Book Reviews

The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden -Book Notes, Summary, and Review

28. The Motivation Myth - Jeff Haden

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Rating: 8/10

Date of reading: 31st of August – 4th of September, 2018

Description: This was a book to read! Jeff Haden shows us the process behind the world’s most successful people in sports, business, and life in general. The examples all focus on the process behind the results, the discipline behind the apparent “motivation” and a ton of patience every single one of the successful people had (and still have).


My notes:


You Can Do—and Be—So Much More Than You Think


“Joe Gibbs, Super Bowl-winning coach and NASCAR championship team owner, gave every member of the video crew a signed copy of his book Game Plan for Life because he hoped it would make a small difference in people’s lives.” ( :7)

“Mark Cuban stopped to chat with an unpaid intern who had spent six hours stuck in a chair at the far end of a lonely hallway.” ( :7)

“Thanks to each of you, along with others too numerous to mention, for being so generous with your time and your insights. And most of all, thanks for proving what many people unfortunately choose not to believe: that if you are willing to work hard and stay the course, who you are is more than enough for you to become who you really want to be.” ( :8)

“We can all remember those times when we were hit with a lightning bolt of inspiration, whether to work out or to start learning French—and we can also remember how that urge never produced any action.” ( :9)

“But motivation is really a result. Motivation is the fire that starts burning after you manually, painfully, coax it into existence, and it feeds on the satisfaction of seeing yourself make progress.” ( :9)

“nearly every successful person I know started on the downside of advantage.” ( :10)

“There is only one recipe for gaining motivation: success. Specifically, the dopamine hits we get when we observe ourselves making progress.” ( :10)

“That’s why motivation isn’t something you have. Motivation is something you get, from yourself, automatically, from feeling good about achieving small successes.” ( :10)

“strategizing than with diligently doing (after a little strategizing, sure): doing the right things, the right way, over and over and over.” ( :10)

“When you consistently do the right things, success is predictable. Success is inevitable. You just can’t think about it too much. No obsessing allowed.” ( :10)

“We want to matter . . . but when we focus solely on mattering to other people—when we focus on seeing the reflection of our worth in the eyes of others—the difference that feeling makes in our lives is often fleeting.” ( :11)

“A slice of satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness can be found in the achievement . . . but the real source of consistent, lasting happiness lies in the process.” ( :12)

“Incredibly successful people set a goal and then focus all their attention on the process necessary to achieve that goal. They set a goal and then, surprisingly, they forget the goal.” ( :12)

“Want to run a marathon? Forget some sixty-day shortcut system that promises maximum results from minimal input. Life doesn’t work that way.” ( :13)

“Some people are successful. Some people are happy. You can be both. Here’s how.” ( :13)


Motivation Is Not the Spark


“Actually, motivation is a result. Motivation is the pride you take in work you have already done—which fuels your willingness to do even more.” ( :14)

“Most definitions of “motivation” involve some phrase like “the force or influence that causes someone to do something.” Motivation is viewed as a spark, a precondition, a prerequisite, a presomething that is required before we can start. If we aren’t motivated, we can’t start. If we aren’t motivated, we can’t do. Bullshit.” ( :15)

“Think about why you sometimes procrastinate. (Don’t say you never put things off. Show me someone who doesn’t procrastinate and I’ll show you a robot. Everyone procrastinates.) I definitely procrastinate.” ( :15)

“I’ve written more than seven million published words. (Please keep the jokes about long-windedness to yourself.)” ( :15)

“Neither makes sense, right? Writing and riding are both things I love to do, yet at times I find ways to actively avoid doing them. Putting off tasks I don’t enjoy would make a lot more sense.” ( :15)

“You’ve probably put off a task, finally gotten started . . . and then, once you got started, thought, “I don’t know why I kept putting this off. It’s going really well. And it didn’t turn out to be nearly as hard as I imagined.” And here’s the thing: It never is.” ( :16)

“Once you start, it’s easy to keep going. The act of getting out of the house to go for a jog is often harder than actually running the five miles you planned. The act of sitting down at your desk to start writing a proposal is often harder than putting together twenty pages of material. The act of picking up your phone is often harder than cold-calling twenty prospects.” ( :16)

“Speeches don’t provide lasting motivation. Progress provides lasting motivation. Posters don’t provide lasting motivation. Success provides lasting motivation.” ( :16)

“I love Tim Ferriss, but don’t fool yourself: He works incredibly hard. The real premise of The 4-Hour Workweek is to increase your output by ten times per hour.” ( :17)

“”I went up to a guy working for ESPN at a race and said, ‘How do I get started?’ He let me hang out for two years with no pay so I could get my work known. I learned to write; I learned to interview athletes. . . . It was a great training ground. I wasn’t getting paid, but that was okay.”” ( :18)

“And where does the drive required to help you prepare come from? Success—small, frequent, repeat successes. It truly is a virtuous cycle.” ( :18)

“Confidence is a feeling, but ultimately confidence is the result of knowing that you’re not only willing to do the work, but that you actually will do the work. You won’t try to hack your way to success.” ( :19)

“Of course, riding the Gran Fondo was the opposite of a fire walk. While it was seemingly a one-off event, that one day was also the culmination of months of hard work. I didn’t close my eyes and sprint across semihot coals. My eyes were wide open, every day, to the effort and sacrifice and determination it took to follow the right routine that would allow me to accomplish my goal” ( :19)

“Joe told me why he decided to take personal ownership over each part of the publishing process. He was in a band called the Squares in the early 1980s. “Our rehearsal space was in the same building as Nolo Press, a company that made how-to books with tear-out pages for all sorts of legal situations. Their Dumpster was right outside the door where we would hang out and have a smoke and a drink in between practicing, and it was always overflowing with damaged books. So we’re out there” ( :19)

“wondering how we’re ever going to make it in the music business and start absentmindedly flipping through books. One of them showed how to start all kinds of businesses. “I took it home and was fascinated. I thought the upcoming vacation the band was taking was an opportunity for me to just ‘do the book.’ I got a real copy of the book and decided I needed to start my own publishing company and my own record company and then make a record. I just followed the advice in the book, filled out the forms, went to the Oakland courthouse and paid my twelve dollars, and suddenly I was a record company owner.”” ( :20)

“Process gets a bad rap. Hard work, consistent effort, long hours . . . That’s what stupid people with no talent do, right? Um, nope.” ( :20)

“Michael Ovitz, the guy who built Creative Artists Agency (CAA) into the largest and most powerful organizations in Hollywood.” ( :20)

“Yet Ovitz decided that the best way to succeed was to develop a routine and then stick to that routine. He did things no one else would. He didn’t just rely on his intelligence and talent to succeed. He didn’t wait for his boss to “discover” his talents. He didn’t wait to get a promotion—and the raise that comes with it—to work harder and sacrifice more. Ovitz relied on his process.” ( :21)

“You Don’t Need Other People to Support You” ( :21)

“Here’s an example. Say you want to through-hike the Appalachian Trail, a grueling fiveto seven-month trek from Georgia to Maine. You’re having dinner with friends and tell them you’ve decided to walk the entire 2,200 miles.” ( :21)

“Or in non-researcher-speak: You already got a huge kick out of people thinking of you as a trail hiker . . . so now you’re less motivated to actually be a trail hiker. Sounds counterintuitive, right? Aren’t we supposed to share our intentions so other people can help support and motivate us? According to NYU psychologist Peter Gollwitzer, one of the authors of the study, that is not the case.” ( :22)

“Declaring what we want to be and how we will get there causes us to feel we are further along the path of becoming who we want to be—even though we have in reality done nothing but talk.*” ( :22)

“Or you hear about my wife, who earned an MBA and a master’s in nurse anesthesia and became a doctor of nurse anesthesia practice while raising a family. (My wife kicks ass.) “That’s amazing,” you think. “I wish I had that kind of drive and determination. But I don’t.” You’re right. And you’re wrong.” ( :23)

“Sure, some people may be more self-disciplined than you. But it’s unlikely they were born with some certain special something inside them—instead, they’ve found ways to make decisions that don’t require willpower and determination” ( :23)

“My definition of “grit” is: the ability to work hard and respond resiliently to failure and adversity; the inner quality that enables individuals to work hard and stick to their long-term passions and goals.” ( :23)

“”So one day,” he says, “I pulled my guitar out of the closet where it had been sitting for a while and said, ‘I’m going to learn how to play you.’ I struggled like everyone does, but then I learned to play a few things and I got such a big kick out of that. “That made me want to keep learning. Over time all those little successes built and built and before long all I wanted to do was play guitar and learn how to play it as well as I possibly could, and I knew that if I just kept working I would keep getting better.”” ( :24)

