The Compound Effect

date Nov 2, 2021
authors Darren Hardy
reading time 11 mins

Table of Contents

There is no magic bullet, secret formula, or quick fix to success.

Process of Success

Slow and boring

earning success is hard. The process is laborious, tedious, and sometimes even boring. Becoming wealthy, influential, and world-class in your field is slow and arduous.

Sustainable consistency

I’m the world’s biggest believer in consistency. I’m living proof that it’s the ultimate key to success, yet it’s one of the biggest pitfalls for people struggling to achieve. Most people don’t know how to sustain it.

Small and smart choices

The Compound Effect is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices.

Small changes with no immediate results

These small changes offer little or no immediate result, no big win, no obvious I-told-you-so payoff. So why bother?


Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = RADICAL DIFFERENCE


The most challenging aspect of the Compound Effect is that we have to keep working away for a while, consistently and efficiently, before we begin to see the payoff.

Simple discipline or simple errors over days and years

reaping the bounty of positive results. This is the repeating of simple daily disciplines versus simple errors in judgment. It’s that simple. With enough time and consistency, the outcomes become visible. Better yet, they’re totally predictable.

The only path to success

I want you to know in your bones that your only path to success is through a continuum of mundane, unsexy, unexciting, and sometimes difficult daily disciplines compounded over time.

Choices: Good, Bad and None

Choose poorly and you just might find yourself back at the drawing board, forced to make new, often harder choices. Don’t choose at all and you’ve actually made the choice to be the passive receiver of whatever comes your way. In essence, you make your choices and then your choices make you.

Change something daily

Leadership expert John C. Maxwell said, “You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” According to research, it takes three hundred instances of positive reinforcement to turn a new habit into an unconscious practice—that’s almost a year of daily practice!

Both successful and failures hate it

There is one thing that 99 percent of “failures” and “successful” folks have in common—they all hate doing the same things. The difference is, successful people do them anyway. Change is hard.

Plan for 50 years - go slow and consistent

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.

Wrong beliefs

Showing massive efforts to the public

We’ve been conditioned by society to believe in the effectiveness of a great display of massive effort.


Having experienced extended periods of prosperity, health, and wealth, we become complacent. We stop doing what we did to get us there.

We have to keep sharpening the skills

They failed because of their success. Or rather, because they stopped doing what made them successful to begin with. Their success clouded their perspective and they slacked off.

Consequences in the longterm for small errors today

Nobody intends to become obese, go through bankruptcy, or get a divorce, but often (if not always) those consequences are the result of a series of small, poor choices.

The need for immediate gratification

So why are we so irrationally enslaved by so many bad habits? It’s because our need for immediate gratification can turn us into the most reactive, nonthinking animals around.

Food, information and distraction

Just like high-volume, low-nutrient food makes your body fat, high-volume, low-nutrient information makes your head fat. Allow too much distraction by technology and you will end up with diabetes of the mind.

Don’t break the momentum

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.

Very hard to restart after losing the momentum

The time and energy it takes for you to repeatedly stop and start and get back to momentum would make your trip at least ten times as long. In fact, more than likely you wouldn’t even make it—you’d run out of fuel (energy, motivation, belief, will) at some point.

Don’t read the news early in the morning

So when you open up those news alerts on your phone in the morning and get bombarded with all those reports about robberies, fires, attacks, and the tanking economy, your brain lights up. Your brain will now spend all day chewing over that feast of fear, worry, negativity.

Don’t tlerate stuff you do not want in life

What you have decided to tolerate is also reflected in the situations and circumstances of your life right now. Put another way, you will get in life what you accept and expect you are worthy of. If you tolerate disrespect, you will be disrespected. If you tolerate people being late and making you wait, people will show up late for you.

We won’t have awesome moments all the time

When conditions are great, things are easy, there aren’t any distractions, no one is interrupting, temptations aren’t luring, and nothing is disturbing your stride… It’s not until situations are difficult, when problems come up and temptation is great, that you get to prove your worthiness for progress. As Jim Rohn would say, “Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.”


I am 100% responsible

My mentor Jim Rohn said, “The day you graduate from childhood to adulthood is the day you take full responsibility for your life.”

What is luck?

Preparation (personal growth) + Attitude (belief/mindset) + Opportunity (a good thing coming your way) + Action (doing something about it) = Luck

Awareness of the choinces

The first step toward change is awareness. If you want to get from where you are to where you want to be, you have to start by becoming aware of the choices that lead you away from your desired destination.

Process of change


To help you become aware of your choices, I want you to track every action that relates to the area of your life you want to improve.

Keep a log for whatever you want to improve

Keeping a money log for thirty days straight cemented a new awareness in me and created a completely new set of choices and disciplines surrounding spending.

All winners track

All winners are trackers. Right now I want you to track your life with the same intention: to bring your goals within sight. Tracking is a simple exercise. It works because it brings moment-to-moment awareness to the actions you take in the area of your life you want to improve.

Attention on small changes

Once you start tracking your life, your attention will be focused on the smallest things you’re doing right, as well as the smallest things you’re doing wrong. And when you choose to make even the smallest course corrections consistently, over time, you’ll begin to see amazing results.

Private, quiet victories

When I say “small” course corrections, I’m talking truly invisible. Chances are no one’s going to notice them anytime soon. There will be no applause. No one’s going to send you a congratulations card or a trophy for these disciplines. And yet, eventually, their compounding effect will result in an exceptional payoff.

Habits and routines help to focus

Our habits and routines allow us to use minimal conscious energy for everyday tasks. They help keep us sane and enable us to handle most situations reasonably well… And because we don’t have to think about the mundane, we can focus our mental energy on more creative and enriching thoughts.

It will take time to change a habit you had for life

If you’ve spent twenty, thirty, or forty years or more repeating the behaviors you’re now trying to change, you have to expect it’s going to take time and effort before you see lasting results.


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.

Surround yourself with people you can learn from

Identify people who have positive qualities in the areas of life where you want to improve—people with the financial and business success you desire, the parenting skills you want, the relationships you yearn for, the lifestyle you love. And then spend more time with them.

Notice the change in you!

When you hit the wall in your disciplines, routines, rhythms, and consistency, realize that’s when you are separating yourself from your old self, scaling that wall, and finding your more powerful, triumphant, and victorious self.



The access point to your why-power is through your core values, which define both who you are and what you stand for. Your core values are your internal compass, your guiding beacon, your personal GPS.

Decision making becomes simpler

Defining your core values also helps make life simpler and more efficient. Decision-making is also easier when you are certain of your core values.

From why to where

You can harness this relentless force and have it carry you to new heights. But you must know where you want to go. What goals, dreams, and destinations do you desire?

Who do I need to become to achieve my goals?

I have my goal; now what do I need to do to get it?” It’s not a bad question, but it’s not the first question that needs to be addressed either. The question we should be asking ourselves is: “Who do I need to become?”

Thought pattern

Science shows that patterns of thoughts and actions repeated many times create what’s called a neuro-signature or a “brain groove.” This is a series of interconnected neurons that carry the thought patterns of a particular habit.

Who you are becoming

When you’ve prepared, practiced, studied, and consistently put in the required effort, sooner or later you’ll be presented with your own moment of truth. In that moment, you will define who you are and who you are becoming. It is in those moments where growth and improvement live—when we either step forward or shrink back,

Daily routine


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.


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?


Envisioning your success as an unstoppable locomotive may help you stay enthusiastic about getting into your own rhythm.

Do the work

Learning without execution is useless.


Motivation without action leads to self-delusion.