BOOK CLUB // The Achievement Habit

achievement habitIf you read the title and didn’t immediately add this to your to-read list, I don’t know what else I could say to convince you. Just look at the title: The Achievement Habit. Yes, please, I’d like to start having a habit of achieving! Stop wishing, start doing? Yes, I’d love help with making my dreams become a reality. Take command of your life? Who am I always waiting for permission from before I step up and own living my own life on my own terms? By Bernard Roth, a celebrated professor at one of the top innovation schools in the WORLD (Stanford) and he’s the co-founder of a multi-disciplinary design school that was the first of its kind (Stanford Nope, not interested.

Just kidding, of course I’m interested!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But seriously…

Bernie Roth is also one of the founders of design thinking (hint: that’s the awesome way of brainstorming better products and services for customers that everyone fell in love with a few years ago). And Bernie wrote this book explaining design thinking to address a particular type of challenge: living your best possible life. That’s right. Even though the process is very business-oriented, Bernie shows how the concepts of design thinking can be used to help you create a habit of succeeding and achieving at what’s more important to you.

Why is this book worth reading?

The book lays out a foundation so you can systematically make headway in pursuing your goals and designing a life you’ll love.  Bernie says achievement can be learned and since it’s like a muscle, you can become good at it with practice and good habits. Some of the lessons you learn in the book are:

  • 8Don’t “try” doing something —DO it
  • Excuses are self-defeating (and reasons are bullshit)
  • Believing that you are a doer and achiever will help you to actually become one
  • You will build resiliency by reinforcing what you do rather than what you accomplish
  • Learning to ignore distractions that prevent you from achieving your goals
  • Opening yourself up to learning from your experiences

Here’s a video that goes through the basic premises.

My Favorite Insights

In our normal world today, we focus on outcomes and success and achievement ALL the time. I spend the vast majority of 12 weeks while coaching The Artist’s Way to explain to people that we’re focusing on the doing, not the achieving (hint: nobody believes me. They all come to class and complain that their painting was crap, their singing was off-pitch, their dancing was a beat too late, or their writing was filled with spelling errors). What I love about this book is that is also reminds us of the important lesson that your first tries shouldn’t be compared to a master’s masterpieces. You absolutely will not paint like Van Gogh the first, fifteenth, or fiftieth times you paint something. Enjoy the process anyway. After all, anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly (at first).

This book also helps to remind you that you designing a life you LOVE is not only possible but completely achievable!

Who Might Be Interested in Reading It?

Anyone who is looking to achieve more, be more successful, be happier, enjoy life more, or who is alive and breathing. Really, anyone looking to design a great life. OR even if you’re not that interested in designing your life but want to know what all this hullabaloo is about design thinking.

Extra Goodies

bernie rothI really, really enjoyed listening to Bernie speak about his book on this Curious Minds podcast (actually, I love so many of Gayle Allen’s Curious Minds podcasts that you might get hooked if you listen to this one so don’t say I didn’t warn you!!).

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