“”All it really takes is a desire to keep on doing it. Finding a passion comes from sticking with it, and that is easy when you work hard to keep getting better. And before long, you realize you’ve gotten passionate about the passion.”” ( :24)

“In fact that’s rarely true. Talent typically reveals itself only in hindsight. Success is never assured. It looks inevitable only after it is achieved.” ( :24)

“”Becoming” feels wonderful because you’ve earned it.” ( :25)

“You don’t just start a business; you’re an entrepreneur. You don’t just write; you’re an author. You don’t just strive for success; you’re successful.” ( :25)

“→ → → → Success Motivation More Success More Motivation More Success = Becoming” ( :25)

“Earned success is the best motivational tool of all. That feeling, that knowledge, is hugely energizing because it’s based not on wishing and hoping and dreaming but on a reality—a reality you created.” ( :25)


The Greater Your Focus, the Lower Your Chances of Success


“But you also may have fallen prey to the myth of focus, which says that the only way to be a high achiever is to regularly remind, coerce, and torture yourself into putting forth effort.” ( :27)

“Did you get to work on time today? Did you get the kids to their activities on time? Did you get dinner on the table and cut the grass and do the laundry and all the other stuff you needed to do? Of course you did. Why? You didn’t really have a choice.” ( :27)

“Choices are a problem, because choices force you to decide what you want to do.” ( :27)

“What happens when you turn “I want to” into “I have to”? You make it to work on time. Punctuality is nonnegotiable. Getting to work on time is not a goal; it’s a task. So is making dinner; you have no choice. So is taking care of your kids; it’s nonnegotiable.” ( :28)

“That’s why the power of routine, something we’ll look at in detail later, is so important. When you create a routine, embrace that routine, and see the results of that routine, you stop negotiating with yourself. You see your routine as a task, in the best possible way: Your routine isn’t something you choose to do; it’s just what you do. And you stop making choices that don’t support your goals.” ( :28)

“But caring, though important, is rarely sufficient. Millions of people sincerely care— goal. social cause—and yet they still give up long before they manage to achieve a meaningful about their careers or their health or their families or the environment or politics or a” ( :28)

“The distance from here, where you start, to there, where you someday want to be, is too great, especially at the beginning.” ( :28)

“Yet all those imaginings are worthless without a process to help us achieve them. A dream, once born, quickly dies without a process to support it.” ( :29)

“As I learned from James Clear, a leading thinker on the subject, the best use of a goal is to inform the process you will follow to achieve it. What’s the difference between a goal and a process?” ( :29)

“Take Arnold Schwarzenegger. Before he became a movie star and later the governor of California, Arnold was a six-time Mr. Olympia (the highest achievement in bodybuilding). As a teenager, he decided he wanted to win the Mr. Olympia contest, but on a daily basis he cared only about reps. In his mind, each repetition of an exercise took him one step closer to becoming Mr. Olympia. At the gym, he wasn’t focused on winning the contest; he cared only about doing the reps, about doing the work, about doing what was necessary to get him to his goal. Sure, he wanted to become Mr. Olympia. He set that goal . . . and then he forgot that goal and focused on reps, and reps, and more reps.*” ( :30)

“Everyone has goals. The people who actually achieve their goals create routines. They build systems. They consistently take the steps that, in time, will ensure they reach their ultimate goal. They don’t wish. They don’t hope. They just do what their plan says, consistently and without fail. They forget the goal and focus solely on the process. (We’ll talk a lot—and I do mean a lot—about processes later on.)” ( :30)

“”Time bound” is also a problem. Setting a date for completion is important, but it in no way helps you focus. Most goals tend to make an already complicated life even more complicated. Think about the last time you wrote a list of business or personal goals. When you finished, did you think, “Wow, this is awesome because I have a clear direction and purpose,” or did you think, “Oh crap, how will I ever get all this done”?” ( :30)

“”Attainable” is also a problem. There’s nothing inspiring about an attainable goal. Attainable goals are targets, not goals. “I will cold-call twenty prospects today” is a target; just pick up the phone twenty times and you meet the target. That may be an important goal if it helps you meet your sales quotas, but it’s far from inspirational.” ( :31)

“Only you can set a goal. And then, only you can forget about that goal.” ( :31)

“If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by a huge physical task and broken it down into small parts, you know it works. Maybe you were hiking and realized you had three miles to go before you reached the summit, and you decided to just focus on making it to the next turn on the trail, and then the next, and then the next. In essence, you forgot about the goal and broke it down into smaller steps.” ( :31)

“Dream big. Set a huge goal. Commit to your huge goal. Create a process that ensures you can reach your goal. Then forget about your huge goal and work your process instead.” ( :31)

“(Remember, the main purpose of a goal is to establish the right process and routine to achieve that goal.)” ( :32)

“Because of that, your huge goal is no longer important. Your process is important— and where your process is concerned, you’re a success.” ( :32)

“And one day you’ll wake up and realize you can run five miles . . . and then ten . . . and then twenty . . . because each day you compared yourself with what you needed to achieve that day instead of with what you needed to achieve someday.” ( :32)

“If you dedicate yourself to working your process, you will make progress. Success is inevitable. And one day you’ll wake up and realize you can run five miles . . . and then ten . . . and then twenty . . . because each day you compared yourself with what you needed to achieve that day instead of with what you needed to achieve someday. Follow your process and someday you will run that marathon. You will have gone from here to there—almost without thinking about there. And somehow, almost magically, you will have stayed motivated and enthusiastic. How did that happen?” ( :32)

“None of us receives enough positive feedback. Each of us is our own worst critic.” ( :32)

“Those are your goals. You set them, but for now you must forget them, because you will never be able to give yourself positive feedback when you constantly compare yourself with your end goal.” ( :33)

“You will always be your worst critic because by definition you will never measure up. And in time you will give up. The work will be too hard and the rewards too few. That’s why you need to forget the goal. What matters is the process.” ( :33)

“If the first rule of Fight Club is “You do not talk about Fight Club,” the first rule of ghostwriting is “You do not talk about your clients.”” ( :33)

“So I started writing for in order to have published work appearing in my name on a highly reputable platform. That way potential clients may read it and think, “I really liked that . . . and hey, he’s a ghostwriter. I need a ghostwriter.”” ( :34)

“Keep in mind each view was worth only 0.0095 cents; in other words, I would earn $9.50 per thousand views. To make serious money I would have to generate serious views. Monthly compensation was capped at $10,000, which translated to 1,050,000 views, and to date no one had ever “capped out.”” ( :34)

“Write a new post. Without fail. No excuses. 2. Build relationships. I contacted three people who tweeted my posts that day, choosing the three who seemed most influential, the most noteworthy, the most “something” (even if that “something” was just “thoughtful comment”). Then I sent an e-mail—not a tweet—and said thanks. My goal was to make a genuine connection.” ( :34)

“Build my network. I contacted one person who might be a great source for a future post. I aimed high: CEOs, founders, entrepreneur-celebrities . . . people with instant credibility and engaged followings. Many didn’t respond. But some did. And some have become friends and appear in this book.” ( :34)

“Evaluate recent results. I looked at page views. I looked at shares and likes and tweets. I tried to figure out what readers responded to, what readers cared about. Writing for a big audience has little to do with pleasing yourself and everything to do with pleasing an audience, and the only way to know what worked was to know the audience.” ( :35)

“Posting frequently allowed me to improve my skills more quickly, increase my chances of writing “home run” posts that would go viral, and—not incidentally— build a library of posts for new readers to someday discover. Building connections provided an ever-expanding list of great content sources. Experimenting frequently with headlines allowed me to quickly learn to craft better headlines, and eventually I developed my own style (which was widely copied, so I’ve had to constantly adapt, but that’s okay). The more I posted and connected and experimented, the more data points I could evaluate and the better I could understand what readers responded to, which led to more and more people reading my posts.” ( :35)

“How many more? The first month I did just over 35,000 page views. (Ugh—but I kept my head down and stuck with the process.) The next month I did nearly 100,000. (Cool.) The next month I did over 300,000. (Very cool.) The next month I did nearly 900,000 page views. (Very, very cool.) The fifth month one of my posts was the most shared post on LinkedIn . . . and that month I did 2.1 million page views. (And for the last couple of years I’ve averaged over 1.5 million views a month.)” ( :35)

“But first let’s look at how you can accomplish a goal that isn’t practical or numbers based—but one that most of us definitely hope to achieve: being more likable.” ( :36)

“We’re instinctively drawn to people who are modest, agreeable, polite, kind . . . in short, to people who are genuinely likable.” ( :36)

“The answer often lies in what likable people don’t do. So here’s a checklist. The next time you’re heading out to a social gathering or networking event or any situation where you’ll interact with people in a relatively casual setting, review this list. See it as your checklist of things not to do. Again, the key isn’t to think, “I want people to like me.” That is your goal, but forget about your goal and just follow the process.” ( :36)

