This is a book on self-coaching and it presents tools and ideas on how one can manage oneself to success. The key is to understand how your brain works and hence get it to function the way you needed it to. There are eight keys that the authors identified which is equivalent to the size of one full musical scale. The authors suggested that to be adept at working your brain, one has to be able to harmonise the individual components (the keys) to compose a meaningful whole (the music) the way a musician does with an instrument.
This book was peppered with references to numerous studies, research and exercises that demonstrated that the brain is indeed plastic and that we are able to shape its development with active participation. Although the authors never used the term “neuroplasticity”, the contents here does remind me of Norman Doidge’s work on neuroplasticity. The ideas presented here also seems to resonate with the concept of the Law of Attraction (LOA) and include tips on building your awareness and mindful wakefulness in the various chapters.
The book started by hi-lighting the skills that the authors hoped to inculcate into their readers’ repertoire as well as offered a basic understanding of the structure of the brain. Subsequently a chapter is devoted to each of the eight keys identified – Thoughts, Values, Body, Perception, Vision, Goals, Emotions and Successes. The last chapter explained how these keys could be brought together and mixed to create the life and change you desire. The authors also introduced some tools and concepts that you can implement in your daily life to help readers strengthen their understanding of the individual keys and of their relations to one another. The ultimate aim is to develop a wider and richer set of repertoire the way an accomplished musician would with his instrument.
The first key the authors described is “Thoughts”. If you are familiar with the concept of LOA, it may seem like a repeat of what LOA proponents always believe – that you attract what you think about into your life. Here, I like it that they referred to Stephen Covey’s idea on the circle of influence (where you have the direct ability to change and influence matters)
versus a circle of interest. They explained in definite terms why focusing on your circle of interest is counter-productive and only made one fret and worry unnecessary. I also like how they provide insights on how you can use “open” questions to help develop your creativity whenever you are pondering over your options. Here, the authors also described how Thoughts and other keys such as Emotions and Body can directly influence and reinforce one another. Again, one cannot help but compare this with the Guidance system that most LOA proponents talked about.
The subsequent seven chapters were structured in a similar way as Thoughts. The first few sections would describe what this key is and why it is important. After which, the authors would introduce some tools and exercises to help the reader reinforce their ability to manage each key before they described how this individual key could interact with other keys. I like the Habit Tracker introduced in “Goals” and the Pyramid of Success described in “Body”. However, the ideas in the “Successes” chapter were more hazy and I felt could be further expounded upon.
The last chapter was on integrating and formulating your play. Although an example was provided here, I do find it challenging to identify the mix of keys that I would need to “fix” the various issues in my life right now. Perhaps this could be my own limitation in understanding the individual keys or simply my lack of experience in self-coaching. I felt that the last chapter was a “thrown-in” and found the materials somewhat lacking in specificity.
The authors also included details on how the various parts of the brain works – like the Amygdala and how its reactions and behaviours can negate the changes and opportunities you have. However, some of these descriptions may be too technically challenging to appreciate if you are not scientifically inclined.
In writing this book, the authors had claimed that you can choose to read any of the key independently or to read from beginning to end or even to start at the last chapter. I choose to start with the last chapter which I felt was the essence of this whole book but I was wrong. I strongly suggest that anybody new to the book to read from beginning to end on your first reading.
Overall this was an interesting read. If you are familiar with the concept of LOA, you;ll notice some ideas here resonate with the Law of Attraction. However, the tools and concepts introduced by the authors were easy to apply and useful and I am still working with some of them. I also like how the authors summed up - that the most important thing is to have fun as you work on your repertoire. Whether you are a novice to self-coaching or an experienced practitioner, this book is worth exploring for its ideas and concepts. Or if you were somewhat sceptical of what you have heard surrounding the law of attraction, perhaps this more “scientific” approach to positive thinking may really get you thinking.