When I was 17 years old and depressed about my life, Tony Robbins was the first mentor I had to help turn my life around, but Brian Tracy was the other. Before I had even begun to read any of Brian Tracy's books, I had discovered his audio programs, specifically The Psychology of Achievement that changed my life. Virtually everything I've ever read or consumed from Brian Tracy has been incredible, but this book review is going to be on Maximum Achievement: The Proven System of Strategies and Skills That Will Unlock Your Hidden Powers to Succeed.
In the next few years, more people are going to become millionaires than in the last 200 years. When Brian Tracy began studying this, he discovered that there were 5000 self-made millionaires by the year 1900, whereas by year 2000 there was now 5,000,000 millionaires, an increase of a thousand times in one century! As of 2005, it was 8,200,000 millionaires, an increase of 60% within 5 years. Isn't that astounding?
We live in the golden years. There are more opportunities today than any other time in human history. With the right skills and mindset, you can become a millionaire and achieve everything you could have ever dreamed of. And this is exactly what Brian Tracy has studied and put together in his book Maximum Achievement.
The 7 Ingredients Of Success
Everything that you could ever want more of can be categorized into 7 categories, what Brian calls the 7 ingredients of success. Your ideal life is blending of these seven ingredients together in exactly the right combination that makes you feel the happiest in any particular moment. He says you must start with your ideal, which is your vision of seeing yourself and your life perfectly, exactly how you wish it to be.
Peace Of Mind
People usually evaluate how well they are doing in their lives by how much inner peace they enjoy. You only enjoy inner peace when you are living your highest values in life and your innermost convictions. If for any reason you compromise your values, your peace of mind is the first thing to suffer.
Happiness is your birthright. It is the center to your very existence. To ensure that you have this inner peace should be an overarching goal that you're always striving for your entire life. If you achieve success but don't have peace of mind, then what's it all for?
Brian describes that you experience happiness and peace of mind whenever you are completely free from the destructive emotions of guilt, fear, anger, doubt, resentment and worry. In the absence of these emotions, you enjoy peace of mind effortlessly. In this case, the key to happiness and peace of mind is to work on eliminating anything destructive for your life, including the emotions listed above.
Health & Energy
Just as peace of mind is your natural mental state, health and energy is your natural physical state. Your body always has a natural bias towards health and energy. It's what we DO that destroys our health and energy over the long-term, which can also cause us to lose our peace of mind. If you achieve all the material things in the world, but don't have peace of mind or health, then you will experience little or no pleasure from those achievements.
What does your ideal body look like? What would you ideally like to feel like each day?
If you want to learn some powerful principles about health and energy, read this blog post.
The third ingredient is loving relationships, which is the people we care about: our friends, family, and intimate relationship. They are the real measure of how well you are doing as a human being. Most of your happiness and unhappiness comes from your relationships with others. Brian Tracy has a simple test to measure how well you're doing in your relationships, which is laughter. How much you laugh together with the people in your life is a simple measure of things going well. When a relationship turns sour, the first thing that goes is laughter.
What is your ideal relationship? Who would you be with? What would it look like?
Financial freedom is when you no longer have to worry about money anymore. Nearly 80% of the planet is occupied with money problems. This means they think about money when they wake up in the morning, and stress about it throughout the day. This is not conductive for you being who you want to be. Money is an essential factor for achieving the first three ingredients of success, as most worry, stress, and anxiety and lost peace of mind is due to stress about money. Many health problems are caused by stress and worry about money. And, many problems in relationships are caused by money stress or problems. In fact, one of the primary causes of divorce is over arguments about money.
What would your financial life ideally look like? What difference would it make in your day to day activities? How would your life change if you were financially free?
Worthy Goals & Ideals
Our deepest subconscious drive is a need for meaning and purpose in life. You need a clear sense of direction to truly be happy in life. You need to be committed to something bigger and grander than yourself. You need to have a feeling that your life stands for something, and that you are making some sort of contribution to the world.
Happiness has been defined as “the progressive realization of a worthy ideal”, meaning you can only be happy when you are working step by step towards something that is really valuable to you.
What sort of activities give you the most feeling of meaning and purpose in life?
Self Knowledge & Self Awareness
To be at your best, you need to know who you are and why you think and feel the way that you do. This is a key ingredient to success and achievement. It is only when you are aware of something and begin to understand yourself that you can begin moving forward in the different areas of your life. Brian believes that you should always be striving to grow, become better and learn. You can do this through reading books, attending seminars, or finding mentors/coaches.
