This Book is For:

*Everyone who knows that they're currently living well below their full potential, and who wants to discover proven principles that they can employ immediately to upgrade the level of achievement and success they're experiencing in life.

*Business owners and entrepreneurs who want to double or even triple their income by learning essential career strategies from one of the legends of personal development, and someone who's reached the level of income and impact that they want to reach.

*Young people who are just getting started in their lives and careers, and who want to avoid the insidious, dangerous dead ends that trap so many people all over the world in lives of quiet desperation, dissatisfaction, and fear.

*Anyone who is struggling with implementing positive habits in their lives, especially when it comes to their careers, and who wants to learn a multitude of essential principles that, when applied, will take them where they want to go in life, faster than they ever thought possible.


“You are where you are and what you are because of yourself. Everything you are today – or ever will be in the future – is up to you. Your life today is the sum total of your choices, decisions, and actions up to this point.

You can create your own future by changing your behaviors. You can make new choices and decisions that are more consistent with the person you want to be and the things you want to accomplish with your life.”

-Brian Tracy

Habits can actually be exciting if you start thinking about them in the right way. Most people, and most books, make habits boring, but they certainly don't have to be.

Instead of thinking about all the routine, the deprivation, the mundane repetition of basic actions, think about the freedom and the success that will come into your life as a result of embracing the habits of the world's most successful people. That's what Brian Tracy's book will help you do.

All these simple, seemingly inconsequential things you're going to be doing day to day may seem like they're not having much of an effect, but then the power of compounding takes over, and you start to reap the inevitable results of your great habits, until eventually you're going to wish you started ten years ago.

Don't think about the act of sitting in place for hours on end over the course of several months; think instead of the calm, clarity, and focus that your meditation habit will bring into your life.

Don't think about the deprivation of saving 10% of your income and how you won't be able to afford to buy that 5th drink at the bar on Saturday; think instead about all the money that your money will make in the future, and how, instead of needing that drink now to be happy, your happiness will come from both living in the moment and looking forward to a richer future.

I'm sure you could come up with numerous additional examples yourself, but the main thrust of Tracy's argument here is that there is a direct link between the habits you choose to adopt and the results that you achieve in every single area of your life.

Even more importantly, you have direct control over the habits that you choose to adopt, and you have direct control - or at least a ton of influence - over the future course of your life.

Your past doesn't have to define your present or your future. You can make different choices today, and those choices will directly influence every single one of your tomorrows.

Successful people have ‘success habits’, and unsuccessful people do not. That's the reality. Yes, we absolutely start off in different places in life, but we can make one hell of a lot of progress, starting from the very day when we decide to consciously direct the course of our own lives by taking full and complete responsibility for the habits we perform on a daily basis.

All habits are learned as the result of practice and repetition, and you can learn any habit that you believe is either necessary or desirable. As Brian Tracy says, just as your good habits are responsible for most of your success and happiness today, your bad habits are responsible for most of your problems and frustrations. The key is to realize that you have learned your bad habits, and that they can be unlearned as well.

As we'll discuss in the Key Ideas section below, a major lever you can pull when it comes to learning good habits and unlearning bad habits is your self-image.

We each have a certain self-image or self-concept that shapes our behavior, and subconsciously tells us what kind of results we "deserve" to experience in our lives. This is malleable, changeable. We can adjust how we feel about ourselves, and raise our standards in every area of life to experience greater results in those areas.

This is a massive key to adopting great habits and achieving success in general.

These habits are easy to do, but they're also easy not to do. That's why we have to be intentional about building great habits and removing negative ones. It's rarely going to happen by accident. Taking responsibility is like placing both hands on the steering wheel of your own life, and that's where successful habit formation begins.

Yes, the details matter too, like doing higher-quality work than that for which you are paid, exercising both your mind and body every day, writing out clear goals and then executing on them, working the whole time you're at work, spending less than you make and then investing the difference...but what it all comes down to is your commitment to performing the success habits that your Future Self will thank you for.

Key Ideas:

#1: Infinite Potential

“You came into this world with more talents and abilities than you could ever use. You could not exhaust your full potential if you lived 100 lifetimes.

Your amazing brain has 100 billion cells, each of which is connected to as many as 20,000 other neurons. The possible combinations and permutations of ideas, thoughts, and insights you can generate are equivalent to the number one followed by eight pages of zeroes. According to brain expert Tony Buzan, the number of thoughts you can think is greater than all the molecules in the known universe.

This means that whatever you have accomplished in your life to this date is only a small fraction of what you are truly capable of achieving.”

One of the biggest threats to the actualization of your potential is your tendency to think way too small. Many high achievers ironically struggle with the same thing, thinking that what they've already achieved in life is all they can do. They think that this is the highest they can go, when in reality, that's just not true.

