“Everybody is a genius. but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid” – – Albert Einstein

All the notes were taken directly from the source mentioned.

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Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

The goal is to get things off your mind and get things done

Clean psychic RAM by doing the thinking when you have the mental vitality and not when you are pushed by the pressure of the moment.

Having a total seamless system of organization in place gives you tremendous power because it allows your mind to let go of lower-level thinking and graduate to intuitive focusing, undistracted by matters that haven’t been dealt with appropriately.

Problem: New demands, insufficient resources

Work doesn’t have clear boundaries

Jobs keep changing

Too much distraction day to day

Ineffective systems create resistance to undertaking even bigger projects.

When values are clarified, we realize much more needs to change.

You’ve probably made many more agreements with yourself than you realize, and every single one of them—big or little—is being tracked by a less-than-conscious part of you. These are the “incompletes,” or “open loops,” which I define as anything pulling at your attention that doesn’t belong where it is, the way it is.

Managing commitments: Roadmap

Any open loops that are unfinished, small or big, must be captured in a trusted system outside your mind

Categorize it (if it’s not actionable, incubate it)

Define the purpose or reasons why you need to do it

Clarify what the level of commitment is

Write in a single sentence with the intended/successful outcome /
(What would it look like when it’s done? Capture features, aspects, and qualities)

Set up criteria to evaluate the outcome (Feedback)

Think of potential obstacles & negative behaviors and ways to overcome them

Set up a potential activity/commitment of lower priority you could eliminate to increase resources if need it (time, energy, focus)

Brainstorm (Mindmap: Don’t judge/evaluate, go for quantity, not quality), and organize in actionable steps (what do you have to do to make progress in the project?)

Decide what the next physical action required to move the situation forward

Make reminders so that you review the system regularly 

Start doing based on intuitive choices

Planning requires enough thinking to solidify your commitment and the resources required to fulfill it

Going through the road map makes the process happen sooner, better, and more successfully.

Why define the purpose?

Defines success: creates decision-making criteria, aligns resources, motivates, clarifies focus, and expands options.

Have a clear picture of how it looks and sounds and feels like.

Then is going to be easier to look for opportunities, we notice only what matches our internal belief systems and identified context.

Why are things on your mind?

You haven’t clarified the intended outcome, next physical action step, or reminders in a system you trust

It is useful when your mind remind you about things when you could do something about them

Managing actions: Allocating your resources

What do you do with your time

What do you do with the information you have

What do you do with your body and focus

Lack of time is not the problem, rather it is the lack of clarity and definition about what a project really is and the next action steps are: Uncover personal and corporate mission, define critical objectives, and details of implementation.

Horizontal control maintains coherence across all the activities in which you are involved.

Vertical control manages the track of individuals topics and projects.

Stages of Workflow

Collect things that grab your attention in the inbox

  • • Every loop must be in your collection system, you need as few buckets as you can get by with and you must empty them regularly

Process what they mean and what to do about them

Organize the results

Review your options


Your best ideas about work doesn’t come often at work

In basket: Inbox (The system must be accessible enough so that you can capture the idea in the next minute)

Process the top item first (Everything gets processed, if you don’t do it now you won’t do it later)

Never let it for an indefinite period in the inbox)

Reference: Useful Information (divided by topic/area or general)

List of projects (defined as any desired result that requires more than one action step) with respective storage for relevant info

Calendar and list of reminders for the next action step and waiting for someone’s response/action

Have the project support material out of sight so that it is not distracting

Calendar: Time & Day specific actions and day-specific info

Sacred territory, if you write something there, it must get down that day or not at all (to do tasks)

Category of waiting for, calls, and activities offline you could do

For Email, create an “action” folder and “waiting for” folder

For business, “Sales relationships in progress”


Calendar: Day landscape

Project specific next Actions

Any time next actions

Projects, Waiting for, Someday maybe -> At least once a week

Someday maybe include

Things to get for home


Skills to learn

Creative expressions to explore

Clothes and accessories



Organizations/Service projects to join

Things to see/do

Weekly review

Gather and process stuff

Review system, make updates, clean, and clear.

