Entrepreneur Darren Hardy

The SUCCESS magazine publisher and author of The Compound Effect describes how to change the trajectory of our lives and shares the story of the “magic penny.”

An entrepreneur since age 18, Darren Hardy has a passion for helping others create success.  He was a self-made millionaire by age 27 and is now publisher of SUCCESS magazine, which serves the growing entrepreneur, home-based and small business markets. Hardy previously held exec positions at two personal development-based TV networks—The People’s Network (TPN), and The Success Training Network (TSTN)—and president/CEO or private-equity investor in several other multimedia companies. A best-selling author, his latest title is The Compound Effect.


Tavis: Darren Hardy is the publisher and editorial director of “SUCCESS” magazine whose previous books include “Design Your Best Year Ever.” His latest is called “The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success.” Darren, looking like a million dollars, good to have you on the program.

Darren Hardy: Thank you. My pleasure. Glad to be here.

Tavis: You look successful, if nothing else [laugh].

Hardy: Yeah [laugh].

Tavis: That’s part of the battle.

Hardy: It’s fake it ’til you make it, I guess.

Tavis: Well, you’re doing better than that. Let me start by asking, before I get into the magazine and the book, because everybody defines it differently, my sense is that success is what each of us determines it to be. But how do you define success?

Hardy: You know, that was the first question we sat down with our editorial team to discuss. Okay, on the cover of the magazine is “SUCCESS.” How do we define success? I think in the 80s, success was defined one way. I think in the 90s, it was different. I think in the early 2000s, it was different and I think today it’s very different.

Our definition was it’s not just somebody who’s financially successful, but somebody who also has a successful thriving business, but also somebody who’s successful in their relationships, successful in their health and wellness and successful in contribution, giving back.

So those are sort of the five pillars that we look for in terms of the people we’re gonna profile on the cover. Do they have whole life success? Do they have success in all five of those areas? Because just one of those vertical successes isn’t buying it, you know, these days.

Tavis: You tell me. I could argue this either way, but I’m curious to hear from the publisher. In difficult times like these, folk are repelled by success, turned off to it or are they craving this kind of Intel, this kind of information, now more than ever?

Hardy: I think these are the times of greatest opportunity in human history. I mean, we have seen the flattening of the globe. We are now all technically connected to each other at our fingertips.

For a budding entrepreneur, these couldn’t be more exciting times than right now because all the people who used to own all the distribution channels and had control of all the media, all that’s up for grabs right now. So these are incredible times of opportunity.

Now I think media, unfortunately, in the competition for our attention is focusing on, you know, the most perverted and scandalous and awful and nasty and people are definitely looking for a beacon of hope, inspiration and a view of what’s right with the world.

People are doing incredible things, overcoming great obstacles and doing life-changing work in the world right now in this economy, and that’s what we attempt to do with “SUCCESS” magazine.

Tavis: I want to come to “The Compound Effect,” the new text, in just a second here, but in the book, speaking of media, you talk about the fact that you put yourself on a media diet. You suggest that others take a media diet. You’re not the first person to suggest that, but it resonates with me now more than it ever has.

That might sound strange for me to say to an audience who’s watching me on television right now, and I host a couple of radio shows, etc., etc. But I’m all for that media diet in large part because I think so much of what we come up against every day is negativity.

If the media keeps giving you more and more and more negativity, you can’t focus on yourself and on your contribution and your success if you’re diet-gesting that every day. But tell me more about why you personally, as a successful entrepreneur, decided to take a media diet.

Hardy: Media has a real difficult challenge in front of them because there used to be just a few television channels, a few radio channels, that you could get on your dial, a few newspapers, a few magazines.

Now there are thousands of all of those and then there are blogs and there are RSS feeds and mobile alerts and Tweets and Facebook postings, so the average person is overwhelmed by the number of inputs to their attention.

Media is fighting for that attention, so they know they have to go to the worst of our nature, which is what is the most sensational, shocking, lewd, crude, scandalous thing that they can draw your attention towards long enough to put the Crest toothpaste commercial in front of your eyes and monetize their business.

So we get this very perverted view of the world. They take the 12 most heinous, ugly, nasty things that happen in the world and then parade it morning, noon and night. Meanwhile that same day, millions of beautiful, wonderful, abundant, prosperity-oriented things happen in the same world.

We don’t hear about it because it’s not sensational enough to compete for our mass attention in order to sell advertising and monetize the business model. I’ve just come down to this conclusion. There is the world and then there is my world and there’s a philosophy of control the controllables.

I can’t control what’s going on in Washington. I can’t control what’s going on with foreign policy, but I can control what’s going on in my own home, my own business, my own relationships and my own health. You know, healthcare starts with me, what I put into my mouth and how often I move my legs.

So it’s really just about the focusing on the things that you can control that are going to make a positive contribution to the outcomes of your life right now.

Tavis: I recall talking to a news director on one of my programs one time. I was making the same argument. Why so much negativity? His response to me was that news, by definition, is an aberration. I thought about that. I said, you know, he’s right about that.

By that definition today, the good stuff then ought to get the headlines. If news is an aberration, it’s the good stuff that we’re not seeing enough of. The good stuff isn’t happening enough, so let’s start seeing more good stuff. I digress on that point, but I agree with your assessment.

Hardy: Here’s an interesting point. If you’re on the freeway and you’re late and the traffic is stacked up and now you’re all anxious and you can finally see up ahead that it was a car wreck that been moved to the side of the road that’s not impending traffic. The only thing that’s slowing traffic is what? Rubberneckers.

Tavis: The looky-loos, yeah.

Hardy: Yeah. So people who are good, wholesome people, why would they want to look at something ugly, nasty and heinous? But they can’t help themselves. Meanwhile, if you’re on that same freeway and off to the side was this beautiful, miraculous sunset, the traffic would be just streaming by.

