The book contains ideas and tools that are open in the field of personal achievement, outlined in simple language and ready for practical use.
Some of the techniques may be familiar to readers, while they are first collected in a single system.
The book “Maximum Achievement” is on how to:
- release the greatest unused reserves of your hidden potential;
- concentrate on your goals and achieve them;
- maintain a harmonious relationship with other people;
- succeed and be happy.
Reflecting on the path to happiness and success, Tracy gives an analogy with a combination lock.
To open it, you need to know the right combination. It may take years, or even a lifetime, to select it. This book is a combination of the right digits to the combination lock. The synthesis of the experience of those who have already done what you are going to and have achieved what you are striving for.
The author is confident that these ideas work for several reasons: he tested them through trial and error for many years, and also taught this system to more than a million people and saw how it works for every person who is ready to seriously apply ideas in their personal life.
Born in a poor family, Brian Tracy left school at 16, worked as a laborer, and traveled to 80 countries in 8 years. He always wondered why some people are happier than others.
He studied psychology, philosophy, religion, metaphysics, motivation and personal achievements. For 20 years, he learned from his own and others’ mistakes, observed, studied and tried ideas in practice. Having achieved material prosperity, he decided to combine all his knowledge of success into a single system and give people a tool that can save many years of hard work.
In 1981, he created the “success system” in the form of a two-day seminar entitled “The Inner Game of Success”. By 1985, the demand for the seminar exceeded the author’s ability to conduct it. Video materials were published and people trained by his professional teaching.
The video version of the Phoenix Workshop on the Psychology of Achievement was translated into twelve languages and presented in 24 countries, becoming a bestseller. The book “Achieving maximum” was published in 1993 in response to the requests of many thousands of listeners to state the concept in writing.
Brian Tracy is convinced that by starting to practice these principles in your life, you will achieve the success that you never dreamed of. Your future will be limited only by your imagination.
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CHAPTER 1. The seven components of a happy life and mental laws
The most important of the lessons given in the book is that you cannot hit a target that you cannot see. In other words, if you are serious, decide what exactly you want. Knowing exactly what you want is a common feature for all successful people. This is a powerful motivator that moves you forward.
The clearly formulated goal will help form the components of an ideal life. According to the author, this is peace in the soul, health and energy, love relationships, financial freedom, lofty goals and ideals, self-knowledge and self-awareness, a sense of self-realization.
The first practical task: create a clear picture of where you are moving, visualize your goal. Think and decide what will make you the happiest in all areas of life?
Imagine an ideal lifestyle. Do not think about how you will achieve what you want. Focus on seeing your ideal future.
The whole Tracy system is based on three principles:
- Life is complicated. And everything worthwhile takes time and effort.
- What you will achieve depends only on you. This is your choice. If you want to change your future, make the right decisions.
- You are able to learn everything that is needed to achieve your goal. Limitations are only within you. This is the most important principle.
The author proposes to consider the book as a reference guide, helping the reader to get the most out of himself.
There are two types of laws in the universe: laws created by humanity and laws of nature. The latter, in turn, are divided into laws of physics and mental laws. Both mental and physical laws are valid 100% of the time; they cannot be “circumvented.”
- The law of control. You treat yourself as positively as you control your life. And as negative as losing control over it, being under the influence of external forces. Control of your life begins with thoughts. Taking control of your own life is one of your most important responsibilities.
- The law of cause and effect. Every consequence in your life has a reason. There are specific reasons for success, as well as for failure. Your thoughts are the root cause of all that you have and will have. We always get from life what we invested in it.
- The law of faith. Everything that you ardently believe in becomes reality. The angle of your vision depends on your faith and beliefs. All incoming information is edited by faith, discarding what does not correspond to it.
- The law of expectations. You get from life what you expect from it. Positive expectations lead to positive results. There are expectations of our parents, the boss, your own expectations from others (children, spouses, subordinates, colleagues) and your own expectations from yourself. The latter are so powerful that they can suppress the negative expectations of other people from you.
- The law of attraction. You attract people and situations that are being in accordance with your thoughts into your life.
- The law of conformity. Your outer world is a reflection of the inner world. Observe what is happening around you and you will be able to understand what is causing you to do this.
