How the Compound Effect Will Change Your Life
Ep. 151
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On today’s episode. I want to talk to you about an extremely important concept that I don’t think most people don’t implement in their life. It’s called the Compound Effect.

What most of us typically do is pick a huge goal, go after it with everything we have, get burned out, and stop. Understanding the Compound Effect will change all of that. It’ll allow you to start making lasting changes without all of the effort and drama. It is the difference between having a life where you can constantly grow and one in which you won’t.  In this episode, I go into what the Compound Effect is and how to start implementing it into your life today. 


Show Transcript
I don't mean to say that you need to constantly achieve or you need to achieve in order to feel good about yourself but we need to start realizing like where in our lives are we just languishing? Where are we not pushing ourselves to grow a little bit, to learn something, to enrich ourselves.

Hey, welcome to Lessons From a Quitter where we believe that it is never too late to start over. No matter how much time or energy you spent getting to where you are, if ultimately you are unfulfilled, then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams.

Hello and welcome to another episode. I am so excited to have you here. How are we all doing? I have been getting the sweetest messages from you guys that are quitting, that are putting in your two weeks notice, that are starting your side hustles. And it warms my little quitter heart. I can't even tell you how happy it makes me that people are taking the tips from this podcast and applying them and really getting out of their own way and trying things and allowing themselves to explore. It's the best feeling. So thank you. Thank you for taking the steps and thank you for sharing with me. And for my friends who haven't really taken this step, I was asking on my Instagram stories how many people felt stuck in their life, meaning they knew they don't want to be where they are, like they're in a place where they know they want to get out, but they don't know what to do. And so they sort of spin and stay in the same position. And I got an overwhelming like 87% said that they felt stuck, which we cannot have. And so I am working on putting together a free challenge. It'll be like four days of hanging out with me, coaching, getting you unstuck and going after the life that you want, going after the career you want. So we're going to do that in June. So look out for that. I will give you the sign up. I'll officially open the doors next week. If you want to make sure that you get notified, make sure you're on my email list and you can do that through my website. You can go to and sign up for the wait list for the group because they will definitely be notified about the challenge. But yeah, I mean, or even check back on next week's episode cause I'll have the link where you can sign up. But I'm super excited about that and I really hope you guys join because if you've been apart of my challenges, we don't mess around. It's not fluff. Like everybody constantly tells me how the challenge helped them figure out what they wanted to do or figured out the next step. And that's what I really want for you is like how can I help you just take a couple more steps so that you gain a little more clarity. You start taking action, you start seeing some results. So we'll do that next month. I'm super excited about that. And I've been really busy getting that together and it's going to be good. So that's what's going on over here. Did you guys notice the new podcast art? How exciting is that? That's something I talked about on my Instagram stories but I wanted to mention, before we jump in, I started this podcast almost three years ago now, it'll be three years in July and I got a logo off of Fiverr. If you don't know Fiverr, it is a website where you can pay literally $5 to get somebody to do something for you, right? There's like graphic design. There's like finance. There is sales, marketing, all this stuff on there. I paid somebody $5 to make me the logo that I made when I first started the podcast because I didn't want to spend the time or the money really obsessing over that. And I didn't change it until I have over 200,000 downloads. I have a uh, you know, 150 episodes. I have a thriving business. I have tons of clients. And I just say that to say for so many of us that get stuck in overwhelm of everything we have to do whenever we want to start something like just start, nobody is coming to listen to you because of your logo. Nobody's coming to work with you because of your website, I’m not saying websites and stuff aren't important, but they're important at different markers of your career. Not like right when you're getting started. And so I'm glad I listened to people that told me like don't worry about any of that stuff. Just get something, whatever it is. And you can change it later. And it's so fun now to change it because I now have the money and the bandwidth to rebrand and get actual brand colors and get a style guide and get fonts. And I'm redoing my website and it's all so exciting, but I'm so glad that I didn't do it three years ago because it would've been such a waste of money because I didn't know exactly what I was doing. Right. I was figuring it out. And so I hope it's also a lesson for you, if you want to get started with whatever it is, a side hustle, just a passion project. It doesn't have to look perfect. Nobody wants perfect. Nobody's coming to you because of the logo. Just get started, put your voice out there. And then