Most of the self-help books have a similar structure; “Have a vision,” “Be positive,” “Work a lot” and “Be Successful.” This one does not. It is practical and pragmatic.
The main theme of the book is personal change. The authors researched the people who have realized a change in their lives. In this book, the authors formulate the secrets to that change. Before the formula, however, they underline that there is no off-the-shelf answers to our one-of-a-kind challenges. We are unique. Together with this, the plan for change should be unique or, in other words, the plan should be personalized.
The authors describe their formula as the six sources of influence.
The first one is “Love what you hate.” A change is usually difficult because there is always something that people don’t like to do, studying, for example. A lot of students want to be able to study to improve their grades in school. However, they do things irrelevant to school. Studying is simply boring for them. If they don’t change this mental map, they cannot study. It is the same for losing weight. A lot of people prefer to consume more meat and carbohydrates, which are high in calories, and consume fewer vegetables. This way they cannot lose weight. They have to love vegetables.
The second source of influence is “Do what you can’t.” We may not be able to do something; however, it is not because of our character, but because we lack a certain skill. We can develop a skill in order to do what we were unable to do in the past.
The third and fourth sources of influence are the same: “Make friends out of your accomplices.” The authors make a very good point here. Good and bad habits are a team effort — they require lots of accomplices to get started and to be sustained. If you love fast food, you surely have friends who love fast food just like you do. If you don’t like to study, you surely have friends who don’t like to study as well. We have to change our friends. Our new friends should be the kind of people who actually practice what we want to do. And we have to limit the time we share with our old friends who support our old ways and bad habits.
The fifth source of influence is “Invert the economy.” A lot of people do not think about the consequences of bad habits. Take fast food, for instance. It is the cheapest food available in most countries. Consuming fast food may look like it is a form of saving; however, in the long run, if you consider the health expenditures of fast food, it is quite costly. Because of high cholesterol and fat you may have plenty of health problems that cannot be easily overcome. Not studying does not cost the individual money right away, but academic success as a result of studying might generate a lot of money. A Harvard graduate can start at $200,000 a year.
The sixth source of influence is “Control the space.” Our environment controls us. If you are surrounded by bad food, you will definitely consume bad food. Too many snacks available in your office means you eat them. If there is a TV, game console or a DVD player around, you will surely use all these technological devices and thus spend your valuable time in doing so. However, if the only foods available are fruits and vegetables, you eat them. There is a simple cause and effect relationship. If you want to control your life, you have to take control of your surroundings. Your environment may be an ally rather than an enemy. This book might help anyone learn to have an effective plan for change in order to achieve success in his/her career, in losing weight, recovering from an addiction or in making a new start in a relationship.