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  • Autumn Swain

Just the Edge You Need

“I’ve said that successful people are willing to do those things unsuccessful people are not. And sometimes those things are uncomfortable.”

-Jeff Olson, The Slight Edge

We are officially into 2018. When we say farewell to an old year and hello to a new one, many people evaluate the past and think about the future.

Our hope is that in the new year we accomplish more than the last and have a more fruitful and fulfilling year than the past. However, how many times does another year go by and the evaluation is not so exciting because the hopes and dreams we enter the year with are still just that, hopes and dreams. Now believe me, this is not a bleak post but read on to see a message filled with positivity and hope for the future!

It has been said that people significantly overestimate what can be done in a day, but severely underestimate what can be done in a year! The secret to having the kind of days that lead up to a great year is in the “slight edge” - your philosophy about your actions or “‘how you view your ‘how to’s’”, as stated by Jeff Olson, author of The Slight Edge. The special sauce for the year lies in your perspective on the choices you make this day! And most often, yes, these choices are uncomfortable.

The “slight edge” is your view of the impact that the little extras can have. Its the “edge” you get when you go the extra foot, not even an extra mile, but doing it every day. Here are some examples:

Adding an extra dash of cumin and lime to your chicken tortilla soup. Your family will rave over the extra flavor and joy your meal has brought to their tastebuds.

Sending an encouraging text to a friend who is going through a stressful time in life. It may just be at the right time, too!

Give your kids a big bear hug each morning. That embrace builds their self confidence.

Kiss your husband or wife good night. It's a reminder of your love and commitment because you are not just roommates.

Mentor an at risk child or youth once per month. Or what about once a week? A stable relationship could be just what he or she is praying for.

Break bread with somebody different than you. Someone so different that it would not be happening had you not been intentional about befriending someone new and uniquely different than you. Your faith will grow.

What could the “slight edge”--the extra little something do--to change the world. In a society that loves the satisfaction of instant gratification, the impact of our small decisions (going the extra distance and making those small changes) is often devalued because it doesn’t have the “feel good” factor right away. It is the collective impact of those small waves and seemingly insignificant choices over time that creates a huge tsunami of world-impacting good.

In “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson, he talks of our daily habits as planting seeds. “However, the step we keep overlooking (or overstepping!) is the step of cultivating. And that, unlike planting and harvesting, takes place only through the patient dimension of time.” However, how many of our goals take time to achieve. All of them!

Imagine a goal that includes any of these important issues.

  • Homelessness

  • Child Hunger

  • Recidivism

  • Landfills

  • Divisiveness

You just think about these words, these issues, and it can be overwhelming.

Thinking, “What can I even do to make a small dent to positively impact the world?” Try cultivating a plan! Lock arms with a group of people and commit to the slight edge.

  • Volunteer at a homeless shelter

  • Sponsor a child overseas

  • Talk to your boss (or if you are the boss) sponsor a training program for ex-offenders including an employment option

  • Recycle

  • Ask to hear someone’s story and their point of you that have a different background than your own.

In the end, success is about impact, its about fulfilling your potential, its about following Jesus and His plan for your life. This begins just by the daily faithful decision we make such as taking care of your body by exercising and eating right, or standing up for justice when someone else’s body is being abused, or to use your gifts to serve within the body of Christ (the Church).

"The master said, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let's celebrate together!’ (Matthew 25:23)

That’s the power of the slight edge.


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