So media understands that we can’t help but look at shock and sensationalism and things that are lewd and that’s how they’re drawing our attention. It becomes the very perverted view of the world that I think has damaging effects because our mind is like a computer. You know, garbage in, garbage out.

The creative process is you get in life what it is that you expect. You expect what it is that you’re thinking about. You’re thinking about whatever input you put in front of your eyes and into your ears. If that is fearful, dangerous, heinous input, that’s all you’re gonna be processing and it’s gonna become the expectations of your life and the outcomes.

Tavis: So tell me then how “The Compound Effect” is gonna help us jumpstart our incomes, our lives and our success.

Hardy: Well, how do you become successful? I mean, ask that question and you’ll come up with a million answers. Walk into the Barnes & Noble and there’ll be, you know, several hundred answers all conflicting with each other.

Commercial media is constantly bombarding us with ever-increasingly sensational claims to get rich, get younger, get fit, get sexier, all overnight with very little effort for only three easy payments of $39.95 [laugh].

I felt, as a publisher of “SUCCESS” magazine, I have a responsibility here because I was just ticked off at watching people being fooled, misled, bamboozled and I wanted to return people back to the truth, back to the basics, back to the fundamentals, what it really takes to succeed.

You know what? It’s hard, mundane, laborious, sometimes defeating work and that long sustained effort of hard work over time is really what leads to success.

I mean, in the book, it comes down to one control factor. There’s only one thing that determines all our outcomes in life, all our results. Right now as we sit here, our waistline – everybody listening here – your waistline, your bank balance, the intimacy in your relationships, the size of your business, your health, is your fault, right?

We’re all self-made and it is because of all the choices we have made, whether that is year to year, month to month, week to week, moments to moments, the aggregation and accumulation of those choices have compounded into the waistline, into the wallet size, into the size of the business, into your current relationship status.

So the book is about identifying the key choices, being able to start making positive choices, keep from sabotaging yourself in making poor choices and change the trajectory of your life.

As Einstein said, the eighth wonder of the world is compound interest. The eighth wonder of the world is compounded choices. If you could start making some of the positive choices, it’s miraculous what the outcomes are over time.

Tavis: Speaking of choices, I respect you and I read the magazine all the time and I believe you. I’ve come to accept what you offer me as truth. Yet, when I got into this book, I literally had to do the exercise myself because I said Darren cannot be right about that.

I’m a reasonably smart guy, reasonably smart, but I wasn’t buying this story about the magic penny until I literally did the calculation. You were right. Of course, you know you were right because you wrote the book. But tell the story right quick of the magic penny, speaking of the choices that we make.

Hardy: You know, have you ever been bitten by an elephant?

Tavis: No.

Hardy: But you’ve been bitten by a mosquito. You know, nature informs us. You know, it’s the little things in life that will bite you, right? So it’s these little choices that add up to the big results. So the magic penny is, would you rather have a penny that doubles every day for 31 days or $3 million dollars in cash?

Tavis: Say that again one more time. Would you rather have…?

Hardy: A penny that doubles every day for 31 days or $3 million dollars in cash? Which would you rather have?

Tavis: And everybody goes for the $3 million in cash.

Hardy: Well, yeah. That’s the Internet riches, that’s the new latest diet book. You know, that is the get rich quick program. That is this one gimmick that they buy at Walmart that’s gonna change their life. That’s the $3 million dollar option, you know, the temptation.

So how it works out mathematically, you take that penny and, after five days, it’s worth $.16, right? After 10 days, it’s worth $5.12. After 20 days, it’s worth $5,000. And, of course, after the 31st day, it’s worth $10,737,000.

The interesting part of this whole equation is the math between day one and day two and the math between day 30 and day 31 is exactly the same, but it took the accumulated effect of that in order to compound into the $10 million. That is exactly what happens with our choices.

Tavis: Compound effect, yeah.

Hardy: Yeah. You take the choice at lunch. Do you order the hamburger and fries or do you order the salad, right? At the end of lunch, nothing seems to have changed, but you’ve ignited the compound effect. Over time, those same choices end up in cardiac arrest.

You know, the one cold shoulder to the spouse. Nothing seems to change. Compound ends in divorce. You know, not making those last few phone calls, instead calling it a day, that ends up in financial emergency or bankruptcy.

It’s those small little choices over time accumulate to either extraordinary positive results or devastating negative results.

Tavis: I wonder whether or not you think most people are willing to do the hard work? I mean, what you said tonight, speaking of truth, is truth. Success is hard work. It’s about good choices consistently and being true to the choices that you make. But that isn’t sexy. It doesn’t sell as well as the other headlines that you’ve offered us.

So how do you get people to actually accept the hard – and there’s some hard truth. It’s a good book. It’s an easy read. I read it on the plane. Easy read, quick read, good read, but there are some hard truths in this book.

Hardy: Right, exactly. Are people willing to do it? If you just look around us at the results, obviously not, right? The problem is, people don’t have a problem starting.

You know, we all start New Year’s resolutions, we start new diet programs, we go to seminars, we read books, but we have a hard time finishing. But if you could just sort of narrow down the truth to something as simple and easy to digest, that was the attempt.

Take all the clutter, demystify the truth, narrow it down to the half dozen fundamentals, master this, you’ll rewire your operating system, now everything you attempt to do now after can be successful.

Tavis: He’s done that and he’s done it quite brilliantly in a new book called “The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success.” He is Darren Hardy. He is also the publisher of the magazine I enjoy called “SUCCESS.” Darren, good to have you on the program.

Hardy: My pleasure.

Tavis: Have a great rest of the year.

Hardy: Thank you.

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Last modified: April 14, 2012 at 11:59 pm