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30 Days of Unbridled Productivity

This post was written a few weeks ago but I haven’t had the time to post until now. In the future I am going to try to keep more up to date on my post schedule. These are the results from my 30 day experiment. I will breakdown some of the highlights and low-lights of the past month. For continuity sake I am going to list everything as a summary of each of the books I have been following.

How to Win Friends and Influence People:

This is honestly one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. There is a reason that it has existed for over 70 years in print. Every principle in the book is just as true today as the day it was when it was written.

Highlights: Above all else, the greatest takeaway from this book for me was the ability to empathize. Carnegie places such a premium on seeing things from other people’s perspective. That is something I sometimes forget when I get caught up I life. Keeping the desires and perspectives of others in my mind has really helped me connect with people on a deeper level. Another big plus from the book was forcing myself to smile. It started out feeling like I was faking it but, after a week or so it becomes a genuine reaction and actually made me feel noticeably happier.

Lowlights: Not criticizing anyone for 30 days is f-ing HARD. This was something I am definitely going to keep working on. I got better over the 30 days and I didn’t consciously realize how much I did this until I monitored it the last month.

Think and Grow Rich:

This book was a continuing source of inspiration and really helped me stay motivated throughout.

Highlights: TGR was the best book to go back to when I needed a pick me up. The tone and style are so uplifting that whenever I needed some motivational words to keep my head in the game, this was the book I constantly went back to. The chapters on desire and persistence were my favorites.

Lowlights: The self-confidence formula was something that proved to be almost as gimmicky as I though it was going to be. The exercise felt forced and ended up being a self-fulfilling prophecy, because I was skeptical to start out. Either way I figured out that method wasn’t for me.

Awaken the Giant Within:

I really enjoyed reading and implementing a lot of the strategies in this book. With that being said, there is a ton of material in this book, so it was pretty much impossible to follow everything that is presented.

Highlights: The morning and evening power question really helped me see the great parts of my life. I have so many things to be thankful for. They also gave me some focus to keep me goal oriented and look for solutions rather than dwelling on problems.

Another motivating part of the book was a ten-day challenge that Tony throws down. It was my challenge within a challenge so to speak. The mini-challenge is to focus on four separate goals: Personal Development, Economic, Adventure, and Contribution. Over the course of the ten days you take one action toward achieving that goal. It doesn’t matter how small the action. This really helped me get the ball rolling on some of my someday/maybe goals that I had. I’ll try to do another post detailing this challenge in itself because it may have been the most valuable knowledge I gained.

Lowlights: The sheer volume of material. There are over 500 pages of material so it was near impossible to follow everything. There was also some gimmicky stuff I didn’t find especially useful. There is a section that has you focus on things called “submodalites” of perception. Robbins has you focus in on vocabulary that represents sound, taste, touch, sight, and feeling and try to understand people in terms of how they experience the world. A person will say things like “sounds good,” for example if they prefer the auditory submodality. I thought this was a waste of time, and seemed really manipulative if used on people to get something out of them. If executed correctly, Robbins says you will have more influence over a person when you identify their submodality of choice and persuade them using that submodality.

Getting Things Done:

Highlights: I really liked the system David Allen puts in place here. I thought the concept of a “tickler” file was great. It’s a file that you organize your day-to-day tasks. You put each task in a folder that represents the day you want to work on it. It’s a much more comprehensive way to keep track of things than just a calendar, you can put unfinished projects in the file and know that you will make it back to them, rather than worry about them in the back of your head.

Lowlights: It was a little bit of a shock for me adjusting to such a rigid system because in the past I haven’t had the most organized system in place for my day-to-day tasks. After I got over my initial apprehension though, it actually felt like I was taking a huge burden of by using the system.

The Power of Now:

Highlights: This book really helped me get out of my own head and focus on the moment when it was in front of me. If I noticed it was a beautiful day while I was walking, I actively took a break from thought and pulled myself into the moment instead of focusing on all the random things jumbled in my head

Lowlights: Sometimes the breaks from thought initiated a recurring loop in my head that started with me trying to stop thinking and while I was in that state, more thoughts would pop up into my head crushing my active goal of stopping active thought and the cycle continued.

OVERALL: I had a lot of fun with the challenge, I learned a lot about myself during the process, what inspires me, what makes me happy, how I best overcome challenges, the right questions to ask myself to get me out of tough emotional situations and a lot more. I excelled in some places and struggled in others. I do think I am a better person having went through the challenge. If you are looking for one place to start from these books I would say How to Win Friends is the best place then possibly Awaken the Giant, but it really depends on what you are trying to accomplish because all 5 are very useful for very distinct reasons.

New 30 Day Challenge Coming Soon!

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