The final ingredient of success is a sense of personal fulfillment. Fulfillment comes when you feel you are becoming everything that you are capable of becoming. One of the focuses of Maximum Achievement and Brian's books is to help you develop a fully integrated, fully functioning, fully mature personality. You must learn how to be happy and positive in all circumstances, which is essentially a habit and skill that you must master.
The first step to achieving the life you want is to create your ideal life in every detail. Don't be worried about the process of getting to where you want to go, but rather, just focus on creating a vision of your perfect future.
The Rules Of Self-Esteem
One aspect that I find powerful that Brian Tracy talks about is self-esteem and the importance of it. He says there are two rules for self-esteem: you can never like or love anyone else more than you like or love yourself, and you can never expect anyone else to like or love you more than you like, love or respect yourself. He says that your own level of self-liking and self-acceptance is the control valve on the quality of your human relationships. Everything you do either increases or decreases your self-esteem. If you indulge in destructive or negative habits, it will lower your self-esteem. If you are indulged in productive, healthy habits, your self-esteem improves.
You can gain self-esteem each day simply by making progress in your life. Do the right thing. Grow, contribute, and make a difference. The little actions, or habits, that you perform each and everyday contribute to you having more self-confidence and self-esteem.
Goals Are The Fuel
Brian Tracy is famously known for goal-setting, which is something that was definitely mentioned in Maximum Achievement. He states that goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement. A person without a goal is like a ship without a rudder, drifting aimlessly and always in danger of ending up on the rocks. Whereas, a person with goals is like a ship with a rudder, guided by a captain with a map, a compass, and a destination.
Brian states how our brains are very goal-oriented. You are exactly where you are today because you have decided be there. Your thoughts, your actions and your behavior have brought you to no other place, rightly considered. If your goal is to get through the day and watch TV when you get home, you will achieve it. If your goal is to be fit and healthy, then you will achieve that too. Your only limitation is your desire. How badly do you want it?
Brian Tracy talks about in his book a famous oil billionaire by the name of H. L. Hunt, who said that there are two requirements for success. He said that first you need to decide exactly what it is you want. Second, determine the price you're going to have to pay to get it, and then resolve to pay that price. Whatever price you have to pay, you must pay it in advance. It isn't like going to a restaurant where you pay afterwards, you must pay that price of success upfront.
Rules For Goal Setting
1) Goals must be in harmony.
Your goals can't contradict each other in any way; they must be in harmony. You can't have a goal to be rich, but at the same time want to sit around all day. That doesn't work. Your goals have to be mutually supportive and reinforcing.
2) Goals must be challenging.
Your goals must make you stretch and get outside of your comfort zone, without being overwhelmed. Your goals should have about a 50% probability of success. This level of probability is ideal for motivation, yet not so difficult that you will be discouraged.
3) Goals must be tangible and intangible.
4) Goals must be quantitative and qualitative.
Your goals must be concrete that you can measure and evaluate objectively. You need to be able to measure your goals as well for your relationships and your inner life.
5) Goals must be short-term and long-term
You need goals for today and for 5 years, 10, and 20 years from now.
6) You must continually set goals.
As soon as you achieve a goal, you must immediately set the next one. If you don't, you will get comfortable and begin to go back to where you were before. You must always be stretching yourself and challenging yourself. You must always be growing. And, you always need something to look forward to in the future.
The 12-Step System
Brian Tracy talks about his 12-step system for achieving any goal you want, which has been used by hundreds of thousands of men and women all over the world to transform their lives. If you follow these 12 steps, you'll be able to turn any goal into a reality.
1) Develop desire – intense, burning desire.
By having an intense, burning desire, you will be motivated and overcome any of the challenges that stops most people. A stronger emotion will always overcome a weaker emotion. To get this desire, you must ask yourself “Why do I really want to achieve this goal?” Once you've identified your REASONS, you will be propelled to make it happen.
2) Develop belief.
You must absolutely believe that you can achieve this goal and that it is possible for you. You must have complete faith in yourself and that you deserve the goal. You want your goals to be believable for this reason, as if you set a goal that is too unrealistic or that you don't believe can happen, you won't even begin to try. If you set a goal to make a million dollars but you aren't even currently making a hundred thousand, then making that big of a jump will be too unbelievable for you. You must absolutely believe in yourself and that if you keep going on, you will ultimately be successful, despite any challenges you encounter along the way.
