Maximum Achievement by Brian Tracy
One Line Summary
Personal development boiled down to one book
One thing I’ve realized is that the majority of people do not believe achievement is a science.
They view achievement as this “shotgun” approach. It comes to you randomly and inconsistently, and there’s just not much you can do about it.
The scary thing, at least initially, is to actually admit that this is not true. Because if achievement is a science, that means your excuses for why you can’t do it are bullshit. It would mean you have to face your fears.
Because it’s a lot easier to just say “people get lucky”, the science of achievement remains outside the scope of mainstream consciousness.
However, nothing is being hidden. If achievement is a science, Maximum Achievement is a foundational textbook for Success 101. And anybody could theoretically buy it.
Brian Tracy is a huge name in personal development. He has written book after book on the science of achievement, but this one is perhaps the most impactful.
It’s not a long book, so this review is going to be pretty short. But what is said here could drastically send your life in a new direction if you let it.
Why it’s Awesome
Here are some of my favorite topics from this book:
What is self-esteem really according to Brian Tracy? It seems like this sort of esoteric thing. But it’s actually pretty simple.
Self-esteem is about loving yourself for exactly who you are. It’s not about overcompensation or living in your comfort zone because those are typically signs of low self-esteem. Rather, you’re enjoying growing and squeezing what you can out of life because you feel you deserve it.
What some people don’t understand is that self-esteem isn’t just this thing that feels good. It’s likely the number one ingredient in anyone’s long-term success and happiness.
Why is it so important to Tracy? Because you cannot love anyone more than you love yourself, nor can you allow love in greater than you think you deserve.
Realize also that when Tracy says “love”, he doesn’t just mean a romantic type of love. “Love” in this case we could just mean the wonderful things we all want in life, e.g health, wealth, relationships and happiness.
So a corollary to “you can’t allow love in greater than you think you deserve” would be “you can’t allow in a life greater than you think you deserve”.
Are you starting to see how significant this is to your success? Think about it.
How many opportunities have you had to get what you want, but you failed to make it happened? And how many of those times were you the greatest barrier?
If you’re honest, you’ll admit it’s a lot.
Now you might be thinking “But why would anyone not allow good things into their life? That doesn’t make sense”. And I agree.
The problem is that people are not aware of how much their self-esteem is effecting their decisions. I’ve found that people who are born in a low income area often just unconsciously assume that this is how good life can get for them.
Sure, other people may go off and become successful. But they don’t think that’s for them, and anything better truthfully terrifies them.
You have to understand just how much we seek homeostasis, i.e comfort, in our lives. People will destroy any chance they had for success in a second for comfort and stability.
So self-esteem is how much good you can allow into your life, and it’s how much good you feel is right to bestow upon others.
How do you get self-esteem? By doing the right thing.
Have you noticed how rare it is that people do the right thing? I don’t mean that in a moral sense, I mean that thing you know you should be doing deep down, but refuse.
When you don’t do the right thing, which is what ultimately will contribute to you living a more positive, healthy and happy life, your self-esteem suffers.
Why? Because it reinforces a belief about yourself that you don’t deserve that life.
If you truly thought you deserved it, you would just do it.
Fortunately, the reverse is also true. When you do the right thing, it reinforces that you do deserve that thing, which results in you taking that action more often.
Low self-esteem can therefore be a brutal cycle to pull out of. But the way out remains the same: do the right thing, no matter how hard, because you deserve it.
Tracy is huge on goal setting. In fact, many life coaches I know still use his gold-standard for setting goals in their client’s life.
I know in the spiritually community goals are sometimes looked at like they’re this low-consciousness thing. And maybe when you get to Enlightenment Level 3000 and you turn into an angel that will be true. But for me, I love goals and I love goal setting.
Without goals, we might as well all just be sitting around doing nothing. And why I understand that’s appealing at times, to me it seems to take the whole point out of experiencing life.
Tracy argues that your goals must have these components:
- You goals cannot conflict with each other
- Those who stay in their comfort zone due to low self-esteem will not access maximum achievement
- Tangible and intangible. You should be able to see your goals with your eyes and feel it in your emotions
- Different time spans. Set goals not only for today, but for next month, next year, five years, 10 years and 20 years
- Continually set goals. You are a force of nature that must continue to grow, so don’t stop setting goals once you achieve them.
I didn’t create Vision Quest as a joke! Visualization is one of those things that highly successful people constantly hammer on.
Clarity gives you so much power it’s ridiculous. Honestly, if all you ever did was just get clearer and what you wanted, your results would go through the roof. I try and take this to an extreme level.
I don’t just want to set a goal of moving to a new city, I want to know the room number of the apartment complex.
I don’t want to “be rich”, I want to have $250,000 in the bank by 12:30 PM on 1/1/2018. And I’m going to spend X% of that money on these specific items and save Y% to invest at this later time.
That’s how you do it. Fuzzy desires get fuzzy results. You want to be like a laser beam.
Does that mean you’ll always get what you set as a goal? Not necessarily. There’s a lot of factors at play here. But when I have gotten clear, it has made all the difference.
Tracy has a nice section in here purely devoted to people skills. He talks about the importance of genuine compliments, listening and many other charisma staples. A nice primer for eventually diving deeper into social dynamics.
Become A Loving Person
Tracy finishes off the book with a look at perhaps the deepest question of all time: what are we doing here? What is the purpose to existence?
To Tracy, the answer he found was to become a person who embodies unconditional love. What unconditional love looks like, he didn’t much say. But I believe it ties back into what I was saying earlier about self-esteem.
Self-esteem is related to unconditional love. Remember, we said you can’t love anyone more than you love yourself. So if you don’t love yourself, how could you show unconditional love?
Why Does It Suck
For people advanced in personal development work, you’ve probably heard all this before. Brian Tracy paved the way for many modern gurus, so you’re bound to hear a lot of these ideas repeated.
The Wrap Up
Great book for people just getting into personal development, and great for those who are looking for a refresher on some of the core principles.
Get it without fear.