From the Book Pile: The Compound Effect

Darren Hardy.The Compound Effect. New York. Vanguard Press, 2010. 192 pp. $14.99

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As the publisher and editorial director of SUCCESS magazine, Darren Hardy works with many of today’s top CEOs, entrepreneurs, athletes, entertainers and Olympic champions, to uncover and share the success secrets behind their extraordinary success.  In addition to the magazine, Hardy share his ideas on his blog and in this top-selling book.

I’ll admit, I often treat “success” books with a skeptical eye as the motivation behind the concepts are often common sense ideas that most of us have all heard before.  However, lessons in leadership and motivation from life and the work world can translate to the basketball floor.  At this time of year, many will resolve to make changes in their lives, but few stick with it.  In fact, the concept of New Year’s resolutions has become a bit of a tongue in cheek reminder of how difficult change can be!  Hardy’s premise is a simple and familiar concept, but if you need to make some changes, it’s a message worth hearing again.  The Compound Effect is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices – like allowing savings to earn compound interest over time.  And, even though you often do not see or feel immediate results, sticking with it generally pays off.  Hardy’s view relates to every aspect of life -make small, concrete choices now to reap benefits over time.  In our world today, that’s not an easy thing.

BASKETBALL – You either get better or you get worse!

College basketball teams are entering the best time of year – nothing but basketball!  With time off between semesters, most of us have the chance to really focus on changes that are needed to help our team be in a position for the post-season.  Wise players and coaches use this time to shore up weaknesses and build upon strengths.  It’s the perfect time to implement the Compound Effect!  It’s often simple, subtle changes that can make the difference – a little more film, extra time in the weightroom, a few more shots.  The point is, your team will either get better or they’ll get worse, so why not commit to small adjustments to make improvements.

ScholzFor example, our team has done a tremendous job so far in attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line, but unfortunately, we’re only making 64% of our attempts.  A small, consistent investment of extra shooting on our players’ part can have a huge impact and quite possibly determine our final record.  In the past, I witnessed a player who felt like her level of conditioning was impacting her amount of playing time and production on the court.  Over the semester break, she committed to doing an extra fifteen minutes of aerobic work after every practice.  By the end of that season, she moved to the top of our team’s statistics in minutes played, shooting percentage, and steals after starting the season in the middle of the pack in all three.  Within in a couple of months she became one of the best conditioned players I’ve ever been around.  Her choice to invest fifteen extra minutes made the difference.  What small changes can you make?

LIFE – Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

If you haven’t had much success with resolutions, try the Compound Effect in any aspect of your life.  Sales job?  Make two extra calls every day.  Dieting?  Drink two extra glasses of water every day.  Connecting with friends?  Spend fifteen minutes a week devoted to listening and communicating with a different friend each week.  Feeling some spiritual emptiness?  Commit to a daily devotion time.  And if you’re not sure which areas need some improvement, Hardy provides a series of free resources that can help you determine your focus.

FAITH – Make the most of it.

The Compound Effect is an idea that has been around for a long time and was referred to by Jesus in The Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30.  We are each given time and talents, in varying degrees, and God expects us to make something of it just as the master in the story expected his servants to grow his investments.  One of the challenges of life in this world is not just to take action, but to maintain it.  That’s why New Year’s resolutions are so difficult.  We identify big changes, but fail to maintain the motivation required to follow through.  It’s part of our broken condition in a sin-filled world, but also is a clear reminder of how much we need our Redeemer.

I heard several sermons and read numerous articles the last few days about the difficulty of resolutions.  God provides the only true and reliable solutions or wisdom for the challenges in this world, and He expects us to use that wisdom.  The Compound Effect teaches each of us to apply the principle of small, consistent changes to make the most of our lives.  Failing to do so is a disappointment to the One who made you.  In fact He also wants us to set goals and to have a plan, after all, He did:

He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth. (Ephesians 1:10 Message)

God has a plan for this world and calsl us to develop personal plans that bring us closer to Him.  If you just sit on what He gives you, you’re wasting it, so why not find those small adjustments that over time will pay big dividends?  Try it and see (and to our CUW players, how ’bout shooting extra free throws every day?).

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