فصل 04

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فصل 04

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CHAPTER 4

MOMENTUM

I’d like to introduce you to a very good friend of mine. This friend, also close to Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Michael Jordan, Lance Armstrong, Michael Phelps, and every other superachiever, will impact your life like no other. I’d like to introduce you to Mo, or “Big Mo,” as I like to call it. Big Mo is, without doubt, one of the most powerful and enigmatic forces of success. You can’t see or feel Mo, but you know when you’ve got it. You can’t count on Mo showing up to every occasion, but when it does—WOW! Big Mo can catapult you into the stratosphere of success. And once you’ve got Mo on your side, there’s almost no way anyone can catch you.

I’m excited about this chapter. When you implement the ideas outlined ahead, your payoff will be a thousand times (or more) what you paid for this book. Seriously, these ideas are BIG!

Harnessing the Power of Big Mo

If you remember your high-school physics class (you do, don’t you?), you’ll recall Newton’s First Law, also known as the Law of Inertia: Objects at rest tend to stay at rest unless acted on by an outside force. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion, unless something stops their momentum. Put another way, couch potatoes tend to stay couch potatoes. Achievers—people who get into a successful rhythm—continue busting their butts and end up achieving more and more.

It’s not easy to build momentum, but once you do, look out! Do you remember playing on merry-go-rounds when you were a kid? A bunch of your friends piled on, weighing the thing down and then chanted as you worked to get the thing moving. Getting started was slow going. The first step was always the hardest—getting it to move from a standstill. You had to push and pull, grimace and groan and throw your entire your body into the effort. One step, two steps, three steps—it seemed like you were getting nowhere. After a long and hard effort, finally you were able to get up a little bit of speed and run along side it. Even though you were moving (and your friends were cheering louder), to get the speed you really wanted, you had to keep running faster and faster, pulling it behind you as you ran with all your might. Finally, success! You jumped on and joined your friends in the joy of feeling the wind in your face and watching the outside world turn into a smear of colors. After a while, when the merry-go-round started to slow down, you’d hop off and run alongside for a minute to get the speed back up—or you could simply give it a couple good pushes and then hop back on. Once the merry-go-round was spinning at a good clip, momentum took over, making it easy to keep it going.

Adopting any change is the same way. You get started by taking one small step, one action at a time. Progress is slow, but once a newly formed habit has kicked in, Big Mo joins the party. Your success and results compound rapidly. See Figure 8.

Fig. 8

It takes time and energy to get Big Mo, but with it, success and results compound rapidly.

The same thing happens when a rocket ship launches. The space shuttle uses more fuel during the first few minutes of its flight than it does the rest of the entire trip. Why? Because it has to break free from the pull of gravity. Once it does, it can glide in orbit. The hard part? Getting off the ground. Your old ways and your old conditioning are just like the inertia of the merry-go-round or the pull of gravity. Everything just wants to stay at rest. You’ll need a lot of energy to break your inertia and get your new enterprise under way. But once you get momentum, you will be hard to stop—virtually unbeatable—even though you’re now putting out considerably less effort while receiving greater results.

Ever wonder why successful people tend to get more successful… the rich get richer… the happy get happier… the lucky get luckier?

They’ve got Mo. When it rains, it pours.

But momentum works on both sides of the equation—it can work for you or against you. Since the Compound Effect is always working, negative habits, when left unchecked, can build up steam and send you into a tailspin of “unlucky” circumstances and consequences. That’s what our friend Brad from Chapter 1 experienced. He gained thirty-three pounds with a few small bad habits, and experienced major job and marriage stress because of the negative momentum those habits generated. The law of inertia says objects at rest tend to stay at rest—that’s the Compound Effect working against you. The more time you spend sitting on that couch watching Two and a Half Men, the harder it will be for you to get up and get moving. So let’s start RIGHT NOW!