Of course, there's the opposite danger of thinking too big and trying to take on way too much, but I would argue that the greater threat to your potential is the tendency to think small - to play scared.

If we try and take on too much and fail, we can always recalibrate, learn more, and make another effort tomorrow. But if we think too small, we may never even get started in the first place, and we'll die with our potential still inside us.

The problem with a lot of self-help books is that they place a huge emphasis on mindset, and they lead people to believe that massive success is possible just by thinking about it and desiring success. No, you actually have to work. You have to make an effort. You have to get better. You have to improve over time. But the basic idea here is inarguable: you have to realize that you're capable of so much more, before it will ever become real in the external world.

The actualization of your infinite potential (or partial actualization, since we'll likely never reach our true limits) is never accidental. No one steps into their own greatness unintentionally, and it's not just going to "happen" because we read a book about mindset, or you read a breakdown that told you that you possess infinite potential.

Right now, that potential is latent within you - it's quite literally potential achievement and success - and your job is to make it real. To actualize it.

Everyone you admire went through the same thing, and the myth of innate talent is just that: a myth. Sure, some people start out with certain aptitudes and things they're more suited for, but mastery is never an accident.

We look at people like Mozart and think that we could never become that talented ourselves, but you have to realize that his father was a professional musician as well, and that he put the young Mozart through literally thousands and thousands of hours of musical instruction before he was even a teenager. It was no accident, and it was no gift.

When you think of your potential, you have to realize that your absolutely unique combination of 100 billion brain cells has never existed before in the entire history of the universe, and will never be possessed by anyone else who will ever live. Your thoughts, your experiences, your feelings and impulses have literally never been expressed before in all of infinite time.

The potential thoughts you can think are greater than the number of molecules in the known universe(!), and that means that there is a singular contribution to the history of humanity that only you can make. There is something that you can do, that the worlds needs, and that no one could possibly do like you can. And you don't do it, if you don't take intentional steps to actualize your potential in this way, the whole world will be deprived.

So get started. Refuse to believe that this is it for you, and realize that we need you to fully come into your own. There are no extra people on this planet, and the rest of us need you.

#2: The Single Greatest Obstacle to Improved Performance

“Whatever your self-concept, your habit of thinking about money, or any other area of performance, very soon becomes your ‘comfort zone.’ Your comfort zone then becomes your greatest single obstacle to improved performance.

Once you get into a comfort zone in any area, you will struggle unconsciously to remain in that comfort zone, even though it may be vastly below what you are truly capable of achieving in that area.”

In life, we rise or fall to the level of our standards and our expectations. Our self-concept directly influences what kind of success that we believe is possible for us, and so our main duty when it comes to actualizing our potential is to raise our self-concept.

There's an excellent book called Psycho-Cybernetics which talks about this idea of the self-concept, or self-image, in considerable depth. It's definitely worth reading in its entirety, but the important point to take away is that if we are comfortable with earning a certain amount of money, or dating a certain type of person, or living a certain type of life, that's exactly what we'll go on doing, unless we make a significant effort to raise our standards.

Your comfort zone is so insidious, because, by definition, you feel at home there, even if it's far below what you're capable of experiencing. We don't feel ourselves stagnating while we're stuck within our comfort zone, but that's exactly what we're doing.

It's like that apocryphal story of the frog in the pot of lukewarm water. As the water starts to boil and get hotter and hotter, the frog doesn't even notice because it's so accustomed to staying there. The pot of boiling water - the comfort zone - is killing it, but they don't realize it until it's too late.

A better approach to life is to aggressively expand our comfort zone and resolve to go through life world-class, as Robin Sharma says in the book, The 5AM Club. Human beings can get used to virtually anything, even if it doesn't serve their best interests, and so we need to be constantly on guard against sliding expectations and reduced standards.

The resolution to live life at a world-class level inspires us to raise our standards and elevate the amount of effort we put forth into building the life we want to live. It all starts with our mind, and our decision to become greater than we are, but it doesn't end there.

It doesn't end at all, actually, but instead is a circling, upward process of continual and never-ending self-improvement across time. It's a process, not an end state, and it's the process itself that makes life worth living. Stagnation, in any form, is anti-life, and you don't deserve to experience a life of stagnation and mediocre comfort. No one does.

It might sound difficult and complicated, but Brian Tracy gives you a simpler way of looking at it:

“If you are accustomed to earning $100,000 per year and you lose your job or move across the country and start over, within a few months, you will be earning $100,000 per year.

Once your self-concept income level is permanently programmed into your mental hard drive, your subconscious and super-conscious mind will always find a way to achieve that level of income, no matter what happens around you.

The key to achieving your full potential, increasing your income to vastly higher levels than it is today, and enjoying the very best that is possible for you in every area of life is for you to raise your self-concept in that area.

You must develop new habits of thinking about what is possible for you. The way you accomplish vastly more on the outside is by changing your thoughts and feelings about your potential in that area on the inside.”

