“The best way to predict the future is to create it,” Peter Drucker said. And that’s at the heart of Maximize Your Potential. It’s the second (after Manage Your Day-to-Day) of a three-part series being developed by 99u.
This compact book comes from the folks who don’t want to help us get more ideas (we’ve got plenty), but do help us make our best ideas become reality. The volume focuses on creating opportunities, building expertise, cultivating relationships and taking risks. As in the first volume, if you’ve read any personal growth books at all, you’ll get compelling and condensed reminders of things you should already know. If you haven’t read the other books, start here. The writers also help us understand growth in new ways.
For example, I’ve recommended a great book called The Power of Habit. But if you don’t have time, a few of the chapters in this book cover the same territory. Here’s Tony Schwartz writing on Developing Mastery through Deliberate Practice. Schwartz says that ritual “is a highly precise behavior you do at a specific time so that it becomes automatic over time and no longer requires much conscious intention or energy.”
Will and discipline, it turns out, are highly overrated. We each have one reservoir we draw on, and it gets progressively depleted each time we use it to get something done…. A ritualized approach to practice helps conserve our precious and finite reserves of energy.
…It was only after I began studying the science of high performance that I started building a new sort of practice ritual. I still sit down at my desk first thing in the morning when I’m working on books, but now I write for exactly ninety minutes at a time—not eighty-five and not ninety-five. Then I take a break. I may get something to eat, close my eyes and spend ten minutes breathing reply, or take a run, each activity in order to refuel and recover.
When I’m finished renewing, I come back and work the same way for another ninety minutes…
The heart of achieving mastery, I’ve come to believe, is expanding the amplitude of the waves you make in your life. When you’re working, give it everything you’ve got, for relatively show periods of time. When you’re recovering, let go and truly refuel.