How do you get Big Mo to pay you a visit? You build up to it. You get into the groove, the “zone,” by doing the things we’ve covered so far:

  1. Making new choices based on your goals and core values

  2. Putting those choices to work through new positive behaviors

  3. Repeating those healthy actions long enough to establish new habits

  4. Building routines and rhythms into your daily disciplines

  5. Staying consistent over a long enough period of time

Then, BANG! Big Mo kicks in your door (that’s a good thing)! And you’re virtually unstoppable.

Think about swimmer Michael Phelps, who won a legendary eight gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. How did he do it? Working with his coach, Bob Bowman, Phelps honed his talents over the course of twelve years. Together, they built routines and rhythms, and developed a consistency of performance that prepared Phelps to catch momentum just at the right time—the Olympic Games. Phelps and Bowman’s symbiotic relationship is legendary for its scope and ambition—and its utter predictability. Bowman required such consistency when it came to practice that one of Phelps’ most vivid memories is when Bowman allowed him to finish a training session 15 minutes early so he could get ready for a middle-school dance! That’s one time in twelve years! No wonder Phelps was so unbeatable in the pool!

Chances are you have an iPod. Ever think about the evolution that made it possible for that little gizmo to wind up in your pocket? Apple was around a long time before they launched the iPod. While Mac computers have always had an intensely loyal following, they still comprise a small fraction of the overall PC market. The iPod certainly wasn’t the first MP3 player out there; Apple was actually late to the game. But they had something powerful going for them: the consistency of their efforts in maintaining customer loyalty, a steadfast commitment to high quality, innovative design, and ease of use. They made the MP3 player simple, cool, easy to use and play with, and promoted it through entertaining and inventive ad campaigns. It worked! It hit a nerve.

But, the iPod wasn’t an overnight success. In 2001, the year Apple released the iPod, they went from 30 percent revenue growth the year previous to -33 percent. The following year, 2002, was also a negative revenue growth year at -2 percent. But 2003 saw a shift to a positive 18 percent. Growth came again in 2004, up to 33 percent. And in 2005, they caught Mo, and BANG! Apple catapulted to 68 percent revenue growth and now holds more than 70 percent of the MP3 player market share. As you know, Big Mo has since helped them dominate the smartphone market (with the iPhone) and digital music distribution with iTunes. This momentum has also given them a resurgence of growth in their original market of personal computers. With Big Mo on their side, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them expand into other markets.

Google was a small, struggling search engine for a while; today it, too, owns more than 60 percent of its market. YouTube, the video-sharing space created in February 2005, officially launched in November of that year. But it wasn’t until they featured the “Lazy Sunday” digital short that originally aired on Saturday Night Live that people started going to YouTube in huge numbers to find it. That YouTube video clip went viral—it got more than 5 million views before NBC asked to have it taken down. Then, there was no way to catch them—they had Mo. Today YouTube owns more than 60 percent of the video market! Google caught up with You Tube’s two young founders and paid them $1.65 billion to buy their Mo. Wow!

What do Michael Phelps, Apple, Google, and YouTube have in common? They were doing the same things before and after they achieved momentum. Their habits, disciplines, routines, and consistency were the keys that unlocked momentum for each. And they became unstoppable when Big Mo showed up to their party.

Routine Power

Some of our best intentions fail because we don’t have a system of execution. When it comes down to it, your new attitudes and behaviors must be incorporated into your monthly, weekly, and daily routines to affect any real, positive change. A routine is something you do every day without fail, so that eventually, like brushing your teeth or putting on your seatbelt, you do it without conscious thought. Similar to our discussion in the Habits section, if you look at anything you do that’s successful, you’ll see that you’ve probably developed a routine for it. These routines ease life’s stresses by making our actions automatic and effective. To reach new goals and develop new habits, it’s necessary to create new routines to support your objectives.

