Today, it clicked—like really clicked.
I was on the phone with a dear friend. It was quite a rush to go back and reminisce about everything we have been through. The entire afternoon turned into a pleasant conversation riddled with laughter and good vibes with someone close to my heart. He was such an admirable and extraordinary human being; I can honestly say that I genuinely love this person.
My friend and I go way back. I first met him when we attended the same school. Since then, we grew closer and even graduated at the same time. We also lived near each other, as if a higher power arranged all of this.
Later in life, we decided to take apprenticeships at the same time, remaining loyal to the friendship we had developed over time. Because of this, we shared most of our experiences. We even have the same hobbies. I knew him the same way he knew me as if we were the same person.
At one point, our lives were practically identical. But now, eight years later, our lives are complete opposites.
It’s not like he was a problematic person. He had no health issues or any vices. We both had stable jobs the entire time, and we both found loving partners.
And then I realised: the small choices I had made versus the ones he did led us to starkly different lives. That, as well as our consistency and timing, had been significant factors to our current dissimilarity. The compound effect had been playing out in our lives.
Let me share the small but consistent choices I made that my friend did not.
Many of us start as being avid readers. My childhood was full of adventures through text and imagination. Sadly, we tend to lose this habit as we grow older. We have less time to read for fun because responsibilities can get in the way.
And I’ll admit, I’m pretty busy too. But I always see to it that I read at least a couple of pages a day. Even spending 30 minutes to an hour on this activity makes a big difference. I don’t breeze through books the same way I used to, but one page is better than not reading at all.
Reading is an essential activity for several reasons. It keeps us mentally sharp and creative; like exercise for our brain. This habit also makes us a better writer, which is another pertinent skill in life. And clearly, reading also lets us learn more and keeps us updated on the latest news. All the successful business icons have a good reading habit.
Working With Mentors
It’s virtually impossible to achieve success without any help from others. Friends, family, and colleagues are there to give you support. Meanwhile, mentors are there to provide you with guidance, advice, and even inspiration.
My mentor helps me with a lot of different aspects of life. Primarily, people seek mentorship for their careers. My guide helps me deal with workplace issues, become more efficient with tasks, and create a network of relevant contacts who can help me in the future.
I’ve also grown a lot outside of work thanks to my adviser. The lessons I’ve learned at work, I also apply to my personal life. For instance, my mentor taught me to never settle for less at my job. The same is true for life in general. I continue to strive for the best when it comes to working out, my relationships, and being a good citizen of my community.
With the proper mentor, you won’t just excel at work; you’ll grow as a well-rounded individual.
Participating in Mastermind Groups
Mastermind groups are similar to mentors. The difference is that you work with your peers this time. Members of the group work together, giving each other advice on their respective problems.
I found that once I started participating in these groups, I’ve understood my issues better. I was able to see my problems from different perspectives, and thus find different solutions to them.
Investing in My Education
It’s no doubt that the first thing we should invest in is ourselves. One way to do so is by getting ourselves a good education. The growth we get from learning opens up a lot of doors.
With better education, we can find better job opportunities, earn more, and live a more fulfilling life.
Education doesn’t necessarily equate to several college and postgraduate degrees. What’s most important is investing in learning. I took time to study on my own outside of what was required in school. In the long run, my interest in acquiring knowledge was what made the difference.
Eating healthy is a habit that we always see on self-help lists — for a good reason. Having a balanced diet doesn’t just keep me physically fit; it also does wonders for my emotional, psychological, and mental well-being. All of these positive things work together to help us achieve a successful life. After all, how do you expect to live a happy life if you don’t have enough energy to balance work and relationships?
That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the occasional bowl of ice cream or cake. I just have to remember to eat more of the good stuff and limit eating junk. When it comes to food, I make my decisions based on what will be right in the long-run instead of just short-term enjoyment.
I’ll be the first to admit that there was a point when I dreaded having to exercise. It’s tiring, and I couldn’t find the time for it. However, after consulting with friends and fitness gurus, I found out that I wasn’t doing the right workout for myself.
You don’t like going to the gym? Try running at the park. You don’t enjoy that either? You can try joining a yoga class, go dancing, participate in sports, and so many other forms of exercise. We can’t miss out on the benefits of working out just because we don’t enjoy the activity. There’s always something out there that will help us stay fit without seeming dreadful.
Saving and Investing Money
As young adults, it’s hard not to spend the first paychecks we make. It’s tempting to blow through that hard-earned cash when we’re finally making our own money. However, this isn’t a wise decision.
Financial advisors and business personnel always advice to save money. You can use this money to buy something in the future and for emergencies. The general rule is to set aside 20% of your earnings. That’s not set in stone, however.
During my first months of working, I found it difficult to save that much, and I would save 15% instead. After work became more stable, I was able to save more money. Eventually, I also got to invest my money in different channels.
We all know how big of a burden debt is. It also isn’t easy to avoid: college loans, credit cards, car loans, etc. While it isn’t bad to have some debt, it’s something you want to avoid as much as possible – and that’s something I did these past years.
Unless I really needed the extra money, I would stay away from loans. I realised the huge interest I’d be paying wasn’t worth it. If I wanted something, it was better to save up instead of borrowing money. By doing this, I kept my future income secure, maintained an excellent credit rating, and remained worry-free.
Paying Extra Off My Mortgage
Speaking of debt, a mortgage is another type of loan many of us can’t escape from. Here’s one secret though: I try to overpay my mortgage whenever I have extra cash.
The reason I do this is that we actually save more money in the long-run the sooner we pay off our debt. We’ll pay less interest not only per month but also overall. I’ll be able to free myself from debt earlier, which means I can enjoy using my money elsewhere in the future.
Albert Einstein had the right of it: ‘He who understands it earns it; he who doesn’t pay it’. Most people, like my friend, have no idea or awareness that the compound effect makes massive differences in our lives.
So, is the compound effect working for or against you?
The best time to plant the seeds of success was 20 years ago. The second best time is now!