I have completed my second challenge! As a reminder, here is what it was:
Read The Slight Edge over the span of a week and report on how it can apply to your life…
I finished the book last night, so here is my report:
The “slight edge,” which author Jeff Olson refers to by name about six thousand times throughout the book, is “simple disciplines or simple errors in judgement, repeated consistently over time,” and actually fits incredibly nicely with this whole challenges project. His main point, repeated ad nauseam, is that those things compound to either wild success or your eminent doom, depending on which simple things you elect to do (or not do) every day.
Because of the time constraint on this challenge, I was forced to use the slight edge while reading The Slight Edge; I needed to read about three chapters a day in order to get through it the “slight edge” way, and in general that worked out pretty well for me. As far as how the slight edge can apply to my life, I actually came up with this challenges plan as a way to achieve that same goal of wild success that Olson says the slight edge can help me achieve, so in a way I’ve already started to apply it.
The book is divided into two parts: “How the Slight Edge Works” and “Living the Slight Edge.” He helpfully offers spaces for you to directly make plans in your own life during the second half, and wanted me to write in the book, but I didn’t, so I suppose filling it in here instead would be fair. First I was to write out five dreams, get specific about them, and give a timeline of by when I want them:
- I want to move out and support myself. I’m not sure where exactly yet, but I want a decent paying job and to move out within the next six to eight months.
- I want to live in Boston, and be settled there for at least a few years. I want to move there in the next one to three years.
- I want all of my possessions to a) be all in one place (rather than scattered across storage and my parents’ houses, etc.) and b) to all fit into one moving truck, within the next six months.
- I want to be ambidextrous. I want to do all things equally well with both hands. I want to achieve this within the next five years.
- I want to start saving for retirement and pay off my student loans. I want that taken care of in the next ten to fifteen years.
The other things I was supposed to write out were my slight edge habits that I would do to improve my health, happiness, relationships, personal development, finances, career, and my positive impact on the world. Those were to be outlined as:
My dream for (whatever area of my life)
Plan to start
One simple daily discipline
He said that the relationship one should probably stay private, so I will keep that one to myself, but here are the other six:
- I want my body to be able to do everything I ask it to without difficulty
- I plan to start this by eating more plants and walking my dog more
- Eat three servings of plants and walk my dog
- I want to be satisfied with and proud of my life
- I plan to start this by finishing some of my unfinished projects and finding more productive uses for my time
- Finish something, be it the dishes or detailing my car or writing a story or giving birth
- Personal Development
- I want to continuously develop my already possessed skills and acquire new ones
- I plan to start this by asking people to challenge me to do things at their discretion
- Read about those skills or about something with which I’m unfamiliar
- I want to live comfortably, have a real budget, save money, and not buy as much useless crap
- I plan to start this by finding a job
- Save all of my loose change and ones
- I want a stimulating and rewarding position where I know I am valued and important
- I plan to start this by finding a job
- Research positions and put in applications
- My positive impact on the world
- I want to have concrete things left behind for people to remember and know me by, as well as bring out the best in people in ways that won’t necessarily be recorded
- I plan to start this by actually finishing, maintaining, and sharing my blog
- Write something down that is useful or positive
I think filling in those blanks pretty well completes the requirements for my challenge, so I’ll finish up this bit of the post. If you’re looking for some direction in your life, I’d recommend checking this book out. Olson’s done a great job of making sure you won’t have excuses for not reading his book, so if you want it as a physical book, or a digital book, or an audiobook, you can find whatever catches your fancy here.
In other news, during the time I was doing this challenge I actually checked off another thing I’d had on the list I’ve been posting with this; my friend Laura helped me make that capelet brainchild and I think it’s pretty cute considering we made it up.
I think I want to add some appliques to the shiny side because I intended for it to be reversible and so far wearing the purple side out just looks like I’m wearing it inside out to me, so technically this still isn’t finished, but the bulk of the work is done. I’m glad I went to Laura for help with it because if I’d done it myself it probably would have looked less like respectable clothes and more like the last thing I sewed, which was a pair of pajama pants ten years ago that had exposed elastic in the waist because I apparently couldn’t sew two pieces of fabric together with a machine specifically designed to do that. Anyway, go check out and like her Facebook page or follow her sewing instagram blog account thing (I don’t know how to Instagram or what to call things on it) because she’s made some really impressive and adorable pieces, and Laura is also just delightful.
I’ll post tomorrow about what my next challenge is going to be. Here’s that list again, revised again:
- walking my dog
- learning to play guitar
- improving my abilities with media and multimedia projects
- yoga, sort of
- significantly reducing my possessions
- watching iconic or important movies
- reading more books
Feel free to post any challenges in the comments! 😀