The greater the challenge, the more rigorous our routines need to be. Ever wonder why military boot camp is so hard—where relatively minor tasks like making the bed, shining your shoes, or standing at attention become over-the-top important? Building routines to prep soldiers for combat is the most effective way to elicit efficient, productive, and reliable performance under intense pressure. The seemingly simplistic routines built and developed during basic training are so exact that soft, fearful, slovenly teenagers are transformed into lean, confident, mission-driven soldiers in only eight to twelve weeks. Their routines are so well-rehearsed that these young soldiers can instinctively act with precision in the middle of the chaos of combat. That intense level of training and practice prepares soldiers to carry out their duties—even under the threat of imminent death.

Now, your days might not be as dangerous, but without the proper routines built into your schedule, the results of your life can be unruly and unnecessarily hard. Developing a routine of predictable, daily disciplines prepares you to be victorious on the battlefield of life.

Golfer Jack Nicklaus was famous for his pre-shot routine. He was religious about the “dance” he would do before every shot, a series of routine mental and physical steps that got him fully focused and ready for the shot. Jack would start out behind the ball, and then pick out one or two intermediate spots between the ball and the target. As he walked around and approached the ball, the first thing he would do is line up his clubface to his intermediate target. He wouldn’t put his feet into position until he felt he had his clubface properly squared up. Then he would take his stance. From there, he would waggle the club and look out to his target, then back to his intermediate target and back to the golf club, with a repeat of the view. Then, and only then, would he strike the ball.

During one of the important Majors, a psychologist timed Nicklaus from the moment he pulled the club out of the bag until the moment he hit the ball, and guess what? In each shot, from the first tee to the eighteenth green, the timing of Jack’s routine supposedly never varied more than one second. That is amazing! The same psychologist measured Greg Norman during his unfortunate collapse at the 1996 Masters. Lo and behold, his pre-shot routine got faster and faster as the round progressed. Varying his routine stunted his rhythm and consistency; he was never able to catch momentum. The moment Norman changed his routine, his performance became unpredictable and his results erratic.

Football kickers likewise cherish their pre-kick routines, which allow them to get into sync with the thousands of times they have done this same action. Predictably, without a pre-kick routine, their performance under time pressure greatly diminishes. Pilots go through their preflight checklist. Even when a pilot has logged thousands of hours and the plane just came in with a “perfect” performance review from a previous destination, the pilot goes through a preflight checklist every time without fail. This not only prepares the plane, but, more important, centers the pilot and prepares him for the upcoming performance.

Of all the high-achievers and business owners I’ve worked with, I’ve seen that, along with good habits, each has developed routines for accomplishing necessary daily disciplines. It’s the only way any of us can predictably regulate our behavior. There simply isn’t any way around it. A daily routine built on good habits and disciplines separates the most successful among us from everyone else. A routine is exceptionally powerful.

To create profitable and effective routines, you must first decide what behaviors and habits you want to implement. Take a moment to review your goals from Chapter 3, as well as the behaviors you want to add and subtract. Now it’s your turn to be Jack Nicklaus and figure out your best pre-shot routine. Be intentional about what components belong. Once you establish, say, a morning routine, I want you to consider it cast in concrete until further notice. You get up. You do it—no argument. If someone or something interrupts you, start back at the beginning to anchor your foundation for the performance that follows.

Bookend Your Days

The key to becoming world-class in your endeavors is to build your performance around world-class routines. It can be difficult, even futile, to predict or control what will show up in the middle of your workday. But you can almost always control how your day starts and ends. I have routines for both. I’ll share aspects of each here to give you some ideas and to help you better understand the power and importance of building your new behaviors into disciplined routines. Starting with my goals in mind, I designed my behaviors and routines accordingly. Perhaps in sharing some of what works for me, you’ll identify strategies you’d like to try…