How to know what to do next from the list? Trust your intuition

Take into account context, time available, energy available and priority (based on context time and energy available, what action will give you the highest payoff?

Reviewing your work goals

50,000 + feet: Life (Why do you exist)

40,000 feet: 3 year vision

30,000 feet: 1 year goals

20,000 feet: Areas of responsibility

10,000 feet: Current Projects

Runway: Current actions (Urgent stuff)

For people who struggle to have a sense of control at the implementation levels (projects/actions) and struggle with inner trust in their own ability to manage big picture levels create frustration when starting top down. Starting bottom top, might be better to clear psychic decks to begin, allowing creative attention to focus on the more meaningful and elusive visions that may be a to challenge identify.

Key Ingredients for relaxed control

Defined outcomes, with fragmentation of new actions

Reminders and placed in a trusted system that needs to be reviewed frequently

What about unexpected things? Either do them now, or make an agreement on when you will be doing it, and put reminders

Either way it’s important that your full psychic attention is available for the work at hand

90% of project planning is defining the of your real projects and consistently managing your next action for each one**

More to plan? That’s just another action step

Flesh out as much as you need to get it out of your mind

If brainstorming session is fuzzy, zoom out to visualize outcome. If that is fuzzy too, zoom out to the reason why you engaged into the project in the first place

If you travel a lot, set up a micro-office-in-transit

Have you own work space, never shared

Is there anything you would like to change of the office equipment or furniture?

If next step is not clear, there will be a psychological gap every time you think about it even vaguely

Think about doing shortcuts and increasing typing speed

Incompletion trigger list

Projects started not completed

Projects that need to be started

Commitments/promises to others


Professional development


Upcoming events

Clear notes once they become inactive or unreal, don’t let old thoughts around for too long, pretending they’re useful they’re not

“Memos to self” should be treated like any other project. Set up real action steps

Personal Affirmations (i.e., personal value statements)

Job Areas of Responsibility (key responsibility areas)

Travel Checklist (everything to take on or do before a trip)

Weekly Review (everything to review and/or update on a weekly basis)

Training Program Components (all the things to handle when putting on an event, front to back)


Conference Checklist (everything to handle when putting on a conference)

Focus Areas (key life roles and responsibilities)

Key People in My Life/Work (relationships to assess regularly for completion and opportunity development)

Organization Chart (key people and areas of output to manage and maintain)

Personal Development (things to evaluate regularly to ensure personal balance and progress)

How to know what to do?

Check calendar first to know time/space parameters first (What could you possible do, where you are, with the tools you have?)

What’s your level of energy? Match productive activity with your vitality level (Have a list of low-energy activities).
Increase energy by closing some loops

Action Lists

At the end of the day, in order to feel good about what you didn’t get done, you must have made some conscious decisions about your responsibilities, goals and values.

Weekly review so that we can handle our nature of entangling ourselves in more than we have the ability to handle

Block 2 hours in advance at the same time every week (Learn to say no in order to stay afloat and comfortable)

Recommended on Friday afternoon/night (events from the week are fresh, you can reach people if needed before the weekend, enjoy recreation with the mind empty

Process your notes

Empty your head

Review Areas of focus (Parenting, partnering, health, home, financial management, creative expression, etc)

Review Projects: make sure that the very next physical action is clear in each project)

“Any-time action” lists

“Waiting For” “Call” lists

Someday maybe and Bigger Picture (Key goals/objectives, how is your career going? Is this the most fulfilling lifestyle that is possible to have?

Have a whiteboard to brainstorm: Just the act of writing ideas facilitates a constructive thinking process, even if you erase those same thoughts afterward.

Key Principles

Understand the source of negative feelings to tackle them.

Negative feelings come from breaking agreements with you, which disintegrates self-trust: Think twice before making commitments internally to avoid commitments you don’t really need or want to make.

When I asked people with the fixed mindset, this is what they said: “I’d feel like a reject.” “I’m a total failure.” “I’m an idiot.” “I’m a loser.”

In other words, they’d see what happened as a direct measure of their competence and worth.