“Taking responsibility when things go wrong instead of blaming others isn’t masochistic; it’s empowering—because then we focus on doing things better, or smarter, the next time.” ( :37)

“People who criticize also tend to preach. And judge.” ( :37)

“Want to be instantly likable? Be the person who has accomplished very cool things . . . but manages to make other people feel like they are the ones who have accomplished very cool things.” ( :38)

“(In much the same way that Domino’s isn’t in the pizza business, it’s in the delivery business, comedians aren’t really in the performing business—they’re in the writing business. If Domino’s can’t deliver consistently, its pizzas are irrelevant. If comedians can’t write consistently, their performing is irrelevant.)” ( :38)


Your Goal Must Always Choose Your Process


“Let’s use our example of walking the Appalachian Trail. Create a plan to walk twelve miles a day, stick to that plan . . . and 180-odd days later you will achieve your goal.” ( :40)

“Let’s say you want to write a book. Create a plan to write a thousand words a day, stick to that plan . . . and seventy to eighty days later (depending on how long-winded you are) you will achieve your goal.” ( :40)

“My goal was to channel my inner Fleetwood Mac and never break the chain. I worried only about what I needed to do each day.” ( :40)

“You get to choose your goal—but after that, what you want to do is irrelevant. What matters is what you need to do to achieve your goal. You can’t have dessert with every meal and lose weight. (Well, theoretically you can . . . but jeez, that will be hard.)” ( :40)

“So don’t start unless you’re truly willing to pay the price.” ( :40)

“Writing “Go jogging three days this week” on a Post-it doesn’t mean you have a process. What does “go jogging” mean? And which days will you run? How far? How fast? Instead of “go jogging,” here’s what your process should look like: Monday: Run 1.5 miles. Tuesday: Stretch (list the different stretches) for 20 minutes. Wednesday: Run 2 miles.” ( :41)

“Thursday: Walk at a pace of three miles per hour for 45 minutes. Friday: . . .” ( :42)

“Setting a clear and specific target for each day’s effort automatically supports feedback: Either you did what you planned to do (great!) or you didn’t (boo!).” ( :42)

“All your training will naturally take time, and freeing up that time means changing your current routine. Maybe you’ll stop lifting weights. Maybe you’ll start getting up earlier. Maybe you’ll decide you can no longer keep up with the Kardashians. No matter what, some things— maybe a lot of things—will have to change. (I reworked my entire daily, weekly, and monthly schedules—writing, speaking, consulting, exercise, family time, you name it—in order to write this book. Lots of things had to change. How could they not?)” ( :42)

“Look at the process you created and determine what changes you need to make to your current daily routine so you can reliably work that process. If you don’t, you will never succeed.” ( :42)

“So if you do feel that twinge and let discretion be the better part of valor, you get to feel twice as good about yourself: You didn’t miss your workout and you made a smart short-term decision that supports your long-term goal. Win-win!” ( :43)

“But don’t make changes to your process because you’re tired or lazy or bored—make changes because those changes increase your likelihood of ultimate success.” ( :44)

“I do better with less rest; other people do better with more. But I didn’t know that when I started. I couldn’t know that when I started. And neither can you. Always wait until you can evaluate real results before you modify your process. Don’t assume you somehow know better—let the data show you what is better. If you’re paying attention, it will.” ( :44)

“So I finished my presentation and asked the audience to suggest topics. The A/V guy posted their submissions on the giant screen behind me, and I had the audience vote by applause for their favorite topic.” ( :45)

“Before we start: I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not a certified exercise professional. I have no official credentials. Yet I know that the following works, because in less than a month I went from 172 to 161 pounds. Here’s what I shared:” ( :45)

“I didn’t wish. I didn’t hope. I didn’t look for the easy way. (The easy way never works.) I built an effective plan, and once I did, success was inevitable. All I had to do was stick to the plan.” ( :45)

“Remember, decisions are behavioral change killers, so eliminate as many decisions as possible.” ( :47)

“The Hawthorne effect works: When we know we are being observed, we instinctively change our behaviors. In this case, of course, you will be the one doing the observing.” ( :48)

“So make yourself a chart and check off each time you follow the process: Early-morning exercise: check. Almonds before meals: check. Glass of water before meals: check. Stop when full: check. No white foods: check. Every meal healthy: check. Smart snack: check. Burn five hundred extra calories: check. Cheat wisely: check.” ( :48)

“As long as, of course, the process you create will realistically help you achieve your goal. It’s easy to get swept up in a dream and ignore the fact that your approach must be realistic. For example, let’s say you want to become a multimillionaire.” ( :49)

“How do you achieve a lifelong objective? Let’s say your target is, oh, $50 million. Totally unrealistic? Nope. The goal isn’t unrealistic. Genetics don’t play a part. Experience, education, and connections are all important but not required. Tens of thousands of people from all walks of life achieve that level of wealth. The goal isn’t unrealistic . . . but for the millions of people who hope to achieve significant wealth, the approach is what is unrealistic—and what ensures that they never come close.” ( :49)

“In 2009 it took $77.4 million in adjusted gross income to make the top four hundred. And that amount only just let you crack the list. The average earnings on the list were $202.4 million.” ( :50)

“Wages and salaries: 8.6 percent Interest: 6.6 percent Dividends: 13 percent Partnerships and corporations: 19.9 percent Capital gains: 45.8 percent” ( :50)

“Working for a salary won’t make you rich. Neither will making only safe “income” investments. Neither will investing only in large companies. Owning a business or businesses, even in part or partnership, not only could build a solid wealth foundation but could someday generate a huge financial windfall.” ( :50)

“Whom do you find? The usual suspects. Bill Gates. Warren Buffett. Larry Ellison. David and Charles Koch. A collection of Walmart Waltons. Sheldon Adelson (proving, as if you need proof, that no one wins in casinos but the casinos). All entrepreneurs. I worked my way down into the two hundreds, and when I still couldn’t find an employee, I got bored and quit looking.” ( :50)

“But when we talk about the life of an entrepreneur, when we talk about how it feels to be an entrepreneur, every one of them lights up. They enthuse about the challenges, the responsibility, the sense of mission, the sense of purpose, the sense of fulfillment and excitement of working with and for a real team, the amazing feeling of empowerment and control over their own destinies.” ( :51)

“Every entrepreneur lights up when we talk about being an entrepreneur, because as entrepreneurs they feel alive. They feel free to chart their own courses, to make their own decisions, to make their own mistakes—to let the sky be the limit not just financially but also (and almost always more importantly) personally.” ( :51)

“The only way to become financially rich is to start your own business, even if it’s just on the side. Even if it’s just, at first, a slightly stepped-up hobby. Any other approach will not make you rich.” ( :51)

“Or say you want to amass tens of millions of dollars in wealth. If you aren’t willing to work to create something new and different, if you aren’t trying to do something Zuckerbergian, your goal isn’t the problem. Your approach is the problem. If you aren’t willing to find a new way to fill an ongoing and nearly universal need, if you aren’t willing to do something Netflixian, your goal isn’t the problem. Your approach is the problem.” ( :51)

“Everything I’ve just written is totally empowering. If you want to become wealthy, there is a way. If you want to achieve a huge goal, whatever your goal may be, there is a way. Especially when you use the power of language to help you stay on track” ( :52)

“Changing your behavior—especially when doing something different basically means saying no to something you normally do—is really hard.” ( :52)

“One group was given a simple temptation and told to say, in the face of that temptation, “I can’t do (that).” The other group was told to say, “I don’t do (that).” What happened? Participants told to say “I can’t” gave in to the temptation 61 percent of the time. Participants told to say “I don’t” gave in to the temptation 36 percent of the time.” ( :52)

“Participants were told to set a personal long-term health and wellness goal. When their initial motivation flagged—as initial motivation inevitably does—one group was told to say, “I can’t miss my workout.” Another group was told to say, “I don’t miss my workouts.” (The control group was not given a temptation-avoidance strategy.)” ( :52)

“Ten days later the researchers found: Three out of ten control group members stuck to their goal. One out of ten “I can’t” group members stuck to their goal. Eight out of ten “I don’t” group members stuck to their goal.” ( :53)

“”I can’t skip my workout today” or “I don’t miss workouts”? “I can’t give you a discount” or “We don’t discount our products”? “I can’t make time for that, so sorry” or “I don’t have a single open slot in my calendar”?” ( :53)

“”I can’t” sounds tissue-paper thin because it’s a decision based on external reasons or causes. “I don’t” sounds like a brick wall because it comes from deep inside you. It’s part of your identity. It’s who you are. The power of “I don’t” extends to both your mind-set and the impression you make on others.” ( :53)

