Week 2 Discussion
The Quantum Leap Myth
Chapter 5 discusses the myth of the “Quantum Leap”. It says that the term Quantum Leap comes from physics where it is referring to the fact that “energy, after a period of time, will suddenly appear at another level, without our having been able to observe how it got there.” Even though you couldn’t see it, there were millions of steps along the way that made the change in energy. There is no big breakthrough and success is not a random accident like winning the lottery. The ending of slavery, the creation of the light bulb and walking on the moon all took thousands of small steps. “Believing in the “big break” is worse than simply being futile. It’s actually dangerous because it can keep your from taking the actions you need to take to create the results you want.”
In pursuing health goals, one of the major quantum leap myths that comes to mind is when you eat well and exercise for a week only to step on the scale and see no change. Out of disappointment you may decide to stop taking the healthy steps and allow yourself to go off course. If you had continued on course for 2 weeks the scale might have dropped 5 lbs and you would have been achieving the slight edge.
Where in your life have you kept a false belief of the Quantum Leap Myth and how has it held you back from taking small steps? Have you had any quantum leap myths in terms of exercise, diet, or health?
Two Life Paths
Chapter 6 begins with Robert Frosts, “The Road Not Taken”. This is a great example of having two choices in all aspects of life. Life is always moving up or down, there is no straight line.
One out of every twenty people will achieve his or her goals in life and regardless of what realm we are talking about, the average success rate is 5%. We have to ignore gravity and all the “no’s” we hear in our lives. If you are on the upper curve your predominant mindset is responsibility, gratitude, appreciation and focusing on the future and if you are on the downward curve your mindset is blame, fate, chance and focusing on the past. “Step onto the upper curve, the path of success, and you will put any area of life on track within a handful of years at the most.”
Which side of the Slight Edge curve are you on right now in terms of your health and wellbeing? Take into account the way you eat, exercise habits, schedule and sleep, stress management… Which side are you on with each of these aspects of health? If you stayed on the upper curve day in and day out, how long do you think it would take you to achieve the health you desire.
Part 2 – Mastering Your Life
Mastering the Slight Edge
Chapter 7 begins with an explanation of Mastery by George Leonard. He says that Mastery is not an exalted state at the end of the path but is a state of mind that lies at the very beginning. “Mastery is the act of setting your foot on the path.” We are all born with Mastery. There is a childlike willingness to keep going but when life gets heavy it can be easy to step off the path and make giving up a habit. The more you give up the easier and easier it becomes.
Wanting hurts but it is important to take a hard look at what you do want and feel uncomfortable with the fact that you don’t have it. It may take being uncomfortable to get it. The tension between where you are and where you could be, Point A to Point B is uncomfortable. The choice is to move A closer to B, constantly towards your goals and dreams, or to move B towards A, let go of all your dreams and goals. It is less comfortable to move A closer to B but embracing this philosophy will allow you to be far more comfortable later on.
Can you think of ways you are avoiding being uncomfortable in your health and fitness journey? Are times in your life when working out or going to bed early or eating healthy are uncomfortable so you choose the down curve?
Faces of the Slight Edge
The more you understand and become familiar with the slight edge and it’s many disguises, the more you will come to see it’s influence in your life. The powers of the slight edge are momentum, completion, habit, reflection, and celebration.
The power of momentum is found when you do small things day in and day out, every single day. Choosing small achievable habits you can succeed at each day will provide momentum. If the task is insurmountable, like walking 2 hours a day and strength training for an hour, then it may be easier to stop which makes it harder to get going again.
The power of completion helps you gain momentum and harness it to your advantage. Incomplete promises, commitments and tasks inhibit your ability to move forward and keep you trapped in the past. Approaching incomplete tasks with the Slight Edge is the only way to deal with them.
The power of habit can take you on the success curve or the failure curve. Your habits come from the daily activities you choose and this is based on your philosophy. You have to take baby steps to create new and better habits.
The power of reflection means you have to be honest and think about what you are doing everyday. Instead of writing down what you are going to do you should reflect on what you actually did that day and if you were moving forward on the success curve.
The power of celebration is to remind you of all of the positive steps you are taking. Reflection helps you to catch yourself doing something right and acknowledge it and celebrate it. “Make each successful right choice a celebration.”
Are there any powers of the slight edge that you struggle with? Do you struggle to consistently workout or eat healthy? Do you reflect and celebrate your healthy habits no matter how small?