Rise & Shine

My morning routine is my Jack Nicklaus pre-shot preparation; it sets me up for the entire day. Because it happens every morning, it’s locked in and I don’t have to think about it. My iPhone alarm goes off at 5 a.m. (confession: sometimes, 5:30 a.m.) and I hit the Snooze button. Then I know I have eight minutes. Why eight? I have no idea, ask Steve Jobs; he programmed it. During those eight minutes I do three things: First, I think of all the things I’m grateful for. I know I need to attune my mind to abundance. The world looks, acts, and responds to you very differently when you start your day with a feeling and orientation of gratitude for that which you already have. Second, I do something that sounds a bit odd, but I send love to someone. The way to get love is to give it, and one thing I want more of is love. I give love by thinking of one person, anyone (it could be a friend, relative, co-worker, or someone I just met in the supermarket—it doesn’t matter), and then I send them love by imagining all that I wish and hope for them. Some would call this a blessing or a prayer; I call it a mental love letter. Third, I think about my No. 1 goal and decide which three things I’m going to do on this day to move closer toward reaching it. For example, at the time of this writing, my No. 1 goal is to deepen the love and intimacy in my marriage. Each morning I plan three things I can do to make sure that my wife feels loved, respected, and beautiful.

When I get up, I put on a pot of coffee, and while it’s brewing, I do a series of stretches for about ten minutes—something I picked up from Dr. Oz. If you’ve lifted weights your whole life as I have, you get stiff. I realized that the only way I was going to incorporate more stretching into my life was to make it a routine. I had to figure out where in my schedule I could stick it in—and while the coffee’s brewing is as good a time as any.

Once I’ve stretched and poured my cup, I sit in my comfy leather recliner, set my iPhone for thirty minutes (no more, no less), and read something positive and instructional. When the alarm sounds, I take my most important project and work on it for an hour of completely focused and undistracted effort (notice I haven’t opened e-mail yet). Then, every morning at 7 a.m., I have what I call my calibration appointment, a recurring appointment set in my calendar, where I take fifteen minutes to calibrate my day. This is where I brush over my top three one-year and five-year goals, my key quarterly objectives, and my top goal for the week and month. Then, for the most important part of the calibration appointment, I review (or set) my top three MVPs (Most Valuable Priorities) for that day, asking myself, “If I only did three things today, what are the actions that will produce the greatest results in moving me closer to my big goals?” Then, and only then, do I open e-mail and send out a flurry of tasks and delegations to get the rest of my team started on their day. I then quickly close down my e-mail and go to work on my MVPs.

The rest of the day can take a million different shapes, but as long as I go through my morning routine, a majority of the key disciplines I need to be practicing are taken care of, and I’m properly grounded and prepared to perform at a much higher level than if I started each day erratically—or worse, with a set of bad habits.

Sweet Dreams

In the evening I like to “cash out”—something I learned from waiting tables in my youth. Before we could go home, we had to cash out, meaning turn in all our receipts, credit card slips, and cash. Everything had to add up, or there was big trouble!

It’s important to cash out your day’s performance. Compared to your plan for the day, how did it go? What do you need to carry over to tomorrow’s plan? What else needs to be added, based on what showed up throughout the day? What’s no longer important and needs to be scratched out? Additionally, I like to log into my journal any new ideas, ah-has or insights I picked up throughout the day—this is how I’ve collected more than forty journals of incredible ideas, insights, and strategies. Finally, I like to read at least ten pages of an inspirational book before going to sleep. I know the mind continues to process the last information consumed before bedtime, so I want to focus my attention on something constructive and helpful in making progress with my goals and ambitions. That’s it. All hell can break loose throughout the day, but because I control the bookends, I know I’m always going to start and finish strong.

Shake It Up

Every so often I like to interrupt my routines. Otherwise, life gets stale and I plateau. An easy example is working out with weights. When I work out the same way at the same time, doing the same repetitive movements week after week, my body stops showing compounded results. I get bored, lose my passion, and big Mo is a no-show. That’s why it’s important to mix it up, challenge yourself in new ways, and freshen up your experience!

Right now I’m working on adding more adventure into my life. I set weekly, monthly, and yearly goals to do something I wouldn’t normally do. Most of the time it’s nothing earth-shattering, but things such as eating different kinds of foods, taking a class, visiting a new destination, or joining a club to meet new people. This change of pace makes me feel alive, helps recapture my passion, and offers me opportunities for fresh perspectives.