“Use “I don’t” to ensure that what must be nonnegotiable remains nonnegotiable . . . and then shift to terms you are willing to negotiate.” ( :54)

“Instead say, “I’m sorry, but I don’t have time in the next few weeks. Give me your card and maybe we can work something out down the road.” Then you can say yes—if you decide to say yes—on your terms.” ( :54)

“Of course, being confident and respected starts with deciding who you want to be . . . and that means choosing a goal to achieve. After all, we are not what we think or wish or dream—we are what we do. Let’s figure out what you want to do.” ( :54)


Happiness Comes to Serial Achievers


“We’re more likely to become “superior” in that career pursuit, not worldclass, not top 0.01 percent, but definitely more skilled than 95 percent of the population.” ( :55)

“The job of running a complex organization or starting a business is all about four or five different things that have nothing in common. So being a good manager, and optimizing the performance of any aspect of your company, is often at odds. . . . Being a good manager means saying to your employees, “You do it. You take responsibility,” even though, by definition, they’re not as good at it as you are.” ( :56)

“New Yorker magazine, David Remnick, is a better writer than 95 percent of the people who work for him. He’s constantly in this position of having to accept articles that are not as good as the ones he would write himself. If he were to be completely honest and say, “I can’t accept this,” he wouldn’t have a magazine.” ( :56)

“triathlon problem. At a certain point I have to say, “I can’t optimize for being an amazing runner because I have to worry about swimming or cycling.”” ( :56)

“should live to be approximately eighty—and that means you have eight to ten fiveto seven-year periods ahead of you. That means you have eight to ten different phases of your life that you can use to accomplish eight to ten huge goals.” ( :57)

“serial achiever: a person who accomplishes this, then that, then that, then that . . . all while working hard to succeed and advance in your career. That means you can become an “and”: a person who is this, and this, and this, and this.” ( :57)

“That makes Venus Williams, like many highly successful people, a serial achiever. It’s trendy to say the path to success lies in focusing on just one thing. Venus has never felt she should focus only on tennis: She feels she can be a tennis player and a student (she’s pursuing a master’s degree in interior architecture) and a designer and an entrepreneur.” ( :57)

“”To me, that’s normal,” she said. “From an early age, I had to figure out how to be amazing at what I did and do well in school at the same time. In my home, we weren’t allowed just to be athletes. We had to be students. And our dad taught us to be entrepreneurs.” ( :57)

“I know what you’re thinking: “That’s fine for Venus . . . but I just don’t have the time to do all those things.” Um, bullshit. Yes you do.” ( :58)

“Take me. (Not because this is all about me but because I’m the only person I know a lot about.) I’m a ghostwriter and author. I’m a speaker. I’m a productivity-improvement consultant. Until recently I was a wedding photographer. And I take on physical challenges from time to time.” ( :58)

“”Why not? If you did more events, couldn’t you make more money?” they ask. “Probably so,” I say, “but I’m also a ghostwriter.” “What?” “I’m a speaker and a ghostwriter,” I say. “Oh,” they say, and their voices trail off as their perception of me changes. (And that’s before I told them I also photograph about ten weddings a year.)” ( :58)

“So no matter what their initial impression of me as a speaker, no matter how big the event, no matter how sophisticated the audience, they no longer see me as a successful speaker simply because I don’t speak on a full-time basis.” ( :58)

“So no matter what their initial impression of me as a speaker, no matter how big the event, no matter how sophisticated the audience, they no longer see me as a successful speaker simply because I don’t speak on a full-time basis. In short, I must not be good enough to specialize.” ( :58)

“To most people, professional “specialization” indicates accomplishment and success, when in fact the opposite is true. You, me, all of us—we’re too good to specialize. Venus is too good to specialize. She is capable of more than tennis. She’s too good to be just one thing.” ( :59)

“One of the biggest reasons people don’t start doing, well, anything is that they think the first step must be a component in a comprehensive grand plan, one where every step is charted and every milestone identified . . . and because they don’t have that plan, they don’t start.” ( :59)

“And please don’t think it’s too late. Maybe you’re smart enough to read this book and create a professional life plan in your twenties. I wasn’t. I didn’t have a clue. Neither did Joe. Read stories of successful people and it’s easy to think they have some intangible something—ideas, talent, drive, skills, creativity, whatever—that you don’t have. Nope. Success is inevitable only in hindsight. Success is never assured. Plans are never perfect. Only in hindsight does it appear that way.” ( :59)

“Pick a side hustle your inner twenty-year-old will love.” ( :59)

“Don’t choose an “and” you feel you should choose. Pick a side hustle your inner twenty-year-old will love. Being a serial achiever is a chance to explore, to delve, to expand, even to indulge—but with a purpose.” ( :59)

“(After all, data without insight is just data.)” ( :60)

“Plans are great, but plans without action are just dreams.” ( :60)

“How many of the things you just wrote down are professional goals? If you’re like most people, none of them are. Not one involves career or money. Instead, they’re personal goals.” ( :61)

“”If I had only . . .”” ( :61)

“A quote often attributed to Jim Rohn goes, There are two types of pain you will go through in life: the pain of discipline and the pain of regret. Discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” ( :61)

“Instead you’ll think about what would have made you feel happier or more fulfilled. When you’re sitting in that rocking chair, you’ll think about the things you wanted to become.” ( :61)

“personal goals are important not just to set but to achieve. Achieving personal goals, no matter how silly, how frivolous, or how impractical, is rewarding. And as you pursue those goals you meet new people, make new connections, build new friendships, and, best of all, feel better about yourself. Those are all things we can use more of in life.” ( :61)

“If, on the other hand, you leave every day at four o’clock and pursue a rich and varied personal life and you’re still unhappy, you haven’t embraced the fact—and it is a fact— that what you chose to do will not make you wealthy. Personal satisfaction is important, but it’s not enough for you . . . and that’s okay too.” ( :63)

“But don’t automatically say that your family and friends are the most important thing in your life. If they are, that’s great, but if they’re not, and yet you’re spending the bulk of your time and focus on those relationships, then you’re only cheating yourself out of the chance to be happier by focusing on what is more important to you.” ( :63)

“For example, we all know at least one high school teacher who constantly complains about low pay. I don’t blame them. Teachers should be paid more. They have an incredibly important job.” ( :63)

“But they aren’t paid more. And unless something dramatic happens, they won’t be paid more. As Marlo from The Wire would say, “You want it to be one way . . . but it’s the other way.” Teachers may be woefully underpaid, but currently that’s the way it is.” ( :64)

“And that’s why this logical leap isn’t a leap at all: If you currently aren’t healthy, don’t feel good about your primary relationships (or the people with whom you are in those relationships don’t feel good about you), and aren’t making enough money, then you have” ( :64)

“And that’s why this logical leap isn’t a leap at all: If you currently aren’t healthy, don’t feel good about your primary relationships (or the people with whom you are in those relationships don’t feel good about you), and aren’t making enough money, then you have” ( :64)

“no business taking on any goal that does not make one of those areas of your life better.” ( :65)

“no business taking on any goal that does not make one of those areas of your life better. It’s impossible to feel fulfilled and happy if you aren’t taking care of your basic needs.” ( :65)

“If you aren’t bringing in enough money to keep food on the table and a roof over your head, you’ll feel guilty and selfish if you spend time training to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.” ( :65)

“You may want it to be one way—the way that lets you pursue anything you want without regard to money or health or relationships—but it’s the other way. And it always will be. Just ask anyone who ignored the basics in his life (it’s almost always men) to pursue a goal . . . only to feel empty and hollow because the “trophy” on the mantel came at too high a cost.” ( :65)

“Are You Comfortable Financially? I know: “Comfortable” means different things to different people. For now, let’s define “comfortable” as able to afford to pay your bills on time, eat healthy (not extravagant, healthy) food, provide for your family’s basic needs, and consistently put aside a little money for retirement. “Comfortable” means you’re not constantly worried about money and you don’t constantly think about money. If you’re constantly worried about or thinking about money, your first goal must be to generate more income, because money clearly matters a lot to you. (And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.) If you are comfortable financially, then . . .” ( :66)

“W it a lot easier to get booked—in fact, the media will seek you out. naturally improve. Content trumps delivery every time. When you’re an expert, you’ll find you’ll have something original or insightful to say—and your delivery and presence will will help, but who gets media opportunities? Experts. Become an expert in your field and ant to land more media opportunities? Developing a better delivery and presence” ( :67)

“The best goals are goals you can see and taste and visualize in great detail, because they’re based on a real accomplishment and not a vague statement of intent.” ( :68)

“Just remember: If you are in financial straits or relatively poor physical condition, your goal must help you overcome that challenge.” ( :68)


