Review – The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
The Slight Edge is simple to read because its message is simple – don’t get so wrapped up in changing who you are, focus on changing what you do. It provides a strong foundation for building up the mental strength needed to tackle tasks or achieve goals. This is important in beating weed addiction because if you’ve tried and failed to quit already, then you’ve lost a bit of self-confidence. What The Slight Edge does is reinforce that actions speak louder than thoughts (you thought I was going to say words, right?). What this means is by making a decision to do whatever tasks you need for your goal, the resulting ongoing actions build your self-confidence in the process, making it easier to apply to other parts of your life you may struggle with, like beating weed addiction.
Actions Speak Louder Than Thoughts
One of the biggest problems in giving up weed is the way we think. It’s no coincidence that the thought trap which led us to weed dependency is the same trap stopping us from finding a way out. If you didn’t have the right mental tools to recognise you were sliding into weed addiction, why would you have the wisdom to stop? You’re not stupid, it’s just your current level of experience or information is not enough to take you where you need to go. You need external sources, such as positive role models, information from websites such as this, and books like The Slight Edge.
Master the Mundane
The central ideology behind The Slight Edge is taking action and sticking to it. It’s really that simple. Sounds underwhelming and a bit patronising, when you think about. But how often have we given up on something because we could see no results, or it was just boring? Jeff Olson shows that repetition brings about change and that the skill is not in mastering the task, but mastering the mental dullness which comes with repetition, those thoughts of, “Why am I doing this every day?”, “There’s no point”, and “I could be doing something else”. A good analogy the book uses is a story about two brothers tasked with whipping cream into butter. One brother gives up after much repetition, and all he has it seems, is cream. The other brother persists, and shortly afterwards has made butter. When looking at this closer, at one point in the task, both brothers had produced cream on the cusp of transforming into butter – they just couldn’t see it, as it still resembled cream. It makes you wonder how often we’ve given up on tasks because we got bored or could see no results, when in fact, the cream of effort was about to transform into the butter of reward.
Attitude and Habits
The book continues to break down several components which form its basis. As simple as it is to do a task and stick to it, we need a little bit more to go on, particularly as the concept will be new for most people. Olson explains what happens when you stick with repetition, and what you need to support it. Attitude is one area, and again, it sounds simple and something you hear all the time, which makes it easy to dismiss. But there’s plenty of context behind why attitude is important, and what you can do to harness it. This is where habits come into the picture, so aside from sticking to the repetitious tasks needed for your goal, creating daily habits to maintain your attitude will help. As Olson says, attitudes are emotions and even if you have all the tools he’s giving you, we all have bad days which can be hard to bounce back from, and the key to this is managing your attitude.
Peeling Back Layers
There sheer volume of self-help books in circulation makes it hard to take the category seriously. For every quality self-help book, there are several other underwhelming titles which can deter you from the genre. This is one of those quality titles, and if you’ve baulked at reading self-help books in the past, start with this, you won’t be disappointed. The book probably won’t stop you from smoking weed, but it will give you the mental capability to tackle it when you’re ready. From a different angle, your weed problem is surrounded by layers of self-defeating thoughts and behaviours which stop you from quitting. The book shows you how to peel back those layers and replace them with fresh ones. In that sense, it starts to erode your reasons behind smoking weed, and direct you towards some new goals or a purpose that you may have given up hope of ever achieving.