you can always pivot and change and rebrand and all the amazing stuff. So now I love the podcast art. It obviously feels way more like me because my picture's on it. And it hadn't been in the beginning which also goes to a lot of my mindset when I started. Like I didn't really want to be seen. I hadn't been used to like social media and putting myself out there. I didn't like photos of myself. I have come a long way my friends in three years. And you can too, you just got to get started. So I hope you like the podcast art. It's my favorite now. And I'm redoing my whole website which is also my favorite, which also a side note about that. I routinely and by routinely, I mean, literally today, get an email saying, um, I was on your website, I just found you, do you offer coaching? Like do you, how do you help people? Which I say this to say like what a mess my website has been that people literally don't know how to work with me. They don't know what I offer. They don't know when I offer it. And, uh, that's a problem. And yet I'm without a doubt making multiple six figures this year. Okay. Again, just a reiteration that the stuff does not have to be perfect for it to work. You can figure it out as you're going along. And so I just want to be an example of that for you that like I can go three years without having a website that has a work with me button and still make a living and still figure it out. And don't worry, I'm fixing it. Some wonderful, wonderful follower of mine on Instagram heard me talking about how trash my website was and she's a fantastic designer and developer. And she reached out and I love her stuff. And she's amazing cause she literally just put it together without me doing anything. So that will be coming soon as well. And then you'll have all of the ways that you can work with me and all of the resources and all of the freebies on the website so you can find it. So I don't have to keep making you guess. I apologize for that, but I am figuring it out as I go along. So, um, yeah, that's, what's going on at Lessons From a Quitter headquarter. On to today's episode, I want to talk to you about a really, really important concept that I don't think most people, maybe they know about, but they don't implement in their life. And that is the compound effect. Okay. The most important thing that you need to know and understand for your life is this concept. I don't say that flippantly. I don't say that like trying to be dramatic. It literally is the difference in having a life where you can constantly grow and one in which you won’t. So most of you have heard of compound interest, right? We all understand, to some degree, what that means, right? When it comes to investing, so when you invest any amount, you earn interest on that money. And then year after year, you also start earning interest on that interest, right? So your investment increases much more rapidly, right? So let's say you invest a hundred thousand dollars, you make 10%. So after one year you have made $10,000, you made $110,000, but now you're getting interest on that 110,000. So the year after that, you make 11,000 and the year after that, you make 12,100, right? It works, you just keep making that 10% on the growing principal plus interest. And so that's why after 20 years, 30 years, you have like a huge increase, like hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not up to like millions of dollars from what you originally invested. So I say all that to say like that is the concept that we are thinking about, but we are thinking about it with our own time and actions, okay. Instead of money. So we're going to apply that principle to ourselves and our lives.

And so the concept of a compound effect is small steps consistently over time creates this radical transformation in your life. And most of us have a problem with applying it this way, right? Most of us want to change something very quickly. This is the problem with goal setting that most people have. This is the problem with New Year's resolutions. This is the basis of Bill Gates’ quote we overestimate what we can do in a year and we underestimate what we can do in 10 years. Most of us come at a problem and think like I want to lose weight so I'm going to work out five days a week for an hour at a time, even though I've never worked out or I haven't I haven't gone to do any kind of physical activity in the last five years, I'm just going to pick this insane thing that other people tell me I need to do. And then we wonder why we quit because it's way too difficult to make such a sweeping change, right? To keep up with that momentum. And instead of looking at like hey, if I want to work out, if I'm doing it to be healthy, it's going to have to be something that I do for the rest of my life, so how can I incorporate things? Small steps, small things over many, many years that will give me the return on that investment that I want, right. That will snowball into a huge transformation. We don't think of it this way. And I want you to start thinking of it this way, because what I see is so many people who are unhappy in their careers and they want to make a huge change, right? Like if they want to quit, they want to quit right now. And when they don't see a way out this year right now, for whatever reason, whether it's, you know, finances, whether it's where they're at in their career, whatever it is, it's like they get frustrated, they get overwhelmed and then they just give up. As opposed to like looking at the long game of, okay, I have 30 years to work. So if I start taking small steps now, can I put myself in a position where I can have a kind of a huge payoff in three years or five years?