- The law of mental equivalence. All your thoughts materialize, becoming reality. Everything present in your life is created by your thoughts. Be responsive to your thoughts, change your thinking, and you will definitely change your life.
The practical task. Using these laws, analyze your thoughts that have affected your life today. Look honestly in all areas – relationships, health, career, financial success, the quality of the inner world. Having determined in which areas you limit your thinking, you can move on to self-improvement.
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CHAPTER 2. Self-Concept
In the book, the author uses the concept of self-concept. This is a set of ideas about yourself and about each of the components of your life. This is an extremely important element of the entire Tracy system. We achieve in life what is consistent with our self-concept.
Self-concept consists of a series of “mini-self-concepts”. They control the effectiveness of your actions and behavior in each area of your life. This is your ideal image of yourself, the image of yourself in the present and a sense of dignity (your level of self-esteem; it depends on how much you love yourself, accept as you are, and how you evaluate your own effectiveness).
Self-love and self-esteem – the key to a happy relationship with others.
The author identifies two rules of self-esteem and self-love:
- it is impossible to love someone more than yourself;
- You should not expect someone to love you more than you love yourself.
Self-concept is formed in childhood. The task of parents is to raise a child in conditions of an excess of love, tenderness, and encouragement. Such a child will be aimed at a positive attitude towards life already in early childhood.
Children learn in two main ways – imitate parents and move from discomfort to comfort, from pain to pleasure. A simple example of discomfort is a lack of love or parental approval. Tracy writes that most of the things you do in life are done in order to achieve love or to compensate for its absence.
Along with the pursuit of approval, Tracy highlights the fear of rejection. This is the second main reason for failure and lack of achievement. It is peculiar to those whom parents “loved with conditions” in childhood. Such people are too worried about the opinions of others.
As a result of mistakes in upbringing (for example, destructive criticism or punishment), the child loses inborn fearlessness and impulsiveness, starting to develop negative habits – responses to everything that happens to him. These habits become part of the self-concept, turning into zones of comfort.
Tracy recommends using “constructive feedback” instead of destructive criticism. To do this, you need to gently treat another person, focus on the future and on finding a solution, talk about your feelings, be specific, offer help and always proceed from a positive assumption about a person.
The main thief of our happiness is fear. Fear of failure and fear of rejection, rooted in childhood, set the upper and lower limits of our comfort zone. The antipode of fear is love. The more you love yourself, believe in yourself, the lower the risk of failure. The process of overcoming one’s own fears begins with the repetition of words with great power, again and again: “I like myself!”
CHAPTER 3. Start Working on Yourself
To achieve more, you must become a different person. Change your goals, thinking, develop a new own image. There are obstacles to happiness and success.
The first is within you. This is a comfort zone that will pull you back and slow down in development. The second obstacle is psychosclerosis. Start using the word “how” instead of “is it possible?“, change the habit of looking for excuses for finding opportunities.
In second place in the power of influence after love is the power of suggestion. Suggestive environment – everything that happens around and inside you, it has a tendency to negativity. Create a positive mental world corresponding to the life you are striving for, manage your suggestive environment.
Tracy identifies three mental laws that play a crucial role in effectively reprogramming his brain and changing his own future.
- The law of habit. Everything that you do is the result of a habit, including habitual modes of thinking. Your successes and failures depend on them.
- The law of practice. Any repeated action or thought becomes a habit. Take control of your mind, practice good habits, and your inner world will begin to attract other situations in the outside world.
- The law of emotions. All 100% of the decisions you make are based on emotions, the main ones of which are desire and fear. All your actions are determined by one of them.
Your new self-concept is formed under the following conditions: your sincere and strong desire to change internally; a real desire for change in your life; willingness to make efforts for this.
Tracy identifies 7 ways to control his mental life.
- Visualization. Everything that you imagine becomes reality. To do this, your visualization should be frequent (constantly think about what you are striving for), clear, intense (combine emotions in one mental picture), long in time (try to keep the picture in your head).
- Affirmations are commands of consciousness to the subconscious. They should be positive, relevant, personal.
- Verbalization – pronouncing statements aloud in front of other people or alone. “I can do it”, “I can do it” – here are some examples of strengthening my confidence.
- The performance of the role model. Behave according to your ideal image, as if you had already achieved your goals.