This is what they’d think about their lives: “My life is pitiful.” “I have no life.”“The world is out to get me.” “Someone is out to destroy me.” “Nobody loves me, everybody hates me.” “Life is unfair, and all efforts are useless.” “Life stinks. Nothing good ever happens to me.” “I’m the most unlucky person.”

When I gave people with the growth mindset the same vignette, here’s what they said. They’d think:

“I need to try harder in class, be more careful when parking the car, and wonder if my friend had a bad day.”

“The C+ would tell me that I’d have to work a lot harder in the class, but I have the rest of the semester to pull up my grade.”

There were many, many more like this, but I think you get the idea.

Now, how would they cope? Directly.

“I’d start thinking about studying harder (or studying in a different way) for my next test in that class, I’d pay the ticket, and I’d work things out with my best friend the next time we speak.” |

“I’d look at what was wrong on my exam, resolve to do better, pay my parking ticket, and call my friend to tell her I was upset the day before.”

“Work hard on my next paper, speak to the teacher, be more careful where I park or contest the ticket, and find out what’s wrong with my friend.”

How could the dad have expressed his frustration and disappointment without assassinating his son’s attributes? Here are some ways:

“Son, it really makes me upset when you don’t do a full job. When do

you think you can complete this?”

“Son, is there something you didn’t understand in the assignment? Would you like me to go over it with you?”

“Son, I feel sad when I see you missing a chance to learn. Can you

think of a way to do this that would help you learn more?”

“Son, this looks like a really boring assignment. You have my sympathy. Can you think of a way to make it more interesting?” or “Let’s try to think of a way to lessen the pain and still do a good job. Do you have any ideas?”

“Son, remember I told you how tedious things help us learn to concentrate? This one is a real challenge. This will really take all your concentration skills. Let’s see if you can concentrate through this whole assignment!”

People can have different mindsets in different areas.

Do consistent experimentation to find what works and what doesn’t.

Negotiations require people to understand and try to serve the other person’s interests as well.

  • Consider why it’s important to understand that people can develop their abilities
  • Think about areas in which you had low ability but now perform well
  • Recall times you have seen people doing things you never thought they could do

Daniel Wile: Choosing a partner is choosing a set of problems.

Low standards in students leads to poorly educated students who feel entitled to easy work and lavish praise.

However, raising standards in schools without giving students the means of reaching them is a recipe for disaster.

Every word and action from parent to child sends a message.

Nobody laughs at babies and says how dumb they are because they can’t talk.

For Reference:

Readings of Aristotle, Aesop, Tolstoy, Shakespeare, Poe, Frost and Dickinson

A tale of two cities

Jane Eyre

Daedalus an Icarus

Complete plays of Anton Chekhov

Physics through experiment and Canterbury Tales

People mentioned:

Alfred Binet (Inventor of IQ test

Gilbert Gootlieb (Neuroscientist)

Robert Sternberg (Guru of Intelligence)

Dorothy Delay (Julliard Professor)

Cindy Sherman (Artist)

Geraldine Page (Actress)

Jackson Pollock

Benjamin Bloom (Educational researcher)

Marcel Proust

Lucille Ball

Bernard Lois (Top Chef who committed suicide)

Michael Jordan

Bon Hogan, Tiger Woods, Mia Hamm (Golfer)

Muhammad Ali

Mike Tyson

Jack Welch (GE), Lou Gerstner (IBM) and Anne Mulcahy (Xerox) and Meg Whitman of eBay”

Books mentioned:

Howard Gardner “Extraordinary minds” -> Individuals with special talent for identifying their own strengths and weaknesses

Benjamin Bloom “Developing talent in young people”

Ellen Winner “Gifted children”

Edward Betty “Drawing on the right side of the brain” (Seeing skills: Edges, spaces, relationships, lights and shadows and the whole)

Daniel goodman’s “Emotional Intelligence”

Twyla Tharp “Creative Habit”

Barbara Sand “Teaching genius: Dorothy DeLay and the making of the musician”

Bethany Mclean and Peter Elkind “The Smartest guys in the room”

Morgan McCall “High Flyers”

Loe Gerstner “Who says elephants can’t dance?” (Book about Self examination, open communication and teamwork).


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