And so I want to talk a little bit about that, just so that we get really concrete in how this works and how you can apply it in your own life starting today. Okay. So Darren Hardy actually has a book called The Compound Effect and it is a fantastic book. I highly recommend it. I think he has a lot of really great prompts at the end of every chapter. And a lot of the examples he gives of how the compound effect works in so many areas of your life is really eye-opening and so I would recommend reading the book. But one of the examples that he gives and I have slightly changed it because even though I just talked about working out and stuff, I'm not huge on talking about like the weight loss aspect of this stuff. And I think some of his numbers didn't really add up, but the concept is still solid. So I want to talk about it in a different way, but he gives this example of like three friends. Okay. And he says like imagine they're basically the same, they're the same age, the same weight, the same income. They live in the same neighborhood. Right. They're pretty much the same. And we're going to say one of them is named the Larry and Larry just does what he's always done. Okay. He doesn't make any changes, he just goes about his day as he's always done. He complains but nothing really changes. Okay. So Larry is just doing his own thing. Then there's Scott and Scott decides that he's just going to make some small steps in his life. He's going to read 10 pages of a good book every day. And he's going to listen to a 30 minute podcast, that's either instructional or informative, like some kind of self-help on his commute to work. He also decides that like every night he's just going to take a stroll like a 15 minute stroll to get some fresh air after work. And he's going to cut out soda for water. Okay, that's it. And then there's Brad. And now he decides that, you know, life is hard and he wants to have a little bit more fun and he deserves it because he works really hard. And so he is gonna buy a big screen TV cause he loves to watch TV shows and he wants to watch more of his favorite shows and he decides to add a bar to his house and he decides to add an additional drink every day or once a week even. Now the thing is is that if you follow these people, after six months, there's not really that big of a difference. And this is why most people don't stick with these like small changes because we don't see the difference. So it seems as though it doesn't matter. So we think like yeah, why don't I live a little bit more and have just an extra drink or, you know, why would I go for a 10 minute walk? It's not going to do anything, right. But we're not looking at six months. When you look after a year, it's not a huge difference, but you start to see maybe something. After 18 months, you start seeing a difference. After two years, it becomes very noticeable. After three years, it's huge. It's very obvious. Their lives start going in completely different trajectories. Okay. And the thing that I want to talk about is not even the things that are directly related, right? So let's say Brad, who, you know, adds an additional drink every week. Maybe he's gained a couple of pounds, right? And let's say, Scott, who cuts out soda for water? He's probably lost some weight. Right? That goes on that 15-minute walk, maybe he's gotten in a little bit better shape. Like that's fine. We can see certain things just really like direct results from it. But I want to talk more about the ripple effect, right? And I did a podcast about kind of the byproducts of going after your goals. And I would just want to think about the byproduct of even these compound effects, these little small steps because Scott's decision to read and listen to thousands of hours of self-improvement and audio books has now completely changed his perspective on his life, on his marriage, on his work. And he started putting those things into practice. Like he starts hearing it so much, it changes the way he looks at his life. It changes how much gratitude he has. It helps him get a promotion and a raise, right? It helps how he relates to his kids and to his wife. His nightly walks, that 15 minutes become the best time for him and his wife to connect. And they talk about their day and that helps their marriage thrive. It helps their connection. Brad's decision to watch extra TV late into the night. He like starts finding shows that he loves, that makes him sleep late, which makes him sluggish in the morning, he needs more caffeine and more sugar throughout the day to get through it. He's more cranky. His work starts to suffer. He gets poor reviews, which makes them start feeling like he's dissatisfied with his job. And then he needs more food to comfort himself and watch TV or social media, whatever to numb out. And that lack of energy and satisfaction can affect his marriage or his children. Right. He seems more stressed. He doesn't have the patience. He doesn't have the energy to do the things that he has done before. It's these seemingly small decisions that we make in our life that just makes this huge effect down the line. And I want to think back to the third friend, Larry, the one who didn't change anything. And oftentimes we think like okay, well I just stayed the same, but that is also a problem because human beings, like our brains, are designed for growth.