#3: Confident Expectation

“If you confidently expect something to happen, this expectation has a powerful effect on your attitude and your personality.

The more confident your expectations, the more likely it is that you will do and say the things that are consistent with what you expect to happen. As a result, you will dramatically increase the probabilities that you will achieve exactly what you are hoping for.”

I'll preface this by saying, as I've said many times, that mindset isn't enough. The scammers and charlatans of the world will keep trying to tell you that "positive thinking" is the ultimate key to success, but what they don't tell you is that there's more to the story.

Confident expectation - believing that good things are coming to you and that your future will be much better than your past - is an extremely important habit to develop, but it doesn't take place completely inside your own mind. Confident expectation must change our behaviors in the external world if we're going to see the full effects of our change in thinking.

How it happens in real time is that our beliefs and expectations about what we can accomplish and what will happen in every situation subtly influence our subconscious mind, causing us to then adopt behaviors that are more likely to produce the results we expect. I'll give you an example to make this clearer.

Say that you expect that most people are kind and decent, and that they will respond to you positively whenever you engage with them in social settings. Just having this belief causes you to adopt more non-threatening body language, to smile more, and to adopt similar behaviors of people who get along well with others. You having the expectation that you will be positively received causes you to behave like someone who people respond well to, which will then cause you to receive a positive response! It's that simple, that easy, and yet also that profound!

I'm not saying that it works every single time, but that's the rule.

What we expect to happen influences how we behave, which works to create a self-fulfilling prophecy whereby we experience the exact result that we expect. It's why people who expect that other people will be attracted to them are likely to get more dates, and why people who expect to achieve success in other areas of their life generally do as well.

I'll give the last word again to Brian Tracy himself:

“Successful people expect – in advance – to be successful. Happy people expect to be happy. Popular people expect to be liked by others. They develop the habit of expecting that something good will happen in every situation. They expect to benefit from every occurrence – even temporary setbacks and failures. They expect the best of other people and always assume the best of intentions, and they are seldom disappointed.”

#4: Make Habit-Formation a Regular Part of Your Life

“Make developing new habits a regular part of your life. Always be working on developing a new habit that can help you. One new habit per month will amount to 12 new habits each year, or 60 new, life-enhancing habits every five years.

At that rate, your life would change so profoundly that you would become a whole new person, in a very positive way, in a very short period of time.”

This one idea alone makes the entire book worth reading. If this was the only thing you brought away from reading Million Dollar Habits, your time would still have been well invested. I mean, what a wild idea! Installing one habit a month for five years would transform you into the highest of high performers.

Now, I do have to say here that it's important not to get overwhelmed, and it's definitely important not to try to install 60 habits at once. Not even close to that. Indeed, I would go so far as to say you could start much smaller.

Depending on the habit, it's said that it takes around 66 days for it to become an automatic part of your life. That number depends on a wide range of factors, such as how often you generally perform the habit in the first place. A monthly habit of writing your goals down for the next month is, by definition, only done once per month. So it might take you 4-6 months for it to become a habit, per se. Alternatively, something you do every single day might take much less time to become a habit.

Regardless, 66 days seems to be a pretty fair middle ground, and if you were to adopt a new habit every 2 months for 5 years, that's still 30 positive, life-enhancing habits that you would be practicing by the end of it! Can you imagine that?

At the end of the five years, you'd be meditating every day (if you find that helpful), reading every day, doing something challenging every day, sending a thank you message every day, exercising every day (or at least a few times a week), reaching out to new connections every day...and you'd have 24 more great habits stacked on top of those ones! You'd be a superstar!

The time is going to pass anyway, so you may as well use it to free yourself before it's lost forever, never to return. As they say, you don't have to be great to start, but to be great, you have to start.

#5: This Never Happens

“I have never met anyone, anywhere, throughout the world, who has not transformed their lives and their careers by the habit of daily reading.”

I was going to just put this in the Book Notes section, but I do want to call special attention to this idea. Brian Tracy might just have something here.

Generally speaking, what you want to do in life is install habits that make it extremely unlikely that you won't be successful. I mean, if you were to work out every single day (or, again, at least a few times per week) for an entire year, it's extremely unlikely that you wouldn't be in fantastic shape by the end of the year. Maybe not exactly where you'd like to be, but you'd be a hell of a lot better off than you would be if you didn't install that habit.

In the same way, if you run a business, and you decide to reach out to 100 new prospective clients each and every day without fail, and you were to commit to doing this for an entire year, then, again, it's extremely unlikely that you'd have to worry about money by the end of the year.

It's the same with reading. I mean, there are probably at least a few people who haven't "transformed their lives and their careers by the habit of daily reading," but there are a massive number of people out there who have.

