for the good in his wife dramatically impacted their relationship for the positive. The benefit he discovered was that by proactively focusing on the positive in Georgia, he found himself compelled to show up differently and ultimately to love her all the more. Needless to say, she loved the journal expressing that it was the best gift he had ever given her.
Stay tuned for part 2…