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A Powerful Road Map for Surpassing Everyone’s Expectations Break through your self-imposed limitations by learning how your own brain can be your biggest obstacle—or your greatest ally. You’d expect your brain to be an always-reliable ally in your quest for a successful, satisfying life, but surprisingly the opposite is usually true. That’s because your brain is pretty much the same model your ancestors were using thousands of years ago when mere survival was everyone’s primary goal. It tells you now what it told them then: Play it safe. Avoid risk. Evade confrontation. Don’t venture outside the territory you already know. And never break the habits that have gotten you this far. Coming at just the right time to help you deal with the growing demands of our pressure-packed, fast-changing world, Robert Cooper’s Get Out of Your Own Way helps you understand what’s going on in that head of yours. Once you know what really drives you, you can switch off the counterproductive parts of your brain, engage the helpful parts, and set out on the path to accomplishing what everyone else thinks you can’t. Based on more than two decades of worldwide research, Get Out of Your Own Way shows you the five keys for making the choices that let you engage and triumph over the realities of today’s world: • Direction, not motion • Focus, not time • Capacity, not conformity • Energy, not effort • Impact, not intentions Filled with wonderful stories—about everything from the note written by one of the author’s ancestors upon leaving Dublin for America in 1829 (“On the horizon is where hope lives . . . I am going there”) to the unlikely exploits of the world record–setting Jamaican bobsled team—this groundbreaking book confirms that the next frontier is not only ahead of you, it’s inside of you . . . and what everyone else thinks is impossible isn’t.
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The biggest barrier to accomplishing your dreams is never external. Instead the biggest barrier is always internal—how your mind works and operates. To accomplish more, you've got to train your brain to think differently. If you can do that, you in effect get out of your own way so you can move forward to greater personal success.
Your brain doesn't even realize it stands in the way of achieving more. It has evolved through different eras when survival was the greatest challenge facing the human race. For that reason, the brain defends established habits, encourages you to stick to a routine, keeps you from taking risks and prefers the known to trying new things. All of these patterns are helpful when playing it safe was an imperative but they are far less productive in the modern era.
To get your brain working for you instead of against you, you have to make five somewhat counterintuitive choices:
Instead of endlessly trying harder to do the same things over and over, it's time to try doing something different. Once you do that, you may even find that what everyone else thinks is impossible really is not. It just requires your combination of skills and talents.
How busy you are isn't really important. What counts more is how effectively you're moving in a productive direction.
The human brain primarily likes to run on preprogrammed habits and routines. When people are required to adapt to change, the brain struggles and even resists. To consistently bring out your personal best performance, you need to get into the habit of engaging the part of your brain that is good at envisaging the future—your forebrain.
To engage your forebrain:
■ Choose a few moments where you can regularly visualize where you need to be heading rather than dealing with the requirements and demands of the present time.
■ In those moments, visualize as clearly and vividly as possibly the best future you can imagine.
■ Next, think through the clearest and most direct path that will take you to that enticing future.
■ Consider all your unique abilities and passions and think about how these attributes can be harnessed to move forward.
■ Once you’ve thought things through, go to work on making that dream become a reality.
If you can manage the direction in which you're heading and then get into motion, you'll be pleasantly surprised how quickly the world will owe you an apology for doubting what you can achieve.
What people say is impossible is just an opinion, not a fact. There are far too many examples in history of people doing what conventional wisdom dictated was impossible to ever believe anyone can definitively say something is impossible.
To keep yourself consistently moving forward instead of settling for second best:
■ Don’t settle for what others label as“good”or“great”but consider all the possibilities you can achieve as a result of your own unique set of talents and passions.
■ Instead of simply trying to get across the finish line ahead of others, focus on going beyond the best you have ever given and find out what you’re genuinely capable of producing. It will always be more than you realize.
■ Forget entirely what the“experts”say. History is full of examples of people who did what others couldn’t imagine.
■ Whenever you’re faced with a decision, pause and ask yourself: “Will this choice propel me toward the outer edges of what’s possible, or will it instead keep me repeating what’s good or defending what’s great?"
■ Always look for open spaces in everything you do—room where you can move beyond what everyone else is already doing on to areas where you can bring all your talents and passions to bear. Create some open-space opportunities to do your very best work.
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