What you're doing is playing with the probabilities, and stacking the odds in your favor. Reading - and learning in general - is one of those things that are nearly always time and money well spent. That's what Brian Tracy is trying to get across here. Try it for a year and get back to me.

#6: Today Will Be Different

“No matter what you have done or failed to do in the past, at any time you can draw a line through your previous life and decide that your future is going to be different. You can begin thinking different thoughts, making different choices, taking different actions, and developing different habits that will lead you inevitably to the successes that are possible for you.”

I'm going to drop another excellent book recommendation right here and suggest that you read The Revolution from Within, by Jiddu Krishnamurti. I say this a lot changed everything for me.

One of the main messages of that book is that transformation doesn't happen in time. Or, better yet, as a result of time. Transformation only takes place now; never in the future.

What that means is that your personal evolution is literally now or never.

Think about it this way: if you say that you're unhappy and that you're trying to become happier, what have you done? You've defined yourself as someone who is unhappy and thus, you will always be unhappy. You're thinking that sometime in the future you're going to make this big change and attain contentment or peace or happiness, but your identity is still that of an unhappy person.

Now, obviously, I would never tell you that every one of your problems - not even psychological ones - could be solved instantly, with no effort. Mental illness is a real thing, and real change is hard. But your future is not determined, and you can always make different choices today, in this present moment, to change direction, to improve your circumstances, and advance towards the kind of success and fulfillment that's possible for you.

Your past doesn't automatically determine your future. You can make changes. You can evolve. You can make it.

So how do you move forward?

It's simple, but it's not easy: you start thinking different thoughts; better thoughts, ones that serve you, rather than disempower you. You start taking different actions that are more aligned with where you're heading. You start installing different habits, ones that will carry you forward inexorably toward the fulfillment of your highest potential as a human being.

Human beings are always in a state of becoming. That state exists now, and you can begin where you are. You must begin where you are, and you must begin today. Right now.

Book Notes:

“Good habits are hard to form, but easy to live with. Bad habits, on the other hand, are easy to form but hard to live with.”

“Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it each day, and it becomes so strong we cannot break it.”

-Horace Mann

“In short, most of the time successful people think about what they want and how to get that.”

“Perhaps the most powerful words in your vocabulary are the ones you say to yourself and believe.”

“Man becomes a slave to his constantly repeated acts…What he at first chooses, at last compels.”
-Orison Swett Marden

“What happens to a man is less significant than what happens within him.”

“Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.”

“If you are not continually learning and upgrading your skills, somewhere, someone else is. And when you meet that person, you will lose.”

“The good news is that an average person who develops the habit of lifelong learning will eventually run circles around a genius who goes home and watches television each night. There is perhaps no habit that will better guarantee your success in life than the habit of continuous personal and professional improvement.”

“Serious money is long-term money.”

“The first million can be extremely difficult to acquire, but the second million is almost inevitable.”

“Spend as much time investigating the investment as you spent earning the money you are thinking of investing. Fast financial decisions are usually poor financial decisions.”

“Investments are like buses; there will always be another one coming along.”

“The greater the influence you have on the cash flow of your enterprise, the more valuable you are to that business.”

“If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.”

“Be clear about the goal, but be flexible about the process of achieving it.”

“Your most powerful tool for success is your ability to think. Nowhere is this ability more important than when you use it to decide what you are going to do and in what order. The accuracy of your choices in deciding how you are going to spend your time largely determines everything that happens to you. And you are always free to choose.”

“Make a habit of going through life expressing unconditional acceptance toward others. This will make you welcome wherever you go.”

“You get more of whatever you praise and approve in others.”

“You can read every book and article, listen to every audio program, and take every course on the subject, but they will all boil down to the four key behaviors of an excellent listener. They are: listen attentively, pause before replying, question for clarification, and feed it back in your own words.”

“Good listeners are welcome wherever they go.”

“Work all the time you work.”

“Virtually all negative emotions – anger, frustration, guilt, resentment, envy, jealousy, and blame – arise from the inability to forgive a person for something that has been done or said in the past.”

“Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.”

“Treasure the love you receive above all. It will survive long after your gold and good health have vanished.”

“The beauty of the soul shines out when a man bears with composure one heavy mischance after another, not because he does not feel them, but because he is a man of high and heroic temper.”


“If you take a piece of paper and begin to write down the parts of your life for which you should be grateful, you will be amazed at how many items appear on your list.”

“Leap, and the net will appear.”

“Taking responsibility is like putting both hands on the steering wheel of your own life.”

The Science of Money, by Brian Tracy:

“Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others.
Unsuccessful people are always asking, 'What's in it for me?'”

-Brian Tracy

You can get virtually anything you want in life, just as long as you help enough other people get what they want.

That's one of the earliest lessons I learned from one of the first self-improvement books I've ever read, and Brian Tracy has been a staple of my wide reading ever since. The truth of his principles has been proven time and time again, and in my own life, much of my success can be directly attributed to what I've learned from him.