There's never a time where we stop wanting to learn. If you read like any study about how quickly people become depressed when they retire or when they, even when they get a windfall, like they sell their company because people don't want to just sit around, like we have a desire to do and learn and grow. And so even when you are just doing the same thing every single day, there is a reason why so many people feel unfulfilled in a situation that once they felt fulfilled or once they liked that job, it's because you start languishing. You're just kind of floating. Nothing is changing. You're not being pushed. Nothing is growing. And so I don't mean to say that you need to constantly achieve or you need to achieve in order to feel good about yourself but we need to start realizing like where in our lives are we just languishing? Where are we not pushing ourselves to grow a little bit, to learn something, to enrich ourselves. Another example of this compound effect that I think is just so startling and interesting to see is, this came from the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, he was talking about the British cycling, just the scene, I guess like the the team, the national team, they, before 2003, they had won one Olympic medal in a hundred years and they had never won the Tour de France. Okay. They were basically like an embarrassment in the cycling community. And it's easy to think like they, maybe they just don't have the talent, right? Maybe they just didn't have cyclers who were talented enough. And yet they hired a performance director in 2003 and his entire approach is what he called the aggregation of marginal gains. Meaning he looked for tiny improvements in everything, right? He didn't try to like make sweeping huge changes or find people that were, I dunno, find athletes that he just like had it, like we'd like to think like either people have it or they don't. He decided to break down everything in these cyclers’ lives and figure out how he can improve it by 1%. That's it. They reconfigured their seats and their outfits to make them more aerodynamic, to make them, you know, retain heat, to be lighter. He found the best pillow and mattresses that they had the best night's sleep. They tested all of these different massage gels to see what led to the fastest muscle recovery. They had a surgeon come in to teach them how to properly wash their hands so that they could prevent from catching cold. I mean, they literally thought of every aspect of these cyclers’ lives from when they wake up to and, you know, even in sleep and how they can make hundreds of little improvements, not huge, just little things they could add or change in the environment to make their lives a little bit better. And in five years, just five years, the team went on to dominate the 2008 Olympics. They won 60% of the gold medals. And in 2012, they went on to even dominate more. They had nine Olympic records and seven world records. And then that year they won the Tour de France and they went on to win five times in the next six years. It's honestly mind boggling because it was nothing about the athletes themselves, right? It wasn't that like somebody was naturally more inclined to be a better cycler. There wasn't anything that like they made these huge shifts in how they had to train harder or whatnot. It was small marginal gains that completely transformed the entire system, right. And their entire team. And I think that it's something that most of us overlook because it doesn't seem to matter very much in that moment. Right? Like if you save a little bit of money now, you're still not a millionaire. If you go to the gym two days a week, you're still out of shape. Like it's not going to magically transform you into having the body that you want. If you work on your business one hour a week, you still don't have a business likely. It's not going to all of a sudden make you income. And so it's easy, even if you do that for a couple of months and be like this is pointless. Why am I wasting my energy? And that's the biggest problem that I see. When I hear people say like I don't have time to start a business on the side. I can't pay off my debt. Or my favorite: thought work is not working. Like I get, I can't tell you how many of my clients in my program, if you’re in my program you'll laugh because we hear this on every single call. And it's like okay, but when does it start working? Like when do I really start being able to manage my mind? Or when does it kind of like click or whatever? And it's because like the underlying thought there is that it's not working fast enough. And I always ask like what's the alternative? The alternative is to not try to manage your mind, like not become aware of your thoughts. To just go back to the default of believing everything you think and being in this constant state of worry and anxiety and self-loathing. Right, like yes, it's going to take time to change all of the thoughts that you've practiced for decades and decades. It's going to take time to learn how to use these skills. It's going to take time. But like that compound effect of that is transformational. I keep trying to say with my own experience. When I started, like the first year, it was very difficult. I questioned everything about thought work. And it wasn't even in the second year where I felt like I knew what I was doing or how I was actually, I mean, I had, I definitely made a lot of gains, but I still kept falling back into old thought patterns. I kept not being able to catch myself fast enough. I wasn't able to kind of let go of pervasive thoughts that I had or whatever. And it wasn't until I've looked back after five years, you know, three years looking and being like oh, I'm a completely different person. The