Wishing and Hoping Is the Most Unrealistic Approach of All


“Instead of acting, though, I let “idea” stay a noun. I didn’t make “idea” a verb. Fitness and computers and home health care weren’t really ideas, because ideas without action aren’t ideas. They’re regrets.” ( :71)

“If your goal is to become extremely wealthy, get started on your entrepreneurial journey. That’s not a sure path to wealth, but it is the most realistic.” ( :71)

“Then look at what is required to achieve that goal. What you need to do may not be what you want to do, and that’s okay. Let everyone else take an unrealistic approach and then wonder why they aren’t achieving more.” ( :71)


To Gain Incredible Willpower . . . Need Less Willpower


“Interruptions are productivity killers, so letting people know you’re doing something special and will be out of reach for a day is an absolute must. At a minimum, tell coworkers and family, but don’t forget to tell important clients or other people who normally expect you to respond to them. Send an e-mail a couple days before your EPD. Explain that you will be tied up on that day and you’ll respond to their calls, e-mails, etc. first thing the following morning.” ( :73)

“Why? For one thing, an EPD isn’t about how you feel. An EPD is about getting things done, not wimping out because you get bored or tired. Two, the longer the time frame you set, the quicker the early hours seem to go by.” ( :73)

“Don’t just set a deadline. Totally commit to hitting that deadline. And feel free to play any mental games that help. Make a bet with someone else, or make a bet with yourself (where “losing” means you have to do something you really don’t want to do). In short, make the stakes personal. Find a way to be invested in the outcome not just professionally but personally.” ( :74)

“Don’t just take it from me. Take it from Ray Care, whose twelve-year navy career included ten years as a SEAL. (SEALs are the kings of pushing beyond the possible. Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training includes the aptly named Hell Week, a grueling five-and-a-half-day stretch when each SEAL candidate sleeps a total of only about four” ( :76)

“hours, runs more than two hundred miles, and does physical training for more than twenty hours each day.)” ( :77)

“”Here’s the thing,” Ray told me, “about being ‘done.’ When you truly have nothing left in the tank, you either black out, pass out, or die. That’s it. Otherwise you have more in you. It’s all about getting past your comfort zone. We always have more gas in the tank. We just don’t think we do because no one wants to run on reserve. They don’t want to go past what they think is their limit.” ( :77)

“Jim Whitehurst is the president and CEO of Red Hat, one of the largest and most successful providers of open-source software. Before that he was the chief operating officer of Delta Airlines. Before that he was a director and vice president of Boston Consulting Group. So yeah, he knows a little about personal productivity . . . and, if it’s one of your goals, how to climb the corporate ladder.” ( :77)

“The key is to create structure and discipline for your week. Otherwise you’ll let things happen to you instead of making things happen. Otherwise you’ll let “urgent” push aside what is truly important.” ( :78)

“I love David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology, but success isn’t based on getting things done. Success is based on getting important things done.” ( :78)

“Once upon a time Jim created to-do lists, but he didn’t assign time to each task. What happened? He always had more items on his to-do list than he could accomplish, and that turned his to-do list into a wish list. If you have six hours of meetings scheduled today and eight hours of tasks on your to-do list, those tasks won’t get done. Assigning realistic time frames forces you to prioritize. Assigning realistic time frames also helps you stay focused. When you know a task should take only thirty minutes, you’ll be more aggressive in weeding out and ignoring distractions.” ( :78)

“At the airport he uses Pocket, a browser plug-in that downloads articles. Loading ten articles ahead of time ensures that he has plenty to read—plenty he wants to read—while he’s waiting in the security line.” ( :79)

“Pick two days a week to go out with people you don’t know well. Or take a walk. Or do something personally productive.” ( :79)

“Every family has peak times when its members can best interact. If you don’t proactively free up that time, you will often slip back into work mode. Either be working or be home with your family. Don’t just “be there.” Be with your family.” ( :80)

“→ Getting something productive done right away is fun, and it’s motivating. Success → → Motivation More Success More Motivation . . . so why not get your virtuous cycle started right away?” ( :80)

“Norman Mailer said, “Being a real writer means being able to do the work on a bad day.”” ( :81)

“Without achievement, there is no motivation. There are just excuses.” ( :81)

“Seemingly every successful person has faced tremendous criticism and rejection. Stephen King’s first book was rejected by thirty different publishers. Soichiro Honda flunked his interview with Toyota and decided to make scooters. Lucille Ball was told by acting teachers to try another profession. If you’re trying to do something different—if you’re trying to be different—other people will think you’re odd. That’s okay. Do what you want to do. That’s the only way to achieve what you want to achieve.” ( :81)

“Anyone hoping to achieve great things gets nervous. Anyone trying to achieve great things gets scared.” ( :81)

“Fear is paralyzing, but action creates confidence and” ( :81)

“self-assurance.” ( :82)

“Don’t wait for ideas. Don’t wait for inspiration. Big ideas most often come from people who do, not people who dream.” ( :82)

“I know some of this might sound hard. I know some of this might sound too difficult, especially because very few people apply this level of focus and routine to their lives. But take a step back and consider the following sentence; though obvious, like most truisms, it’s also easy to forget. Successful people are successful because they do things differently from other people.” ( :82)

“See? Obvious. But also true. To achieve differently you must act differently.” ( :83)

“Everyone says they go the extra mile. Almost no one actually goes there, though. And when someone does actually go there, they usually think, “Wait. No one else is here. Why am I doing this?” And they leave, never to return. That’s why the extra mile is such a lonely place.” ( :83)

“To Seinfeld, success is based on “work and thought and preparation.” Those are givens. (Those are also the building blocks of confidence.) Then he adds three further elements:” ( :83)

“According to Seinfeld, the execution stage is where most people stop. “They have a good idea, they execute the idea, and then they cross their fingers,” he says. “And they really hope that it works, and they have lots of excuses ready for when it doesn’t.” But then what?” ( :84)

“Detail “The third piece of success in a creative field is detail,” he explains. “Obsessive detail.” If you think about it, success in every field requires some level of creativity. If you aren’t coming up with new ideas, new approaches, or new processes, then you’re just doing what everyone else already does” ( :84)

“”This happens to every comedian every night,” he says. “I have bits, I have jokes, they work, they never miss, it’s a good joke, people like it, every time I say it in this way it always works . . . but if I just have a slight catch in my throat in the middle of one word, just that little thing in the first syllable, it’s gone. It’s gone. The audience is like, ‘What happened? Did he get nervous? Or distracted? Something went wrong.'” ( :84)

“”If you were a guest star on my show and you came on for a week,” Seinfeld says, “if you missed a word—one word—in the lines that we’ve written for you, you’re going to get a look from me . . . because that’s the way we executed the series.”” ( :84)

“More often, willpower is a function of success. It’s easy to stay the course when you feel good about what you’re accomplishing. Willpower is also a muscle that can be developed; the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.” ( :85)

“That’s why the more choices we need to make during the day, the harder each one is on our brain—and the more we start to look for shortcuts. (If you like, call this the “Oh, screw it” syndrome.) Then we get impulsive. Then we get reckless. Then we make decisions we know we shouldn’t make . . . but it’s like we just can’t seem to help ourselves.” ( :85)

“Make it hard to check— then you’re more likely not to.” ( :85)

“Or require two sign-offs for all purchases over a certain amount; then you will have to run those decisions by someone” ( :85)

“else (which probably means you’ll think twice about making the purchase and won’t even bother to ask).” ( :86)

“Choices are the enemy of willpower.” ( :86)

“Pick easy decisions that will drain your store of willpower tomorrow, and make them tonight. For example, choose what you’ll wear. Leo Widrich, the cofounder of Buffer, found a way to make this decision incredibly easy: He wears jeans and a white T-shirt every day. Or decide what you’ll have for breakfast. Scott Dorsey, the aforementioned cofounder of ExactTarget, eats oatmeal with blueberries for breakfast every day.” ( :86)

“Should the judges’ decisions have been affected by factors other than legal ones? Of course not—but they were. Why? They got mentally tired. They experienced decision fatigue.” ( :86)

“It turns out glucose is one of the foundations of willpower. Although your brain does not stop working when glucose is low, it does start doing some things and stop doing others: It responds more strongly to immediate rewards and pays less attention to longterm outcomes.” ( :87)

“Every time you have to decide not to do something you would like to do—even though what you would like to do runs counter to your goals—simply rework your environment so you eliminate your ability to be impulsive. Then you don’t have to exercise any willpower at all.” ( :87)

“By now you know I’m big on processes, but I’m also big on mind-set. The thought really is the parent of the deed.” ( :88)