In this book, The Science of Money, Brian breaks down some of the myths and misconceptions concerning how money works and how to bring more of it into your life, as well as provides enlightening explanations of the ideas that will help you create wealth. Perhaps "science" is too strong a word - there's certainly a softer, more human element to wealth creation, too - but these ideas are solid.

Importantly, the ideas in this book are foundational. They will help you to start your journey to riches on the right foot.

There's a ton of misinformation, bad advice, and downright lies that are propagated today when it comes to making money, but you'll find none of them here. And even if you're a little further along on your journey, you'll find that this book is an excellent refresher and one that you may want to keep close by.

There are a ton of great ideas contained here in this breakdown, such as the vital importance of investing in yourself, a discussion about identifying infinite opportunities, and advice about how to increase your earning capacity, but I will just say this: if you bring these ideas to your life through your daily actions and activities, your financial life will change for the better. It will improve.

The world is getting richer all the time; the principles of wealth creation are known; you are more capable than you know, and Brian Tracy's hard-won wisdom is available to all who seek it at the foot of the Stairway to Wisdom.

Sample Quotes from the Book:

“Your most valuable financial asset is your earning ability. What is your earning ability? It’s your ability to get results that people will pay you for, and the most important word for success, in life and in business, is results.

“If you invest in yourself, you own 100% of the investment forever. You get 100% of the return.”

“You become what you think about most of the time. You also become what you teach most of the time. So if you start to teach these principles to someone else, you start to internalize them at a deeper level.”

Read the Full Breakdown: The Science of Money, by Brian Tracy

“Do not think you have done enough. It does not matter what you did yesterday. Yesterday is gone. And today: THE COUNT IS ZERO. Wake up with that attitude every day. You have to prove yourself all over again. You have to earn your seat at the table. You have to GET AFTER IT.”

-Jocko Willink, Discipline Equals Freedom

This book packs a huge motivational punch, even though, ironically, motivation and discipline couldn't be more different from each other.

You see, motivation can't be trusted. It can't be relied upon, since it comes and goes with the way you feel. Discipline, on the other hand, is your friend for life.

Motivation can never be allowed to dictate action, says Willink. Instead, you need to do what needs to be done, regardless of whether or not you actually feel like doing it. That’s the essence of self-discipline, of being an adult.

Jocko Willink's methods for success were developed in the SEAL Teams, where he spent most of his adult life, enlisting after high school and rising through the ranks to become the commander of the most highly decorated special operations unit of the war in Iraq. That's where he draws much of his credibility from.

This is a very short book - one you could read in a little more than an hour, I’d say - but it’s right up there in terms of power with David Goggins’ book, Can’t Hurt Me.

Jocko's book includes strategies and tactics for conquering weakness, procrastination, and fear, and in this breakdown, we'll cover important ideas like binary decision-making, as well as examine the positive use of aggression and the insidious natures of hesitation and weakness.

However, as the title implies, the whole project is mainly about freedom. Freedom from enslavement to your own mind, to addictions, to compulsions of all kinds. Freedom from the seductive call of laziness, indolence, and sloth.

Jocko also makes these valuable lessons easy to remember and apply. In the book, there are bolded passages and ALL CAPS in some places for emphasis, and his incredibly motivating and powerful ideas are captured in short, pithy phrases that you could carry around with you for life. And you probably should.

Sample Quotes from the Book:

“Impose what you want on your brain: Discipline. Power. Positivity. Will. And use that Mind Control to move your life where you want it to be: stronger, faster, smarter, quicker, friendlier, more helpful, more driven. Don’t let your mind control you. Control your mind. And then you can: SET IT FREE.”

“Yes or no. This is not complicated. And sometimes you have to put yourself into this mode: Binary Decision-Making.

Are you going to be weak or strong? Are you going to be healthy or unhealthy? Are you going to improve your life? Are you going to make it worse? Are you going to sacrifice long-term success for short-term gratification?

You know the right answers. You know the right decision. Don’t overcomplicate. Binary Decision-Making. Make the right decisions.”

“And that is what aggression is to me: The unstoppable fighting spirit. The drive. The burning desire to achieve mission success using every possible tool, asset, and strategy and tactic to bring about victory. IT IS THE WILL. TO. WIN. And if that kind of internal, relentless aggression is your DEFAULT MODE – YOU WILL WIN.”

Read the Full Breakdown: Discipline Equals Freedom, by Jocko Willink

Discipline is Destiny, by Ryan Holiday:

“Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.”


Self-discipline has traditionally been a hard sell. Self-indulgence, quick dopamine hits, and having a good time have been winning the marketing battle lately, similar to the "battle" between chocolate and asparagus. Or between reality television and educational documentaries.

But what if the problem is simply that we've been thinking about self-discipline in entirely the wrong way?

