Author: Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Les Hewitt
Published: HCI (March 1, 2000)
Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen created the popular "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series, and Les Hewitt founded the "Achievers Coaching Program". This review covers their personal development book, "The Power of Focus".
The Power of Focus is an easy to read, comprehensive self-help book. The blurb on the front boldly states "How to hit your business, personal and financial targets with absolute certainty". The book itself provides easy to follow methods for improving your own focus, spread over ten chapters.
Each chapter is a focussing strategy, which guides you through a method of improving your focus. The ten strategies cover the following areas:
The first chapter explains how most of our behaviour is based around our habits, and walks you through the process of identifying bad habits in your life. It also gives a strategy for replacing these bad habits with healthier and more productive ones.
The next chapter covers a variety of subjects, from learning to say "No", to the "4-D" solution to task management (the common "Drop It, Delegate It, Defer It, Do It" method).
The end of the chapter goes through the steps to find out your work strengths, so that you can concentrate on the things you do best.
Setting goals is the focus of chapter three, and it describes the ten things that every goal should have. Most of these are pretty obvious, but it's a good primer if you're intending to set some heavy duty goals.
Once the process of setting good goals is out of the way, we move on to creating a personal "Master Plan", which is a chart to help you achieve all of the goals you set in a realistic time frame. It breaks down goals into seven categories, which I covered in "Keeping a Progress Log, Part II". Using these categories ensures that goals are balanced between work and play, and that no area of your life is being overlooked.
It's important to lead a balanced life, and this section of the book is dedicated entirely to the "b-Alert" system of creating balance. It's a very simple system, and I've described it in more detail in my post "Keeping a Progress Log, part II".
Relationships are covered in detail, and two techniques are given to identify patterns in positive and negative relationships. These patterns can then be used to help maintan existing relationships.
The rest of the chapter covers advice on "toxic" people, and discusses the benefits of "win-win" thinking, before moving on to strategies for choosing a good mentor and creating a "mastermind alliance" - a group of like-minded people that can discuss their progress and encourage each other.
Fear is the biggest block to being self-confident, and often stops us from achieving our full potential. Several techniques for overcoming fears are given, along with a plan of action for forgiving past mistakes which may be holding you back.
This ties in with the previous chapter on confidence, and describes the many benefits of asking, as well as the reasons that people don't ask, such as a fear of rejection. Tips are given on how to ask, and the closing action plan guides you through the stages to set a plan for asking.
Successful people have something called "consistent persistence", in that they consistently move toward their goals regardless of obstacles that get in their way. This chapter looks at the psychological difference between "have-to" tasks, and "choose-to" tasks, and how this difference can affect how we feel about performing certain tasks.
Onto everybody's favourite problem - procrastination! We all do it at some point, and this chapter attempts to explain why we procrastinate, and more importantly gives tips on how to overcome it. Once this is done, it rather curiously drifts in to discussing money and the rules for creating wealth.
The final chapter of the book covers "living on purpose", and gives the steps to find, state and develop your life's purpose. The closing closing action steps take you through creating a "stop list", which is a list of all the things that are stopping you from reaching a higher "level of being". This discussion of bad habits leads us nicely back to the start of the book.
At the end of each chapter is a set of "action steps" that will help you to implement what you have read about. Some are not as in-depth as others, but you would be hard pressed to read the entire book without learning something new, or at least improving an existing technique.
The book is sprinkled with quotes, success stories and even the odd cartoon. Important lessons are highlighted so you won't miss them, and chapters are nicely summarised at the end.
I found the book easy to read, and enjoyed some of the success stories sprinkled throughout the book. It's quite obvious that you're reading a book from the authors of "Chicken Soup for the Soul", which may or may not encourage you to read it.
Of particular interest were the "action steps" at the end of each section, which make it really easy to implement any of things you've learned. I've already implemented some of these in my own life.