Look at your routines. If something that used to energize you has become same-old/same-old, or is no longer generating powerful results, switch it up.

Getting into a Rhythm: Finding Your New Groove

Once your daily disciplines have become a routine, you want the succession of those steps to create a rhythm. When your disciplines and actions jibe into a regular weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly rhythm, it’s like laying a welcome mat at the front door for Big Mo.

It’s like the wheels of a steam locomotive. At a standstill, it takes very little to keep it from moving forward—a one-inch block of wood placed under the front wheel will do the job. It takes an incredible amount of steam to get the pistons to move and cause a series of connections that get the wheels to budge. It’s a slow process. But once the train starts rolling, the wheels get into a rhythm. If the pressure remains consistent, the train gains momentum, and watch out! At 55 miles an hour, that train can crash through a five-foot, steel-reinforced concrete wall and keep on going. Envisioning your success as an unstoppable locomotive may help you stay enthusiastic about getting into your own rhythm. See Figure 9.

Fig. 9

When your disciplines and actions develop a rhythm, you welcome Big Mo.

Along with my daily rhythms, I also plan ahead. For instance, in looking again at my goal of deepening the love and intimacy of my marriage, I designed a weekly, monthly, and quarterly rhythm schedule. Doesn’t sound too romantic, I know. But maybe you’ve noticed that, even when something’s a high priority for you, if it isn’t scheduled on your calendar, it often doesn’t happen, right? Certainly not with the regularity you’ll need to get into any kind of rhythm.

Here’s how it works. Every Friday night is “date night,” and Georgia and I go out or do something special together. At 6 p.m., an alarm goes off on both our iPhones, and no matter what we’re doing, date night is on! Every Saturday is FD (Family Day)—which means NO working. Essentially sundown on Friday night until sunup on Sunday morning is time we devote to the marriage and family. If you don’t create these boundaries, one day has a tendency to flow into the next. Unfortunately, the people who get shoved aside are often the most important.

Every Sunday night, also at 6 p.m., we have our RR (Relationship Review). This is a practice I picked up from relationship experts Linda and Richard Eyre during an interview I did with them for our October 2009 SUCCESS Audio Series. During this time, we discuss the previous week’s wins, losses, as well as the adjustments we need to make in our relationship. We start the conversation by telling each other a few things we have appreciated about the other during the previous week—it’s helpful to start with the good stuff. Then, using an idea I picked up from my interview with Jack Canfield, we ask each other, “On a scale of one to ten (ten being the best), how would you rate our relationship this week?” This gets the discussion of wins and losses flowing—oh, boy! Then we discuss the adjustments that need to be made through this follow-up question: “What would it take to make your experience a ten?” By the end of the discussion, both of us feel heard and validated, and we have made our observations and wishes clear moving into the next week. This is an incredible process. I highly recommend it… if you dare!

Every month, Georgia and I also schedule something unique and memorable. Jim Rohn taught me that life is simply a collection of experiences; our goal should be to increase the frequency and the intensity of the good experiences. Once a month we try to do something that creates an experience that has some memorable intensity. It could be driving up to the mountains, going on an adventurous hike, driving up to Los Angeles to try a new fancy restaurant, going sailing in the bay—whatever. Something out of the ordinary that has a heightened experience and creates an indelible memory.

Once a quarter we plan a two- to three-day getaway. I like to do a quarterly review of all my goals and life patterns, and this is a great time to do a deeper check-in on how things are going in our relationship. Then we have our special travel vacation, plus our holiday traditions and our New Year’s hike and goal-setting ritual. You can see that once all this is scheduled, you no longer have to think about what you need to be doing. Everything happens naturally. We’ve created a rhythm that gives us momentum.

Registering Your Rhythm

I want to share with you something I created for myself that helps me keep track of the rhythm of a new behavior. I call it my “Rhythm Register,” and I think you’ll find it extremely helpful.