Up until now, self-discipline may have been the equivalent of a Henry James novel in a TikTok world. But Ryan Holiday's book, Discipline is Destiny, will have you reimagining the whole concept in a much more liberating, fulfilling way.

His aim is to teach you how to harness the powers of self-discipline to fulfill your personal destiny. While everyone's destiny is fundamentally different, everyone's destiny is the product of self-discipline. Your habits shape your character, and your character shapes your destiny, and so Ryan's book goes right to the root and gives you the physical, mental, and emotional skillsets for success.

In the final analysis, self-discipline is prescriptive. It will show you your future. Your environment, actions, habits, and mindsets are constantly shaping your destiny, and this book will show you how to guide this process more intelligently.

This involves thinking of self-discipline in the "proper" way: not as a punishment, as self-deprivation, but as it really is: a pathway to even greater freedom.

Some days will be hard. Actually, that's not true...many days will be hard. The hard days will outnumber the easy ones, but the meaningful days will also outnumber the meaningless ones. Living this way won't always be easy, but it will always be worth it.

Sample Quotes from the Book:

“At the core of this idea of self-mastery is an instinctive reaction against anything that masters us. Who can be free when they have lost, as one addiction specialist put it, ‘the freedom to abstain?’”

“In some ways, the habit itself is less important than what we’re really quitting, which is dependency. What the Buddhists call tanha. The thirst. The craving. Maybe with time, you can go back to recreational usage – of whatever it is – yet even to do that, you’re first going to have to quit the habituation. It’s not the sex or the likes or the drink. It’s the need. And it’s this need that is the source of suffering.”

“Think about it: Most people don’t even show up. Of the people who do, most don’t really push themselves. So to show up and be disciplined about daily improvement? You are the rarest of the rare.”

Read the Full Breakdown: Discipline is Destiny, by Ryan Holiday

What's In It For Them?, by Joe Polish:

“I treat everybody I meet as if I will run into them again. As much as I can, I want to make a lasting impression and whenever possible, leave everything better than before I showed up. The most positive impacts I’ve made haven’t been overly calculated strategic decisions. They have grown organically out of this simple philosophy.

The bottom line: Spread as much positivity and love as you can wherever you go, not to avoid some imagined future punishment, but because you don’t know the magnitude of the impact that possibility will have on others and the world. Usually, our humble efforts have an effect reaching farther than we think."

-Joe Polish, What's In It For Them?

They call him the most connected businessman on the planet, and this book is the distillation of Joe Polish's absolute best advice for creating and sustaining win-win relationships that last a lifetime.

If you've ever played "6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon," you could probably play "3 Degrees of Joe Polish," and it can seem as though there's no one in the online entrepreneurship space who hasn't been helped by him in some way and eventually come to call him a friend.

His story is a pattern interrupt that diverges from the expected script. Joe succeeded in business by rejecting self-interest - or at least putting it to the side - so he could ask a very simple, yet very powerful question:

"What's in it for them?"

It's a useful question that changes the conversation and can change your life in the same way that it's changed Joe's life and damn near everyone with whom he's shared it.

In this breakdown, we're going to be covering some of his main ideas, such as the three keys to connecting with others, the five major assets you need to invest in your relationships, the importance of becoming a "pain detective" to figure out how you can best help the people you encounter in life and business, and how you can become a "first domino" in the lives of others, spurring them on to greater growth and self-actualization.

We're also going to explore why you should become a "brain extender" for others, and how you can recognize the infinite human value that others possess simply by being alive and conscious.

Think of Joe's book as Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People for the 21st century. While Carnegie's book is still absolutely worth reading, Joe's book represents the future of networking, while at the same time, the underlying themes and success strategies are as old as humanity itself.

Sample Quotes from the Book:

“The first secret to the successes I’ve had in life and business is simple: I invest more time, attention, money, effort, and energy into my relationships than I do anything else, and I do so on the longest timeline possible.”

“The specifics can change, but in virtually any situation, being useful, grateful, and valuable are the three keys to connecting with others – and they never depreciate or go out of style.”

“Of course, when it comes to value, as we’ve seen, we have to differentiate between what is real value and what is up for debate.

For the mere fact of being alive and conscious, you have value. You are valuable because you are you and because you exist, and nothing can change that fact (though we find it all too easy to forget).

When we’re talking about value here, it’s built on top of that truth. That secondary value we’re talking about is how you move through the world and how other people respond to you.

It’s not that other people’s opinions of you don’t matter at all, because they do to a degree – it’s just that you can’t stake your value on something that can go up and down every day.

You have to stay anchored in your own goodwill and your own value. Then you have to put in the work so other people can see it too.”

Read the Full Breakdown: What's In It For Them?, by Joe Polish

The View from the Opposition:

No one's ideas are beyond questioning. In this section, I argue the case for the opposition and raise some points you might wish to evaluate for yourself while reading this book.