“Consistently doing what you need to do to succeed, with total focus and resolve, is incredibly difficult. That’s why the ability to work hard and respond positively to failure and adversity is so crucial. Resolve, willpower, and determination help successful people work hard and stick to their long-term goals. Want to develop those qualities? Embrace the following mind-set.” ( :88)

“There’s a quote often credited to Saint Ignatius of Loyola (and you have to love a fighting saint): “Pray as if God will take care of all; act as if all is up to you.”” ( :89)

“Learn to Ignore the Things You Have No Control Over Mental strength is like muscle strength—no one has an unlimited supply of focus. So why waste your power on things you can’t control? For some people it’s politics. For others it’s family. For others it’s global warming. Whatever it is, you care, and you want others to care. Fine. Do what you can do: Vote. Lend a listening ear. Recycle and reduce your carbon footprint. Do what you can do. Be your own change—but don’t try to make everyone else change. (They won’t.)” ( :89)

“”With special ops,” Tyler told me, “it’s not people who are the absolute best at any one thing but people who are really good at a number of things. That means you have to be adaptable, because no one is good at everything.” ( :89)

“Darwin said, ‘Only the strong survive.’ That’s not what he said. Darwin said the number one survivability trait is adaptability.” ( :89)

“Adaptability is the ability to recognize the construct and working mechanisms of a system, figure out how it works, adapt to it, and then adapt it to your needs and goals.”” ( :89)

“”Discomfort is growth,” Tyler says. “To constantly improve, and to be more resilient and adaptable, whenever there is a fork in the road, choose discomfort over comfort and you will grow. We’re used to choosing comfort. We’re used to choosing the easy way. Yet all our success and growth comes from choosing the hardest and least comfortable way. Say you’re an entrepreneur: You chose the discomfort of giving up a paycheck and starting a company. Every success comes from taking the harder path.” ( :90)

“Embrace that mind-set and you will never fail. You just won’t have succeeded—yet.” ( :90)

“As long as you just keep going and don’t quit, you haven’t really failed.” Embrace that mind-set and you will never fail. You just won’t have succeeded—yet.” ( :90)

“And do the same with your friends or colleagues. Don’t just serve as a shoulder they can cry on. Friends don’t let friends whine; friends help friends make their lives better too.” ( :90)


One Question Provides Nearly Every Answer


“That’s how Herb Kelleher, the CEO of Southwest Airlines, makes so many decisions every day. Kelleher applies a simple framework to every issue: “Will this help Southwest be the lowest-cost provider?” If so, the answer is yes. If not, the answer is no.” ( :92)

“apply the same framework to the decisions they make. “Will this help me reach my goal? If not, I won’t do it.”” ( :92)

“That’s why the most successful people seem so decisive. Indecision is born of a lack of purpose: When you know what you truly want, most of your decisions can—and should —be almost automatic.” ( :92)

“Would a person who wants to be a good parent ignore a child who is struggling in school because spending time on social media is more—however oddly—gratifying? No, because that’s not the way good parents act.” ( :93)

“What do you want to achieve? Whom do you want to become? Place yourself there. Say, “I am fit.” Say, “I am a CEO.” Say, “I am a millionaire.” Say, “I am a great parent.” You’ll get the answer you need—and you’ll stay on course to becoming the person you want to be.” ( :93)

“That means the key is limiting the number of goals you try to achieve at one time. Remember, you can be a serial achiever: You can achieve this goal, then that goal, then that goal. Focusing on one or two goals doesn’t mean you’re giving up on other goals; focusing on one or two goals means you’re much more likely to actually achieve those goals—and then, later, one or two of your other goals.” ( :93)

“”Will this keep me from following my process?” If it will, don’t do it. Process is everything. Routine is everything. Let nothing stand in its way.” ( :93)


Why Work Smarter When You Can Work Your Number?


“”That’s stupid,” the other said. I wasn’t fazed. I’m used to hearing that my intellect has been weighed, measured, and found wanting.” ( :94)

“Like the two cofounders, we often know, or could easily calculate, our “number.” We just don’t embrace it because thinking probabilistically doesn’t come naturally. (I’ve always wanted to use “probabilistically” in a sentence.)” ( :94)

“But when you think probabilistically, you begin to see success as the game it really is. Success is the result of rolling the dice a certain number of times. The more shots you take, the more chances you have of hitting the target. Working your number helps you predict how much failure you can expect on the road to success.” ( :94)

“Their success is based on skill, but it’s also based on numbers.” ( :94)

“Here’s the answer. Exactly 100,001 push-ups later (because hey, you can always do one more) and 50,000 sit-ups later (because that doesn’t mean you have to do one more), the answer is that it was surprisingly easy.” ( :95)

“Setting a daily number meant “all” I had to do was go day by day, one day at a time, and grind it out.” ( :95)

“And at one point I caught up in a big way: I did 5,000 push-ups in one day. (How did that go? I have two words for you: It sucked.)” ( :95)

“At first it took me about thirty minutes to do 300 pushups and 160 sit-ups. (I always rounded up to round numbers.) Within a month or so, I knocked four or five minutes off the total time. By the end of the year, a day’s session” ( :95)

“took less than fifteen minutes, and that was without pushing myself. I could do all the situps without stopping to take a break. I could do the first set of 80 push-ups with no problem, then continue with sets of 50.” ( :96)

“huck Yeager, the first person to break the sound barrier, sent me on the wrong path.” ( :96)

“But what I did realize is that successful people are successful because they approach learning in a consistent, systematic, results-focused way. Bravery isn’t a requirement for success. Innate talent isn’t a requirement for success. Talented, highly skilled people don’t take big risks . . . yet they still learn to accomplish big things.” ( :96)

“Daniel Coyle’s The Little Book of Talent is a cool book filled with easy and proven methods to learn to do almost anything.” ( :97)

“R: Reaching and Repeating E: Engagement P: Purposefulness S: Strong, Speedy Feedback Let’s take a brief look at each.” ( :97)

“I don’t have to reach more than maybe once. Always put yourself— or the people you’re training—in a position where you or they must reach, over and over again. Don’t just do what you already know how to do. Try to do what you can’t do—yet. That’s how you learn.” ( :97)

“try to hit each transition perfectly, without mistakes, for three presentations in a row?” ( :98)

“Although solo rehearsing is certainly beneficial, the only way to perform well under the pressure of standing in front of an audience is to actually speak in front of people. No amount of solo practice can prepare you for the nerves you’ll feel when every eye in the room is on you.” ( :98)

“Take the test in chunks. Check your results right away. Immediate feedback is the best feedback. You’ll better connect the dots because you’re in the flow. Waiting even a day for feedback creates a mental distance and a lack of engagement that is hard to overcome—which means that much of the time you spent trying to learn was wasted. Pretty cool, right?” ( :98)

“Almost every task includes a series of discrete steps. Pick one step, deconstruct it, master it . . . then put the whole task back together. Then choose another component to deconstruct. Incrementally improve enough steps and the overall improvement can be huge.” ( :99)

“USE A DIFFERENT METRIC. Pick a different measurement than you normally use to analyze your performance. Measure speed instead of accuracy, for example. Or use video or audio for feedback. (Watching or listening to yourself isn’t particularly fun—in fact, I hate it—but you’ll quickly recognize a number of ways you can improve.)” ( :99)

“”I was under the impression that talent would lead to opportunity, but really, networking led to opportunity. Networking came first—then I had to show that I could do it. I’ve always told my wife that for the longest time it was who I knew and not what I knew.” ( :100)

“”The first thing I did was buy business cards with my name and ‘Professional Race Car Driver’ at the bottom.” He laughed. “I found out where some of the team guys would eat lunch and every day I would show up at eleven o’clock. When people came in, I would introduce myself, shake their hands, and give them a business card. I asked if I could come to their shops, look around, learn about cars. . . . It wasn’t about selling, it was about learning: I’m a driver and I want to learn. “I went to every auto show. I went to every sponsor event I could find. I passed out my card, and every business card I received I sent a letter to that person saying how nice it was to meet them, I put them on my fax list . . . I had this whole system set up to try to keep my name in front of people. And eventually it paid off.”” ( :100)

“he writes down his reaction to everything he learns, caring more about what he can do with the knowledge he’s gained. Sometimes the right number to work will be “as many as I can.”” ( :100)

“Like my neighbor. He talked for at least six months about starting a business. Whenever I saw him, that was all he talked about. Eventually I got tired of it. “What the heck are you waiting for?” I finally asked.” ( :101)

“I bet him lunch that we could take care of all that in less than three hours. (I won.) And that means you can definitely commit to knocking off one or more of the following every day.” ( :101)

“For example, the Jack Welch Management Institute online MBA program has been named the most influential education brand on LinkedIn and was named a 2016 “business school to watch” by Poets & Quants.” ( :104)

