Book Summary / What I Got Out Of It
A lot of the content was familiar to me, but each author has their own voice and each new voice helps broaden my understanding, strengthen the hold of the concepts in my mind, and makes the memories and actions more accessible when I need them.
In a nutshell:
- If you can focus on just this moment and not obsess over how you’re not where you want to be right now then you will live a much happier life.
- Focusing a lot on “where you want to be” robs you of energy and also keeps you from doing the right things in the moment (which will eventually lead you to your goal).
- Oh, you’re not really going to enjoy that goal as much as you think anyway. So make sure you are enjoying the process.
- Being in this moment gives you better clarity about each next step you need to take.
- Observing what you are doing helps you see more frequently what corrections need to be made in the process.
- Being in the moment (paying attention to the process) somewhat paradoxically gets you to your goal faster and more enjoyably than focusing and constantly measuring the distance between you and your goal.
Here’s some key points I learned, re-learned, or appreciated the reminder. Some are in my words and some the author’s.
Process, Not Product
If you keep looking at the final goal all the time, you’re not looking at what you should be doing to get there and as a result you’re not really moving forward.
When you focus on process then you are just thinking one step at a time. But when you focus on the “Product” (goal) then you are constantly judging where you are. A focus on process is objective. A focus on goal is judgey.
It’s How You Look At It
When you start something new you are typically really focused on it (at least for a while). This is often referred to as “The Beginner’s Mind”. The trouble comes once we start looking too much at the goal. Sure, stick your head up once in a while and make sure you’re on track, but never to say “am I there yet?”.
“And Then?” is a great question to ask when you are discussing goals. Ok, so you are impatient to hit your goal. So imagine that you hit your goal. Great. “And then?” is a question that helps me remember that the joy of hitting a goal is fleeting. The real joys are being in the process of growth and looking back on the process and feeling good about your ability to do the important work you need to do.
If your purpose of reading the book is to get better habits, I think there’s better books on habits out there. But he did introduce to me the habit-related idea of a “pre-shot”. This is a golf term for doing some stuff you’re good at before you approach the time to practice a habit. The idea is to get your confidence and mood up so that you can start in the right spirit and expectations when you do your work.
Perception Changes Patience
“I’ll be happy when X happens” is a wrongheaded fantasy. All the stuff you’ve bought to feel good fades fast and you want something else. Instead, “Real joy is experiencing growth”
Impatience is a signal that you are not present. You can’t be impatient if the present moment is the goal.
There is no perfect. (I like to say, “don’t get hung up on perfec”.)
The Four “S” Words
I’ll sum this up in my own words:
Break a big odious task down into chunks. Make sure for each chunk: you can clearly see the path to done. That it seems absolutely doable. (I’ve heard this called seeing “The Yellow Brick Road”).
Make sure that it can be done in relatively short time. One sitting of 45-60 minutes, typically.
Do it slowly. He tells a story of how one busy overscheduled day he decided to do everything really really slowly. All movements and actions, very slowly. He doesn’t check his watch the whole time and at the end of the day he finds out he got more done than he ever got done.
Many of the personal development and business books speak of continuous development. His Do-Observe-Correct is another version of that. You can go out to the court and shoot 200 random shots around the court but you won’t get any better unless you examine what you did on each shot and correct as needed. Most people think that repetition is the keep to getting better. It’s only the key to getting the same results.
Watch out for the judgment of the ego. Be objective about the OC part of the process
Meta Review Stats
- Scope: Narrow: Being in the moment.
- Audience /Recommended For: Leans more to the beginner end of the self improvement spectrum but I enjoyed it as reminder of concepts told in a short book with limited fluff.
- Experience: Experienced Coach
- Writing Style: Informal, personal anecdotes
- Writing Competency: Good
- Rehash: Some, but I thought it was warranted. He also admitted to it which I appreciated.
- Upselling: None
- Keeps telling you how great the book is: None
- Anecdotes: Yes. Sometimes more than I needed, but most are short.