#1: The Harvard Study That Didn't Exist

So there's some controversy that has dogged Brian Tracy for a few years now, and it's this: in one of his earlier books, he quoted a research study that didn'

Like, at all. It never happened, but Tracy referenced the "results" of the study in his book as though it was indisputable fact.

The details change depending on the telling, but in 1979 at Harvard Business School - or 1953 at Yale - "they" did a study on goal-setting.

Apparently, only 3% of the class had ever come up with clear, written goals, and apparently, after twenty years or so, follow-up research revealed that the 3% with clear, written goals were earning 10 times as much money as the other 97% with no clear, written goals.

Pretty cool, right?

Except that, yea, no such study was ever conducted. Harvard and Yale both say it never happened. No student from either school remembers it. And yet this detailed story appeared in one of Brian Tracy's books!

This is what Harvard had to say about the whole thing:

"It has been determined that no “goals study” of the Class of 1953 actually occurred. In recent years, we have received a number of requests for information on a reported study based on a survey administered to the Class of 1953 in their senior year and a follow-up study conducted ten years later. This study has been described as how one’s goals at graduation related to success and annual incomes achieved during the period.
The secretary of the Class of 1953, who had served in that capacity for many years, did not know of [the study], nor did any of the fellow class members he questioned. In addition, a number of Yale administrators were consulted and the records of various offices were examined in an effort to document the reported study. There was no relevant record, nor did anyone recall the purported study of the Class of 1953, or any other class."

So, where do we go from here? Do we throw out everything that Brian Tracy has ever written about goal-setting and achievement?

I don't think so, and here's why.

While I don't think that "it was a long time ago" is a proper defense - or at least a complete defense - there does come a point when you just have to realize that someone made a mistake, they were wrong, they were outed for it...and then we have to move on.

The book in question, Goals!, came out in 2003. Since then, Brian Tracy has been one of the leading figures in the sales and self-improvement category, writing and producing content that has legitimately changed the lives of millions of people. That's not nothing, although, of course, he should have been much more careful when writing his previous book.

The whole thing also doesn't take away from the fact that it's excellent advice to write down your goals and targets. I do it every single month/year, as do a multitude of other highly successful people who swear by the practice. Of course, we could all be wrong, but I don't think so.

You can't hit a target you can't see, and having clear, written goals focuses your mind on the day ahead - and on the task in front of you - in an exceptionally valuable way.

Having a clear, definite purpose that excites you and calls you forward - urging you to give your absolute best effort in life - is a wonderful thing, and you don't need a degree from Harvard or Yale to tell you that.

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald

Questions to Stimulate Your Thinking:

The quality of your questions determines the quality of your life. That's also how you get the absolute most out of any book that you decide to read:

You ask great questions the whole time - as though the book was on trial for its life.

Here in this section are a few questions that can help guide and stimulate your thinking, but try to come up with your own additional questions, especially if you decide to read this book the whole way through...

#1: "How healthy is your self-concept? Do you believe that you're worthy of much greater success in life than you're currently experiencing? If not, what can you do today, now, to raise your self-concept and start t0 feel more deserving?"

#2: “What one skill, if you developed and did it consistently in an excellent fashion, would have the greatest positive impact on your career?”

#3: "Are you really doing your absolute best in life, or do you have more inside you left to give? What would your true best look like?"

#4: “What is the most valuable use of your time right now?”

#5: "Who are the most important people in your life right now? Who are your biggest supporters? Have you reached out recently to let them know how much they mean to you?"

#6: "Which foundational habit could you adopt today, immediately, that would make every other habit easier to adopt in the future?"

#7: "What's the smallest first action that you could take to make this habit a key part of your life from now on?"

#8: "To become more productive at work, ask yourself, 'Does this task have to be done now? Does this task have to be done by me? Is there anyone else who can do this task almost as well as I can?'”

#9: "What could you do today, right now, that you didn't do yesterday, that could move you closer to what you really want tomorrow?"

#10: "What could you do for yourself that would show yourself how much you appreciate all the hard work you're doing to improve your circumstances? Are you letting yourself feel appropriate pride in how far you've come and what you've had to do to get here?"

"Judge a man by his questions, rather than by his answers."

Action Steps:

So you've finished reading. What do you do now?

Reading for pleasure is great, and I wholeheartedly support it. However, I am intensely practical when I'm reading for a particular purpose. I want a result. I want to take what I've learned and apply it to my one and only life to make it better!

Because that's really what the Great Books all say. They all say: "You must change your life!" So here, below, are some suggestions for how you can apply the wisdom found in this breakdown to improve your actual life.

Please commit to taking massive action on this immediately! Acting on what you've learned here today will also help you solidify it in your long-term memory. So there's a double benefit! Let's begin...