“”Success is based on people first and strategy second. Build a great team and you will accomplish things beyond your wildest dreams. You grow from the reflected glory of your people.” ( :104)

“”I have never seen a great leader that didn’t have the generosity gene. Take care of your people, let them know where they stand, cheer them, never take credit for what they do, and they’ll go to the moon for you.”” ( :104)

“And it definitely applies to your kids; tell them what you would like them to do, but give them the freedom to figure out how to do it.” ( :105)

“Criticize an employee for offering a discount to an irate customer today, even though yesterday that was standard practice, and you make that employee’s job impossible. Few things are more stressful than not knowing what is expected from one day to the next.” ( :105)

“Employees work for a paycheck (otherwise they would do volunteer work), but they want more than a paycheck: They want to work with and for people they respect and admire— and who respect and admire them.” ( :106)

“Most people don’t mind a boss who is strict, demanding, and quick to offer (not-alwayspositive) feedback . . . as long as he or she also treats every employee fairly. (The best bosses treat each employee differently while treating every employee fairly. There’s a big difference between sameness and fairness.)” ( :106)

“Most people don’t mind a boss who is strict, demanding, and quick to offer (not-alwayspositive) feedback . . . as long as he or she also treats every employee fairly. (The best bosses treat each employee differently while treating every employee fairly. There’s a big difference between sameness and fairness.) Consistency and fairness are based on communication. The more employees understand why a decision was made, the less likely they are to assume unfair treatment or favoritism.” ( :106)

“Then, off in the distance, I saw a fit, pretty, twentysomething woman headed my way. No dog. No third-person-ish thing to compliment. Uh-oh.” ( :109)

“Then, off in the distance, I saw a fit, pretty, twentysomething woman headed my way. No dog. No third-person-ish thing to compliment. Uh-oh. I didn’t want to be that guy, that older guy who goes around randomly complimenting young women and comes off creepy and, well, icky. I started to walk more slowly. I thought furiously. But I had nothing. Crap. Then, from about twenty feet away, she made eye contact and smiled. Not a half smile, not an automatic “good morning” smile, but a big, genuine smile. I smiled back and said, “Thanks.” “For what?” she said. “Lots of times when I’m walking people don’t even make eye contact. I always think that’s kind of rude. You saying hi to me was really nice.” She smiled even bigger and said, “How could I not be happy when I’m out here? Have a great day.”” ( :109)

“And I felt pretty good about myself too . . . at least until later, when I came upon a woman and her child and led with “Your daughter is really cute,” only to be told, “Thank you, but he’s a boy.” Oh well.” ( :109)

“And let’s just say that “Wow, you picked the perfect melon” isn’t the right way to go.” ( :109)

“And let’s just say that “Wow, you picked the perfect melon” isn’t the right way to go.” ( :109)

“And neither is “You look like you’re on a mission. You seem extremely well organized.”” ( :110)

“And neither is “You look like you’re on a mission. You seem extremely well organized.” And “I wish I was as good at choosing the right steaks as you are” falls pretty flat. And let’s just say I wanted to give up. In some settings, it seemed, compliments are not just unexpected but also unwanted.” ( :110)

“She didn’t smile or nod (gulp!) but I forged ahead. “I’m terrible at picking the right piece of salmon,” I said. “Can I bother you for a second and ask you to help me?” And she did. In fact, she appeared to enjoy it.” ( :110)

“Still. One guy was benching 325 pounds, for reps. Easy compliment. A woman was doing a split and then laying her torso all the way forward onto the mat. Another easy compliment. A guy jumped in and helped an apparent newcomer with his form on squats; presumptuous, yes, but also kind, because the way the guy was bending his back was a recipe for injury. When I ran into the Good Samaritan a few minutes later, it was easy for me to say, “That was really nice of you to help him out.”” ( :110)

“He smiled, said thanks, and then spent the next five minutes talking all about it: where he got it, how he came up with the design, what it meant to him . . . I realized that sometimes the easiest thing to compliment is the thing that people seem to want you to notice, or are obviously proud of: a tattoo, a piercing, an unusual hair color, a Porsche, a Hayabusa, a tricked-out truck . . .” ( :110)

“represents who they are inside.” ( :110)

“All you need to do is look for it.” ( :111)

“Complimenting “random” people is harder but surprisingly rewarding. It was fun to watch people’s faces light up.” ( :111)

“Research shows that more people leave a job due to a lack of recognition than for any other reason.” ( :111)

“Then you can use that gratification and fulfillment to motivate you to try the next strategy, because while it works, it is definitely not easy. Why? Because you’ll need to do what the pros do.” ( :111)


You Don’t Need a Coach; You Need a Pro


“Do what the pros do: Find a person who challenges you. Find a person who lays out a process so seemingly daunting, so seemingly insurmountable, a course wherein the there seems insurmountable but so does the here . . . and who helps you achieve something you never dreamed you could.” ( :112)

“THAT SINKING FEELING MEANS YOU’RE ON THE RIGHT TRACK You know the sensation. The sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when an idea initially sounded great but now the cold, stark, horrifying reality has set in. I do. Big time. I wanted to tackle a huge goal. I wanted to find a person to help me achieve something that felt impossible, at least for me. So I called Jeremiah.” ( :112)

“But he did: Ride his inaugural Alpine Loop Gran Fondo.” ( :113)

“At first, the idea didn’t seem too bad; 107 miles sounded long but, at least in theory, manageable. Serious cycling enthusiasts routinely complete “century rides” of 100 miles or more.” ( :113)

“As Jeremiah told me, “Think of it like completing a marathon, as long as that marathon also involves running up and over a mountain.”” ( :113)

“1. Having a pro also means your pro is a (freaking) pro. 2. When you think your pro is speaking to you, he may actually be narrating the video he’s recording of your near-death state.” ( :113)

“3. Your pro can get you to where you want to go because he won’t coddle you or tell you what you want to hear; he’ll tell you what you need to hear and need to do.” ( :114)

“That’s because your pro will often simply lay out what other highly successful people did to achieve that level of success—people you will never meet. For example, Stephen King writes two thousand words a day and, as he says in his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, “only under dire circumstances” will he allow himself to shut down before he gets his two thousand words. (Yep, the Kingster works his number.) If you want to be a writer, you could do a lot worse than simply doing what that pro does.” ( :114)

“The blueprint is there. If you’re into fitness, workout plans abound. If you’re into business, biographies abound. If you want to learn a particular skill, the blueprints are there. Just be willing to follow them. Don’t think you can somehow “hack” your way to the same level of success. You aren’t that smart. I’m not that smart. Maybe Tim Ferriss is that smart, but there’s only one Tim Ferriss. Ask him. He’ll tell you. (Just playing, Tim.) So no, you don’t need to know the pro you emulate.” ( :114)

“We tend to admire certain people because we see something of ourselves in them. We like to think that what they do and how they do it indicates what we would do if given the chance.” ( :114)

“You can even take a counterintuitive approach and think well outside the hero box. Think of someone who is extremely successful but whom you would normally never dream of emulating. If you’re shy and reserved, pick a relentless self-promoter. If you love shooting from the hip, pick someone known for thorough analysis. If you always seek to build consensus through compromise, pick someone who often takes a bold stand.” ( :115)

“specific skill, quality, or attribute, and do something the way that person would do it. It won’t be comfortable. It won’t feel natural. But it will stretch you and take you to places you otherwise never would have gone.” ( :115)


“From his perspective, anyone who states a goal must naturally be willing to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal.” ( :115)

“Coaches think about making the process fun and uplifting. Pros show you how to succeed—and expect you to take full” ( :115)

“responsibility for your own success.” ( :116)

“Take a different approach. Ask someone who has been there and done that—a real pro —what they would do in your shoes. And then do what they tell you to do, because unlike most people, however wellmeaning they may be, a pro knows.” ( :116)

“”I can’t believe I did that” is incredibly powerful. You start to crave that feeling. You start to crave the suffering (whether physical or mental) because you crave that feeling of accomplishment when you finish the day’s routine. You look forward to the “pain” because it is followed by the joy of success. And in time, while you may never be as accomplished as the pro you emulate, you will be a member of the club. You will become a cyclist . . . or a runner . . . or a leader . . . or an entrepreneur . . . or a philanthropist . . . or whatever it is you set out to be. And that feels amazing too, because when you’ve become something, you need almost no motivation at all in order to keep being what you have become. It’s no longer what you do. It’s what you are.” ( :116)

“I said, “I’ve never seen pull-ups done that way. Where are you feeling them?”” ( :117)

“”Hey,” he said, “I’ve noticed you often change the width of your grip when you do dips. Why is that?” In that moment several things flashed through my mind. One, I was surprised he’d even noticed how I did dips. Two, I was shocked he was asking me for advice. And three, in an environment where I had always felt a little uncomfortable and a lot insecure, I was evidently starting to fit in.” ( :117)