- Nourishment of your brain with words and images that correspond to your direction of development.
- Positive communication. Remember the power of suggestive influence. The people around you affect your life.
- Training others. You own the material as much as you can teach others.
Choose one positive habit that you would like to develop and use the described control methods for 21 days.
Having developed one important habit on your own and having proved to yourself that this is possible, you will gain confidence in your strengths and unlimited possibilities when achieving any goal.
CHAPTER 4. Consciousness and Subconsciousness
Tracy believes that everything that happens to us is largely determined by internal processes, and external experience is a reflection of internal mental patterns.
To represent the work of our subconscious, Tracy suggests visualizing two balls attached to each other, for example, a basketball ball and a golf ball on it. Basketball – subconscious. Both parts are interconnected, but their areas of activity are different.
Consciousness is like a programmer entering information; it determines which task to solve.
The subconscious mind is a computer that processes information. Accordingly, the self-concept is software that defines life results. They depend on how much you understand the special computer language and use it.
The main functions of the subconscious are the storage and delivery of information. It does not think, does not draw conclusions, but only obeys the commands of consciousness. The subconscious mind remembers our comfort zones and causes a feeling of emotional and physical discomfort with every attempt to do something in a new way.
To better understand the principles of our brain, the author considers three laws:
- The law of subliminal activity. Any idea or thought that consciousness accepts as truth will also be accepted by the subconscious.
- The law of concentration. Everything you concentrate on is increasing in size.
- The law of substitution. Consciousness can hold only one thought at a time. This means that you can replace negative thought with positive.
Tracy divides the process of achieving any desired state into 5 steps:
- Verbalization. Affirmatively state the desired outcome for you (for example, “Everything will be resolved safely”).
- Visualization. Clearly present the desired result.
- Emotional coloring. Arouse a sense of satisfaction that would accompany the result.
- Release the situation. Switch your mind to other things.
- Implementation – the materialization of a decision, the fulfillment of a plan or the achievement of your goal.
Make a wish list. Write down your dreams, give complete freedom to your imagination.
For the next 24 hours, think and talk only about what is listed. Check if you can live one whole day without criticizing, without judging, without complaining. This exercise will help you evaluate at what stage of development you are and what path you have to go.
CHAPTER 5. Your Success is Equal to Your Goal
The key value in the book is given to the ability to set goals. Tracy cites the “success mechanism” and the “failure mechanism” as an example. The failure mechanism works 24 hours a day. The goal includes a success mechanism.
The goal-setting algorithm is simple: decide what exactly you want. Then determine the “price” that you have to pay in order to get what you want. Then decide if you are willing to pay it. As soon as the desire/goal/dream is paid, you will get what you wanted.
On the way to reaching the maximum, the principles for determining goals are essential.
- The principle of congruence or compliance. Bring goals and values in harmony with each other.
- The “strong” area. Find the area in which you are perfect, which you like best and succeed best.
- The concept of diamond placer. Opportunities are often disguised as work. Take a look, maybe the very opportunity under your feet.
- The principle of balance. To achieve maximum, it is important to have goals in key areas of your life. Personal goals, family, physical (health, for example), mental, intellectual, goals for training and self-improvement, career and financial, spiritual goals aimed at developing the inner world.
- The main goal in life. It can be distinguished by asking the question: “What goal, if achieved, will help me to achieve all the other goals to the greatest extent?”.
Choosing a central goal is the starting point for success.
In determining his life goals, Tracy recommends following a few important rules: goals must be in harmony, support and strengthen each other, challenge you, be different (tangible and intangible, qualitative and quantitative, short-term and long-term), measurable.
An ideal life is concentrated, full of goals, positive and organized so that every hour and every day you move towards important goals.
Practical task (write on paper).
Identify 5 core values in your life. Rank them from the most important to the least important. Formulate your three main life goals at the moment. When answering this question, keep within 30 seconds.
- What would you spend time on if you had six months to live?
- What will you do if you win a million dollars in the lottery tomorrow?
- What to buy, how to change your life?
- When answering this question, keep within 2 minutes.
- What have you always wanted to do, but were afraid to try?
- What do you like to do? What activity do you get the most satisfaction from?
- What goal would you set for yourself, knowing that you cannot fail?
Along with setting goals, it is equally important to be able to achieve them.