way I think is just, I don't know when, there wasn't like a day that this happened, but it's just the thousands of hours that I've spent listening to podcasts on mindset and reading books on it and doing my own thought downloads and doing models and being in coaching programs. That has fundamentally changed every relationship I have, it has changed my relationship with myself. It has changed my business. It has changed the way I mother. It's changed everything. It just, it didn't happen in a month. Right. And so I want you to start thinking about your life. Anything that you want, anything that you don't feel happy in right now, I want you to start thinking about it from the lens of the compound effect. If you want to get out of your job, I say this constantly to the people that come to me and they don't, either they don't know what they want to do or they do know they want to start a business, let's say, right. And they say I'm just too exhausted after work to even have the energy to think about what I want to do or to discover what I want to do or to explore, you know? And I talk a lot, obviously on the podcast of like giving yourself the time and space to explore, to try new things. And people say like but how? I don't have any time. And I understand because I felt that way but I just want you to know that it's a lie that you're telling yourself. And the reason you are is because when you don't know what you want to do, or when you don't, let's say you do know what you want to do, but you don't know how to do it. You want to start a business, but you don't know how, or you don't know. You don't have any idea what the business would be or whatever. You can't plan. Okay. So what happens is you work a full day, you have tons of negative thoughts about the job so you come home obviously exhausted. And when there's nothing to do and let's say you start scrolling or going on like a down a Google rabbit hole and you're looking for something, you're just like I don't know jobs that lawyers can transition out of or something you end up on a couple of like YouTube videos and like an hour has passed and you don't feel like you've done anything. And it's like this is kind of a waste of time. I don't, this isn't going anywhere. You feel overwhelmed. You still feel stuck and you just give up, right? Or it's like you come home and you're like I have no idea where to even start. This is too much. I'm just going to watch TV. And then month after month passes, year after year passes and nothing changes.

And so what I want you to start thinking about, and this is the advice I give to everybody in my groups or if you've ever done any of my free challenges before I've talked about this, I want you to just think about: how can I set aside three hours a week? A week? Okay. I mean, you could even do one hour a week, but let's just say three, you can find three hours, right? One of them could be just on your lunch break instead of scrolling Instagram cause you don't know what else to do and you're just feeling overwhelmed. You can decide like Tuesday's on my lunch break. And then one night when I come home, you know, after I put the kids to sleep and one early Saturday morning, one hour on Saturday or, you know, whatever, however you want to do it. Maybe Saturdays, you don't have kids and you can just spend three hours Saturday morning working on it. I want you to pick three hours a week that you are going to dedicate to either working on your side hustle, starting that business, or just figuring it out. And by that, I mean exploring. And by that, I mean, anything that interests you. So maybe one of those hours is like taking a watercoloring class or I don't know, going on Udemy and finding any type of skill that you feel interested in that you want to learn about. Interior design or coding or you know anything, because if you do three hours a week over a year, over 52 weeks, that comes out to 156 hours a year. Okay. If you divide that by 4, that's roughly 4 40 hour work weeks. Okay. So that's as if you take one month every year to spend working on this side hustle or the business or figuring out what it is you like and when you do this with the lens of like yeah, it's going to take me a year or two or even three but at least by the end of that two years or three years, I will know so much more about myself. I will have tried so many things. I will have, you know, built this business in that time. That's where the thoughts and the motivation come to stick with it because those three years are going to pass. And most of us will still be stuck in the same exact situation. But if you can spend 4 40 hour work weeks working on that side hustle, I guarantee you maybe year one, you're not even getting the product out there or the service, right? Maybe year one is just the building of it. It takes a whole year for you to figure out what the messaging is, who you're targeting, getting an Instagram account up, getting a website up, you know, testing it out with like some friends and family, whatever the thing is. But guess what? After that year you got all that set. So then you get to start deciding maybe I can spend six hours a week now. Now that I have some momentum, maybe I can just keep building it like this. Because it doesn't have to happen this year. But let me tell you in that 10 year span, I can have a completely different life. I can have a business that I've built from the ground up. I realized like that's exactly what I did with my photo booth business. I didn't realize I was doing it then. I just knew I was in a very real situation of having a newborn baby and being at home alone with him like you know, I didn't have a nanny or anything like that. So I was like okay, well I only really get like an hour here and there, because