3) Write it down.
Goals are not goals if not written down. A goal not written down is merely a fantasy or dream. A fantasy is a goal with no energy behind it. When you begin writing it down, it starts to become real. One of the most powerful exercises you can do to help you achieve your goals is to write it down in detail, and describe exactly what it would be like to have that goal. This will help program your subconscious mind to believing you'v achieved it. Another thing you can do is to write down your goals, then put them around your house so that you can see it everyday. This will help you focus on your goals and move you towards them.
4) Make a list of all the ways that you will benefit from achieving your goal.
Your reasons why are what create the desire, as mentioned above, and will propel you towards your goal. Your motivation depends on your motives. Simply make a list of all the benefits, tangible and intangible, that you can possibly enjoy as a result of achieving this goal. The longer the list, the more motivated you will become.
5) Analyze your position, your starting point.
You must first know exactly where you currently are, in order for you to get to where you want to go. If you want to achieve a certain net worth, or lose a certain amount of weight, you must first know where you are today. If you don't know where you are, you won't be able to measure your progress.
6) Set a deadline.
Deadlines on goals increase your chances of attaining them. A deadline creates pressure, which will further motivate you to get the goal achieved. Pressure creates diamonds. It's just like in school where you have a project that is due by a certain date, you always get it done. Without the deadline, you could continue to put it off and procrastinate. If you set a deadline but haven't achieved your goal by that deadline, simply set another one. Just focus on getting it done.
7) Make a list of all the obstacles that stand between you and the accomplishment of your goal.
There will always be obstacles. It's inevitable. You must first identify what they will be before you get started. Once you have your list, ask yourself, “Which is the biggest obstacle of this list?” The answer you come up with is your “rock”. It is this rock that you focus on that will stop you and create doubt and uncertainty. You must learn to change the way you feel about this obstacle, and come up with solutions in advance to deal with it and prevent it from happening.
8) Identify the additional information you will need to achieve your goal.
You must learn what you need to know in order to achieve what you want. If you want to achieve a financial goal, you must learn and study finances. If you want to achieve a health or fitness goal, then you must learn and study health and fitness. Make a list of all the information, talents, skills, abilities and experience that you will need and then make a plan to learn, buy, rent or borrow this information or skill as quickly as you can.
9) Make a list of all the people whose help and cooperation you will require.
This list may include your family, boss, friends, a coach, mentor, banker, customers, business partners, etc… To accomplish most things, you won't be able to do it alone and will require the help from other people. Once you have your list, organize it in a list of priority. Who's help is most important?
10) Make a plan.
Write out, in detail, what you want, when you want it, why you want it and where you are starting from. This is the beginning of your plan. Next, make a list of all the actions and activities you'd have to do to achieve it. Prioritize it as well. Which is the most important action? What will get you there faster?
11) Use visualization.
Create a clear mental picture of your goal having been achieved. What would it feel like? What would it look like? Imagine it in detail and imagine that you've already achieved it. This process is powerful and will help give you the beliefs and confidence that you can manifest this goal. It will become apart of your reality and your subconscious mind will work towards achieving it.
12) Make the decision, in advance, that you will never, never, never, give up.
There will be times when you want to quit and give up. You must not quit at all costs. Never consider the possibility of failure. Decide to keep going, no matter what happens. As long as you refuse to quit and give up, you will eventually be successful. The longer you persist, the more convinced and determined you become. You will finally reach the point that nothing can stop you, and nothing will.
In closing, here's a powerful poem that Brian Tracy shares from an anonymous author.
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debt are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
For life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won if he'd stuck it out.
Success is just failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far.
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit,
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit!
I shared just a glimpse of Brian Tracy's teachings in Maximum Achievement, but there's much, much more. It's a very in-depth book and goes into a lot and more specifics about success and achievement. I love his work, as it's very specific and thorough. He always provides a lot of information and you can tell that he knows his stuff, as he lives it. I highly recommend this book to anyone that's on the path of success and wants to achieve their goals in life. Brian Tracy has tons of books on different subjects, all that are worth checking out. Everything I've read or listened to of his has been gold.
To check out Maximum Achievement on Amazon, click here.