Fig. 10

If you want to drink more water or take more steps each day or acknowledge your spouse more affectionately—whatever behavior you’ve decided you need to move toward your goal—you’ll want to track it to make sure you’re establishing a rhythm. See Figure 10. You can download a copy of the document for free at www.TheCompoundEffect.com/free. The Weekly Rhythm Register along with a weekly Plan, Do, Review and Improve process is an integral part of the Living Your Best Year Ever Achievement Management SystemTM. Obtain your copy at www.SUCCESS.com/BestYearEver.

The Rhythms of Life

When people get started in a new endeavor, they almost always overdo it. Of course, I want you to feel excited about setting up a rhythm for success, but you need to find a program that you can absolutely, positively do in the long term without renegotiation. I don’t want you thinking of the rhythms you can do for this week, month, or even the next ninety days; I want you to think about what you can do for the rest of your life. The Compound Effect—the positive results you want to experience in your life—will be the result of smart choices (and actions) repeated consistently over time. You win when you take the right steps day in and day out. But you set yourself up for failure by doing too much too soon.

A friend to the SUCCESS team (who will remain unnamed to protect the guilty) decided after seeing a picture I’d posted of him on Twitter that he was going to get in shape. This was a massive shift of lifestyle for him. On the job, he sits for at least a dozen hours a day, and he hates to exercise. Previously, he’d explained that he would find ways of avoiding using certain dishes or accessing files if it required him to squat and bend down to get them—that’s how much of an aversion he had to physical activity. Still, he made a resolution to get in shape. He joined a gym, hired a personal trainer, and began working out two hours a day, five days a week. “Richard [let’s call him],” I said, “that’s a mistake. You will not be able to maintain that commitment and will eventually stop doing it. You’re setting yourself up for failure.” He pushed back, assuring me that he’d changed forever. Even his trainer had recommended the intense push. “I’m committed,” he said. “I want to be able to see my abs.” “Richard, what’s your real goal?” I asked him. I knew he wasn’t gunning to be on the cover of Men’s Fitness.

“I want to be trim; I want to be healthy,” he told me. “Why?” I asked. “I want vitality. I want to be here long enough to see my kids have kids,” he replied. These were his real, meaningful motivations; Richard wanted to be in it for the long haul. That meant he was signing on not for bikini season, but a long-term commitment to fitness.

“Okay,” I said. “You’ve convinced me. But you’re overdoing it. You’re going to get two or three months down the road, and you’re going to say, ‘I don’t have two hours to work out, so I guess I can’t do it today.’ That’s going to happen to you over and over again. Working out five days a week will turn into two or three, and you’ll get discouraged. Soon it will be over. I know you’re really fired up right now, so let’s do this: do your two hours a day, five days a week, for now [takes a lot of steam to get the wheels to budge from the inertia], but don’t do it longer than sixty or ninety days. Then, I want you to scale it down to an hour or an hour and fifteen. You can still do your five days a week, but I would probably encourage you to go four. Do that another sixty to ninety days. Then I want you to consider an hour a day for a minimum of three days a week, four if you’re feeling extra spry. That’s the program I want you to work toward, because if you don’t get into something you can maintain, you won’t do it at all.” I really had to struggle to get Richard to comprehend this because, at that moment, he was all gung-ho. He thought he was going to be able to stick with his new routine for a lifetime. For someone who’s never worked out to start working out two hours a day, five days a week, is a surefire dead end. You have to build a program that you can do for fifty years, not five weeks, or five months. It’s okay if you go strong for a while, but you’ve got to see light at the end of the tunnel where you can start scaling it back. You can always find forty-five minutes to an hour a few times a week, but to find two hours, five days a week, to make your routine work, that’ll never happen. Remember, consistency is a critical component of success.

The Power of Consistency

I’ve mentioned that if there’s one discipline that gives me a competitive advantage, it’s my ability to be consistent. Nothing kills Big Mo quicker and with more certainty than a lack of consistency. Even good, passionate, and ambitious people with good intentions can fall short when it comes to consistency. But it’s a powerful tool you can use to launch the flight toward your goals.