“That guy” immediately walks over and tells you what you’re doing wrong. Or what you could be doing better. Or could be doing differently. Or, most likely, what you should be doing his way. That kind of help is more about “that guy” than about you—much less about what you may actually need.” ( :118)

“Stopping is nearly always a choice. We don’t have to stop; we choose to stop. The same is true for skill. Once you reach a certain level of expertise, your rate of improvement typically slows . . . and it’s natural to assume you’re near your limit.” ( :119)

“What changed? My skill wasn’t the problem. My self-imposed limit was the problem. I didn’t think it was possible to go flat out . . . so it wasn’t. Once I knew it was possible, it was possible.” ( :120)

“After qualifying—and using a few other tips Ross gave me about a few other turns—I was fourth fastest behind Alon, Ross, and Ty. With a little more practice, their lap times had improved by about half a second more than the practice session. My lap times had improved by more than three seconds.” ( :120)

“And that mental shift made me faster: My fastest lap was almost a second quicker than my best qualifying lap because I forgot my self-imposed limits and instead focused on trying to achieve what was actually possible. And you can do the same.” ( :120)

“Stop comparing yourself with yourself. Stop comparing yourself with the people around you. Go see a superstar in action. Whether it’s a speaker, a musician, a performer, an athlete, or an entrepreneur, find a way to expose yourself to exceptional skill, exceptional expertise, and exceptional talent.” ( :121)

“Decide what is important to you and then structure your life—and your process—to ensure you accomplish the things that really matter.” ( :122)

“”Richard Briers came to our drama school and we asked him a similar question. ‘How do you hang in there? How do you get through the hard times?’ “He said, ‘If you really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really want to act, don’t. But if you have to act, then do it.'” ( :122)

“Feeling successful is internal, not external.” ( :122)

“”There’s that Steve Jobs quote that says the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do . . . and it does require a little bit of ‘crazy’ to say the light is green when the world is telling you the light is red. The world tells lots of people the light is red. You have to trust yourself and say, ‘I think the light is green, and” ( :122)

“I’m going to keep doing this.’ As long as you keep going, you’ll keep getting better. And as you get better, you gain more confidence. That alone to me is success.”” ( :123)


Do More by Doing Less


“We all dream of being great . . . but we can’t all be great at everything. But we can be the best we can be at the things we choose to do. That’s how every successful person starts out. They don’t know they’ll be superstars. They don’t know they’ll be world-class. They just know they want to be as good as they can be.” ( :124)

“That’s why, once again, subtraction can be the best addition, especially when you streamline your day and, in the process, your life. And the easiest way to do that is to start saying no.” ( :125)

“”Will Doing This Benefit Me in Some Way?”” ( :126)

“Say you’re asked to speak at an event. That may be a cool opportunity, but what if the only benefit to you involves your ego? If you have nothing better to do, go for it . . . but shouldn’t you use that time to do more of what you do best?” ( :126)

“”Is This More Important Than What I’m Currently Doing?”” ( :126)

“You already have nonnegotiable goals: meeting your basic financial needs, meeting your basic health needs, taking care of your family . . . If the “opportunity” negatively impacts those things, boom: automatic “no.”” ( :126)

“Eliminate One “Permission” You probably don’t think of it this way, but everything you do “trains” the people around you to treat you a certain way. Let employees interrupt your meetings or phone calls because of “emergencies,” and they’ll feel free to interrupt you whenever they want. Drop what you’re doing every time a friend calls, and that person will always expect immediate attention. Return e-mails immediately, and people will learn to expect an immediate response. In short, your actions give other people permission to keep you from functioning the way you function best.” ( :127)

“Fire One Customer You know the one: The high maintenance, low revenue, non-existent profits one. Start charging more or providing less. If that’s not possible, fire that customer. That’s also true for your “friends,” by the way. Some people are all take and no give. Some people suck time and energy that you can’t afford to lose. As Jim Rohn says, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. There’s nothing wrong with firing a few “friends,” especially if they aren’t really friends.” ( :128)

“Prune Your To-Do List Earlier we discussed how a twentyor thirty-item to-do list is just a wish list. A twentyor thirty-item to-do list is not just depressing, it’s impossible. Why start when there’s no way you can finish? You don’t—and you don’t. Try this instead. Create an actual wish list. Write down all the ideas, projects, tasks, etc. you can think of. Make it a “would like to do” list. Then choose the three or four items from that list that will make the biggest difference. Pick the easiest tasks to accomplish, or the ones with the biggest payoff, or the ones that will eliminate the most pain. Make that your to-do list. Get it done. Then you can go back and choose three or four more items from your wish list.” ( :128)

“Often the biggest savings when you cut an expense don’t involve the actual cost; the biggest savings lie in the time involved in doing or maintaining or consuming whatever the expense represents. Pick one expense you can eliminate that will also free up time and effort. And you’ll get to do more of what you do best.” ( :129)

“Drop One Personal Commitment” ( :129)

“Think about one thing you do out of habit, or because you think you’re supposed to, or simply because you don’t know how to get out of it—and then find a way to get out of it. The momentary pain—or in some cases confrontation—of stepping down, dropping out, or letting go will be soon be replaced by a huge sense of relief. Then use that time to do something with real meaning.” ( :129)

“Almost every decision you currently make can be taken over by people you trust. How will you learn to trust them? Teach, train, guide, verify.” ( :130)

“In 2009 Sir Dave Brailsford, a former director of British Cycling, was seeking funding for the program. He told the British government he could build its first-ever Tour de France winner in four years by using a strategy he termed “aggregate marginal gains.” His plan was to break down each individual component that goes into making a world-class cyclist and cycling team, and improve each of those elements by 1 percent.” ( :130)

“Three years later Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky won the Tour de France and an Olympic gold medal. And for three of the next four years, Chris Froome of Team Sky won the Tour de France.” ( :130)

“You implicitly show that you respect the person giving the advice, that you respect their experience, skill, and insight. And you show that you trust the person, because by asking for help you make yourself vulnerable. Asking for help shows other people that you respect and trust them.” ( :131)

“It’s not necessary to know in order to care.” ( :132)

“Sometimes it’s harder to show sincere disappointment—with others, sure, but also with yourself.” ( :132)

“Yes, I did. But it bears repeating, your relationship is one of the biggest drivers of happiness (or lack thereof). For all you results-oriented individuals—your relationship is also often one of the biggest drivers of professional success: People with relatively prudent and reliable partners tend to perform better at work, earn more promotions, make more money, and feel more satisfied with their jobs. So there.” ( :133)

“When my staff, customers, partners, investors, media, and others get my thank-you cards,” he says, “they love them, and it cements my relationships with them. But the main reason I hand-write three thank-you cards every day is that it allows me to focus on others and transforms my mood from bad to good, from good to great, or from great to ecstatic. You can’t be upset and grateful at the same time, and this practice puts me in a great mood—to have a great day—every single day.”” ( :133)

“Then consider that person a pro and do what they do. Forget the whole “I am unique” thing. Forget the whole “But I need to express myself as an individual” thing. You can still do that . . . but do it in ways that count. If you can improve one small thing, and another small thing, and another small thing, soon your success will be all the individuality you need—because you won’t be like anyone else. You’ll be you—the you that you really want to be. Which leads us to a really interesting place.” ( :135)


The Bottom Line


“CHAPTER 9 The Bottom Line T he bottom line is what The Motivation Myth is all about: getting past the fluff and puff and fire walks and achieving the goals you want to achieve. Like most bottom lines, this one is clean and simple. Don’t tell me your goals. Don’t tell me your dreams. Tell me your plan.” ( :136)

“Everyone starts at the bottom. Everyone starts out insecure and hesitant and uncertain. The only difference between incredibly successful people and the rest of us? They found a way to put aside their uncertainties . . . and try.” ( :136)

“Symbols of success are often a mask. The playing field is always more level than it seems.” ( :136)

“Here’s a guy who today competes at nearly the highest level of his sport . . . yet when he first drove on a big track, he had to hold his leg down to keep himself from lifting his foot off the gas pedal. That sounds like something I would do, but a big-time racer? Yep. Big-time racers have done it too.” ( :136)

“Your dreams are important, but your plan is what will allow you to achieve your goals and live out your dreams. Don’t wait for motivation. Get started. Work your plan. When you do, you’ll find all the motivation you need.” ( :137)

“The way to avoid this phenomenon and harness the support or peer pressure of friends is to talk about the routine you plan to follow, not your goal. Say, “I plan to run three miles on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.” That works.” ( :152)

Check out more book notes at How I Read 90 Books In The Past 2 Years By Reading 20 Pages A Day

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