The Slight Edge Concept

For some reason, I’ve been on a mission the past several weeks to clean the clutter in my house. I’m known to collect or save a lot of things.  I wouldn’t go as far as saying that I horde although someone might make an argument for it.

I seem to always have unending stacks of paper.  I often say it’s due to the fact I don’t have the time or perhaps don’t make the time to go through my mail regularly.  Then when I do, I make my A & B pile, where A needs more immediate attention and B waits and waits and waits.  I end up with multiple B piles.  I’m at the point where I’m tired of the piles and decided I’m going to conquer them.

In order to do so, I decided to incorporate The Slight Edge® concept.  The general concept is not new, it was simply given a name and written about in detail a few years ago in the book The Slight Edge: Secrets to a Successful Life by Jeff Olsen.  The basic premise is that you take a task or goal and you complete or achieve it through incremental, consistent work.

One of my favorite examples of using the concept is the story of a young boy that wanted to be the strongest man in the world.  There was one major roadblock, this boy was extremely sick, in and out of the hospital, thin and fragile.  He shared his desire to be the strongest man alive with his parents. Knowing his current condition, his parents, like many, although wanting to support him, tried to be realistic.  He, however, had a plan.

He decided he would get stronger by doing push-ups.  There was only one problem.  He was so weak, he could barely do one.  So guess what he did?  He did one; one in the morning and one in the evening for an entire week.  After one week, he did two in the morning and two at night.  The next week, three and three and so on until 10 years later he was able to do 520 pushups at one time, twice a day.  You read that right, 520 pushups at one time.  That is incredible!  And remember, it started with ONE.

So, as I stated earlier, I’ve been using this concept for my clutter clean.  I’ve been taking ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the evening and wiping out stacks.  Does it mean I’ll add a minute next week and then another the following.  No, although I could and that would certainly speed up my progress.  The main thing for me with using The Slight Edge® approach is getting something done, even on a small scale every day until the task is completed.

Let’s take an example of using the concept for a baseball player, specifically a hitter.  What if, in addition to a normal hitting workout, you were to take an extra 10 swings in the morning and an extra 10 swings in the evening every day?  In one year, that would equate to an extra 7,300 swings.  Work that number at 20 extra swings, two times a day and you’re at 14,600 and at 25 extras, twice a day you’ve now done an extra 18,250 swings in a year.  Do you think that might make a difference after a year? Two years? Five years?  Just maybe. :-)

Slight Edge® can be applied to any area of our life.  Do you want to lose some weight, say 30 pounds?  Don’t look at it as 30 pounds.   Look at it as 2 lbs. this week, then 2 lbs. next week and so on.  Even better would be .3 lbs. today, .3 lbs. tomorrow, etc.  In 4 months you will have lost 30 pounds.  And how will we lose this weight?  Also via Slight Edge®, pick one thing that’s not good for you and remove it from your diet this week.  Pick another thing the following week (making sure you don’t add back the first :-) ), then the next, etc.  You can also simultaneously add in those things that are good for you that you have been neglecting or avoiding.  You can also add in Slight Edge® exercise and you are really rolling.  It works.  Just keep it slow and steady.

Let’s bring the discussion back to our athletes.  Decide what it is you need and then apply the concept.  It might be strength.  It might be speed.  It might be recovery; for example, working your way up to nine hours of sleep.

It might be skill specific.  Perhaps you need to go to work on your backhand, your bunting, your transition.  Let your mind go to work on this and whatever you determine, Slight Edge® it.  This really can be a powerful tool in your training.  Start today!

I’d love to hear how you applied this concept.  Please share your successes either directly to me or post a reply here on the blog.

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