Think of it like this: If you and I flew planes from Los Angeles to Manhattan, but you took off and landed in every state in between, while I flew straight through, even if you went five hundred miles per hour in the air and I only traveled at a rate of two hundred miles per hour, I’d still beat you by a big margin. The time and energy it takes for you to repeatedly stop and start and get back to momentum make your trip at least ten times as long. In fact, most likely you wouldn’t even make it—you’d run out of fuel (energy, motivation, belief, will) at some point. It’s far easier and requires a lot less energy to take off once and maintain a regular speed (even if slower than most everyone else) all along the way.

The Pump Well

When you start thinking about slacking off on your routines and rhythms, consider the massive cost of inconsistency. It is not the loss of the single action and tiny results it creates; it is the utter collapse and loss of momentum your entire progress will suffer.

Think of a hand-pumped water well, which uses a pipe to draw water up from the water table several feet underground. To get the water to the surface, you have to pump the well’s lever to create the suction that brings the water above the ground and out of the spout. See Figure 11.

Fig. 11

Consistency is the key to achieving and maintaining momentum.

When most people start a new endeavor, they grab the lever and start pumping really hard. Just as Richard was with his plan to get fit, they’re excited and committed… they pump and pump and pump, but after a few minutes (or a few weeks), when they don’t see any water (results), they give up pumping the lever altogether. They don’t realize how long it takes to create the vacuum needed to suck the water into the pipe and eventually out of the spout and into their bucket. Just like the merry-go-round, rocket ship, or steam engine breaking free of inertia, it takes time, massive energy, and consistency to pump water. Most people give up, but wise people continue to pump.

Those who persevere and continue to pump the lever will eventually get a few drops of water. This is when a lot of people say, “You’ve got to be kidding me! All this pumping, and for what—a few measly drops? Forget it!” Many people throw their hands up in defeat and quit, but wise people persist further.

And here’s where the magic happens: If you continue to pump, it doesn’t take long before you’ll get a full and steady stream of water. You have your success! Now that the water is flowing, you no longer need to pump the lever as hard or as quickly. It becomes easy, actually. All you have to do to keep the pressure steady is to just pump the lever consistently. That’s the Compound Effect.

Now, what happens if you let go of the lever for too long? The water falls back down into the ground, and you’re back to square one. If you try to pump the lever easily and steadily, you won’t get any water. Mo is gone; water is at the bottom. The only way to get it back up is to pump it really hard all over again. That’s how most of us lead our lives, in fits and starts. We get a new business venture going, and then cut out on vacation. We start up a routine of making ten prospecting calls a day, strike a little gold, and then shift into neutral. We get hopped up about our new “date night” routine with our spouse, but in a few weeks, it’s back to Netflix and microwave popcorn on the couch Friday nights. I see people buy a new book, sign up for a new program or seminar, and go like crazy for a couple of weeks or months. Then they stop and end up right back where they started. (Sound familiar?) Miss only a couple weeks of anything—workouts at the gym, affectionate gestures toward your spouse, or the phone calls that are part of your prospecting routine—and you don’t just lose the results those two weeks would have produced. If that’s all you lost (which is what most people assume), not much damage would be done. But by slacking off for even a short time, you killed Mo. It’s dead. And that’s a tragedy.

Winning the race is all about pace. Be the tortoise. The person who, given enough time, will beat virtually anybody in any competition as a result of positive habits and behaviors applied consistently. That’ll put the mojo in your momentum. And keep it there!

Making the right choice, holding to right behaviors, practicing perfect habits, staying consistent, and keeping your momentum is easier said than done, especially in the dynamic, constantly changing, and always challenging world we share with billions of other people. In the next chapter I will discuss the many influences that (mostly unknowingly) can help or hinder your ability to succeed. These influences are pervasive, persuasive, and constant. Learn how to use them or you might end up losing because of them. Let me show you how…

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