Famed executive coach Marshall Goldsmith presents a blueprint for achieving the most challenging thing any adult can do – changing your personal behavior. He and co-author Mark Reiter explain why your “environment” makes the change so difficult. They warn of situations, events and people – even sounds – that can set you off, derail your efforts to change and cause reactions you come to regret. Negative behaviors can make you miserable. Few adults succeed in making a significant behavioral change, but this manual describes how to do it by understanding your triggers and taking control of them. Filled with folk wisdom, this heartfelt guide – by the authors’ admission – states and restates the obvious to reinforce its lessons. You may have heard some of this advice before, but following it is what matters.

Why I read this book  

There is always an “ideal me,” and then there is a real me. My life vacillates between these two. I want to finish a novel I have been writing, I want to have a social media following, etc. I want to get away from my anger, and there is plenty of other ideal picture of me. But the gap has never been bridged, and the ideal me always evades from the “real me”. Clearly, I need help with this, and it’s good to talk to someone who has a lot of experience in this field.

So what’s this ideal me. This ideal me is a person who I aspire to become. This ideal person exactly knows precisely what’s good for me and what’s not good for me. How can I be successful, likable, respectable and most importantly how can I be happy? 

And then there is a real me, who lack the discipline and consistency to implement all the plans which will make me an ideal me. I want to lose an extra 5 kgs – that’s ideal me. But I don’t stick to the diet and exercise regime and end up not losing weight. The ideal me knows that anger is not good for anyone, but the real me gets angry often. The ideal me knows that I need to have a lot of mental fortitude to succeed in Sales. This ideal me knows precisely what exactly he should be doing in the workplace, but still, the real me succumbs. 

I know that my behavior is not per my plans and all I need is a coach who can guide me to achieve this. This book was that coach.  

Key Takeaways 

  1. Some of the reasons why people don’t change are Overconfidence, Stubbornness, Magical Thinking, Confusion, Resentment, Procrastination. There is one reason which is higher than all the other reasons – that’s called environment
  2.  Environment plays a significant behavior in triggering the desired behaviors
  3. Our environment is a non-stop triggering mechanism whose impact on our behavior is too significant to be ignored
  4. The connection between our environment and behavior can be understood as a way we give and receive feedback. It teaches us to see our environment as a triggering mechanism
  5. Encouraging triggers push us to maintain or expand what we are doing. Discouraging triggers push us to stop or reduce what we are doing. 
  6. Forecasting is what we must do after acknowledging the environment’s power over us.  It comprises of three interconnected stages: anticipation, avoidance and adjustment
  7. Good things happen when we ask ourselves what we need to create, preserve, eliminate and accept  – a test  few of us self-administer
  8. Daily questions and marking our efforts on the scale of 1-10 act as a commitment device which helps us make accountable by reflecting not just what we have achieved but also the effort we have put in.  We tend to ignore or underestimate the effort which we put to achieve our desirable behavior
  9. We don’t get better without structure. Structure means planning our day in advance and bringing in some predictability in our environment. Structure not only increases our chance of success, it makes us more efficient at it.
  10. Our environment is full of hidden triggers that share everything we say and we do. This can make creating change difficult, but by becoming aware of triggers, we can create new responses to them. Through self feedbac, active queston

Why should you read this book

If you are a kind of person who is highly motivated in everything you do, you are self-disciplined and can seamlessly implement all your plans then you should not read this book.

This book for people who have little motivation and really want to bring a meaningful behavioral change in their life. This book touches upon why we don’t become the kind of person we want to be, why we fail, what role the environment plays in triggering our behavior. And how can we change those behaviors or create a kind of environment around us to trigger the desired behavior?  By environment, the author doesn’t just mean changing external arrangements or going on a spiritual path through meditation, etc.  By environment, it merely means a certain kind of arrangement which we can create around us so that with the least possible efforts we can trigger a type of behavior we want.

This is definitely not a book which you can merely read and forget. Treat this book as a coach who will help you bring you back on the trail of the pursuit of becoming the desired person.

Closing Thoughts 

There is no formula that anyone can suggest you and of course the author is also not trying that. We definitely have to find out our own motivation our own way of doing things. There is a difference between understanding and doing. Just because people understand what to do, doesn’t ensure they actually will do it.

There is no formula that anyone can suggest you develop the desired behavior.  We know all know and very well understand what needs to be done. But there is a difference between understanding and doing. Just because people understand what to do, doesn’t ensure they will actually do it.

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