#1: Raise Your Self-Concept

It's virtually impossible to act differently than you believe yourself capable of acting. That is, to act against the idea that you have of yourself internally.

This being the case, one of the first and most important steps you can take on any self-improvement project is to raise your self-concept, to raise your standards.

We don't rise to the level of our dreams but rather we fall to the level of our standards and our habits. Raise them. Install good ones. Your life will never be the same.

It's helpful in the beginning to start with just one area of your life in which you'd like to raise your self-concept.

We have a separate self-concept for every area of life, and it can be overwhelming to try and change them all at once. So instead of trying to raise your standards in the areas of fitness, relationships, finances, career, etc., all at once, what you might consider is picking one of those areas to attack first.

What are you willing to settle for in that area? What are you not willing to tolerate? Those are the kinds of questions you need to be asking when you decide to get serious about making a big change to your self-concept.

To take the area of your finances, because that's easier to put a number on, what are you worth in terms of salary and net worth? To be perfectly clear, your self-worth has absolutely nothing to do with your net worth - we're simply raising your self-concept in this important area.

Decide: How much money do you deserve to make this year? What level of net worth are you "comfortable" with? What can you do today to move yourself closer to this level, to be in accordance with your new self-belief?

#2: Practice Writing Out Your Goals

I write out my goals literally every single day, and it's been nothing less than transformational for me. You don't have to get crazy like I do, but I actually have a 100-year plan for how I want my life to unfold.

Obviously, at that distance in time, it's not helpful to get too specific. A lot can happen in 100 years, but it forces me to make long-term moves, and to get serious about maximizing my opportunities today.

All I know is that in 100 years I want to own a large part of a space exploration company, and be intimately involved in travel to other planets and maybe even to other solar systems.

But I also get extremely practical when it comes to the next ten years, the next five years...even the next week. I have written plans for all of these timescales and I can highly recommend doing so yourself. It will give you massive clarity on what's important now, what's not important, and what you should be focusing on.

If you're starting with a 10-year plan, which is what I suggest starting with, simply write out everything you'd like to experience and accomplish in the next ten years.

Then, think about what would have to happen in the next five years to make your 10-year plan a reality. What kind of connections would you have to form? How much money would you have to earn? How much time freedom would you need?

Then, get serious about ruthless execution on both a daily level, and at the yearly level as well. I have specific, actionable plans for the day, the week, the month, the year, the next five years, the next ten years, and the next hundred years, and then I attack them single-mindedly and with extreme prejudice until I accomplish my objective. I'm serious: write out your goals and watch your entire life transform before your very eyes.

#3: Try the Wedge Theory

Brian Tracy's "Wedge Theory" is a method for achieving financial independence that helps you avoid the pitfalls of lifestyle inflation, which is basically the fancy term for when you start to make more money, but then immediately spend even more than the raise you just got.

You might be astonished at how often this plays out in the lives of average people everywhere.

In your effort to replace your average habits with excellent, millionaire habits, you need to fight lifestyle inflation and get serious about saving.

The method is simple: for every pay raise you receive, aim to save at least 50% of the increase and only spend the other 50%. Do the same thing with "found" money as well, such as gifts from family members, tax refunds, etc.

You're allowed to reward yourself every once and a while, sure, but the idea is not to spend $6,000 every time you get a $5,000 raise.

Odds are, you won't even notice the money that you put away, but the laws of compounding will notice, as those amounts start to snowball and years later your Future Self is one very happy, very rich person.

"The path to success is to take massive, determined action."
-Tony Robbins

About the Author:

Brian Tracy is Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and development of individuals and organizations.

Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined.

Brian Tracy has consulted for more than 1,000 companies and addressed more than 5,000,000 people in 5,000 talks and seminars throughout the US, Canada, and 55 other countries worldwide. As a Keynote speaker and seminar leader, he addresses more than 250,000 people each year.

He has studied, researched, written, and spoken for 30 years in the fields of economics, history, business, philosophy, and psychology. He is the top-selling author of over 45 books that have been translated into dozens of languages.

He has written and produced more than 300 audio and video learning programs, including the worldwide, best-selling Psychology of Achievement, which has been translated into more than 20 languages.

He speaks to corporate and public audiences on the subjects of Personal and Professional Development, including the executives and staff of many of America's largest corporations. His exciting talks and seminars on Leadership, Selling, Self-Esteem, Goals, Strategy, Creativity, and Success Psychology bring about immediate changes and long-term results.

Prior to founding his company, Brian Tracy International, Brian was the Chief Operating Officer of a $265 million dollar development company. He has had successful careers in sales and marketing, investments, real estate development and syndication, importation, distribution, and management consulting. He has conducted high-level consulting assignments with several billion-dollar-plus corporations in strategic planning and organizational development.

He has traveled and worked in over 80 countries on six continents and speaks four languages. Brian is happily married and has four children.

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