I told you that I have an addiction to these books! Maximize Your Potential is another volume in the 99U series about tailoring your life and career to your own aspirations. This one didn’t feel as relevant to me as Manage Your Day to Day, but I still did a ton of highlighting and pulled out a few new techniques to try.
Maximize Your Potential consisted of a series of essays by people well known in the self-help and productivity fields. Its main messages were around radical changes in your life and taking risks (like starting your own company). While I have no desire to do that, it was interesting to note that the essays all seemed to agree that it didn’t matter what a person was doing as their job, what mattered most was the lifestyle it allowed the person to have.
“..if everything was easy, nothing would have significance, and you wouldn’t need to adopt new metaphors or read new books about how to do the work you should be doing.”
That quote sums up what I found inspiring in this book. Doing something “unusual” is supposed to be a challenge – otherwise everyone would be reading 100 books a year or writing a blog post everyday. (neither of those are my goals this year by the way, I’m just throwing them out there.) Sometimes I get bogged down and negative when I don’t meet my mini goals throughout the week or month, but then I have to remind myself that what I’m doing is hard and is meant to be a challenge. If I’m not consistently meeting goals, that means that I’m pushing myself in a meaningful way. If I was never meeting my goals, then I would need to try to be more realistic. But I think I’m right where I should be, because I’m meeting them more often than not.
Another section that I liked in this book was on habit tracking. Both this and Manage Your Day to Day mentioned the importance of creating new habits and finding ways to track them. I’ve been playing with different tracking mechanisms for a couple of months and have yet to found the most effective (especially with writing), but I’m getting there. It was also a good reminder that every choice you make is a part of your bigger picture. If you choose to take an evening off from writing, that’s okay. Two days in a row? Three? Four? You’ve lost almost a week of some prime writing time. Protect your time. Focus on what’s important. At the end of the week, will it be important that you watched that Big Bang Theory rerun? Or will it be amazing to say that you met your writing goals for the week and now you’re going to celebrate by watching that same episode?
Anyway, I love these books. I love how they make me think about my daily decisions and about how I’m spending my time. There’s a third book in the series that I hope to read soon!