I know they love to tell you like you can work when your baby naps, but no you can't because you're exhausted. Like I would take a nap. And so like I would have literally maybe an hour here and there, couple hours a week and I just kept telling myself, okay, I don't have to have everything done this month. I'm just going to keep working on like designing it. And it took me, I mean, it was at a snail's pace. Like it took me months to just get the product designed because it took me forever to find a designer and do the work to like you know, scope out what it would cost and get it done because I was working so slow. But after those first two years, I had that business up and running and that was the only reason I could do it because there was no way for me to like decide I was going to have a business with a newborn or a one-year-old and have everything up in a month. It just wasn't gonna happen for me. And that's okay. Like that was my life circumstance at the time. And like when, you know, I had taken those baby steps and when my son was 18 months, maybe a little bit more than 18 months, we were able to afford to have somebody come three hours a week to watch him so that I could do some more work. So then I started increasing that number of hours and, you know, I started sleeping more. So like I could uh work during his nap times or I could work when he was going to sleep. So then like that second year I started working a little bit more. And by the third year I had a full-fledged business. Right. And like now obviously I'm in a different season. So when I started the podcast, I could spend more hours. And so I just, I want you to start thinking about what can you do right now? How many hours? Is it one hour a week? Okay, then start with that because I promise you over time that one hour will make will make a huge difference. This is even applied to like your debt and finances. I know I've talked about this a lot and I have a full episode on this about like how to think about paying off debt. But so many people just get shut down because it's like I have so much debt so I'm just not going to do anything about it. I'm just going to decide that I can't do have this other life or I can't have another career. I can't have another job because I have debt or I don't have enough saved. And it's like if you can think through the lens of the compound effect of like what if I start paying it off a little more aggressively every month, at least let me figure it out. Let me do the math. How would I change that? Right? Like how would I change the amount of time that it would take me to pay off this debt? Or if I start saving a little bit more, this is like, entire movements have been built on this because when people start doing that, they all of a sudden start finding the motivation to find, you know, to earmark any windfall that they have or start making a little bit of money more on the side and start paying off that debt faster and faster. And so the trick is to not put the pressure on yourself to have to figure everything out today. You know, like we, we tend to have a really hard time working for our future self. Like we, you know, sorta want that instant gratification. And so it's like if I'm not going to have exactly what I want this year, then what's the point? I'm not going to, you know, delay the gratification that long. And part of going after that dream life is really understanding the long game and really understanding the power of the compound effect. And so I want to leave you with just the question of like what are a couple of inconsequential steps that you can just take starting today to start moving your life in a slightly different direction? You know, they give the example of the time of like a plane. Where if a plane, if you move the direction, like the nose of the plane, like one degree or two degrees, that plane, instead of landing in New York, like from California, is going to land in DC, right? Over a long period of time that one degree is going to completely change the trajectory of where that plane lands. It's the same thing with your life.

So what is an inconsequential step that you can start that will change your life just one degree from where it's going right now? Maybe it's like going to sleep 30 minutes earlier so you get a little bit more sleep. Maybe it's drinking one additional glass of water every day, right? You don't have to jump to drinking a gallon every day. Maybe it's giving yourself one hour a week to do something that you enjoy doing, to have, just so you have a little bit more joy in your life. I guarantee you the compound effect of that is life-changing in and of itself, but just start figuring out like what are some one degree changes, inconsequential steps that I can take that will give me a return that is bigger than I can imagine. What is something I can stick with for the next two, three, five years that will transform my life? Write it down. Find three things that you can do and just start doing them now. And I promise you that if you stick with them, you will see such a huge return. I hope this was helpful. I highly recommend you read The Compound Effect and I hope you join me in my challenge. That can be your small step for next month. And hopefully we can talk more about the things that you can do to put you on that path that you want to be. Alright friends, I'll talk to you next week.

Thank you so much for listening. I can't tell you how much it means to me. If you liked the podcast, please rate and review us on iTunes, it'll help other people find the show. If you want to connect or reach out, follow along on Instagram and Facebook at Lessons From a Quitter and on Twitter at QuitterPodcast, I would love to hear from you guys and I'll see you on the next episode.