Tracy shares a 12-step system to achieve goals.
- Arouse a strong, burning desire. It is a great desire to achieve a goal that raises us above fears and makes us move forward, overcoming obstacles.
- Start with realistic goals. If the goal will significantly exceed your ideas about their capabilities, the subconscious mind will not take this goal seriously. Be honest with yourself to admit: if a goal deserves to be achieved, then it also deserves a patient and persistent work.
- Write everything down on paper. Thus, you turn your goal into something concrete and tangible.
- Make a list of all the benefits that result from reaching your goal. Reasons are precisely the forces that move you forward. The more reasons you have, the higher your motivation. With 20-30 reasons to achieve the goal, you will overcome all obstacles.
- Analyze your starting position. Evaluate how your current situation corresponds to what you are striving for.
- Set a deadline. The goal should be limited in time. Determine the date by which you want to achieve the goal, and do not go out of the way.
- Identify possible obstacles to the goal. Designate the “ultimate step” – what you need to start with so that everything spins. Pay attention to the size of this step – you will understand how quickly you can move towards the goal.
- Decide what additional information you will need to achieve the goal. Make a list of what you need, decide how you get it, and act.
- Consider whose collaboration you require. Remember the law of compensation – other people will help you if they feel that they will receive any compensation for their efforts. Help others and you will be helped too.
- Make a plan – a list of actions in order of priority and chronology. Acting, improve it, make adjustments. Detailed development, constant review and refinement of the plan is important to achieve your personal goals.
- Use visualization. Clearly imagine what you want.
- Decide in advance that you will never back down. Having decided not to give up until the goal is achieved, you begin to use the method of continuous action. Everything negative that you encounter is part of the “perseverance test”. It reveals how great your desire is, whatever it may be.
CHAPTER 6. Superconsciousness on the Service of Your Goals
Tracy claims that amazing power – superconsciousness – works to realize our goals, dreams, and desires. It is a source of pure creativity, inspiration, motivation, a universal mind. History knows a lot of examples when people in different parts of the world come to the same idea at the same time. This is due to the connection to superconsciousness. Starting to use its capabilities, you can get ideas from the air.
Superconsciousness responds best to clear commands (“positive affirmations”) and works in a mental climate created by faith and approval. Any negative emotions slam the mind tightly. Sometimes superconsciousness confronts us with a series of barriers or learning situations to train us. Once the lesson is learned, you will rise to the next level of your development.
Superconsciousness works best under two conditions.
The first is a situation in which your mind is 100% focused on a specific task.
The second is a situation in which your consciousness is occupied with something completely outside. Apply both approaches to everything you want to achieve.
The most important law in Tracy’s book is the law of superconscious activity. It unites all the others. Its essence is that any thoughts, plans, goals or ideas, both positive and negative, constantly held in your mind, are necessarily embodied in reality by your superconscious mind.
There are several ways to stimulate superconscious activity: a constant reflection on your own goals; privacy and silence; visualization of the goal in the already achieved form; any kind of relaxation or meditation.
One good superconscious idea or insight can replace you for months, even years of hard work. It is when you are very busy that you urgently need to listen to your inner voice.
A superconscious decision sends you one of three sources – intuition, casual contact with people and information, unpredictable events. Having clearly defined your goals, having developed a detailed plan and backing it all up with a positive mindset, calmness and a confident expectation of success, you will activate your superconsciousness.
CHAPTER 7. Take Responsibility for Your Life
One of the most important decisions in life that you must make is to take responsibility for your life on yourself. Refuse excuses and realize that it is up to you who you are now and who you will become in the future.
According to Tracy, responsible people are usually positive and healthy.
Those who are irresponsible are negativists who do not control their lives. This creates a lack of freedom and negative emotions. Tracy calls them predatory, as they kill joy and the pursuit of achievement. Peace in the soul is possible only in the absence of negative emotions. It is imperative to learn how to get rid of them.
Tracy advises the following:
- Remove destructive self-criticism from thoughts and conversations. Stop thinking badly and talking about yourself.
- Stop blaming anyone for anything.
- Do not let others manipulate you with guilt.
- Refuse to discuss the guilt of others; do not engage in gossip.
- Learn to forgive. This is the most effective way to overcome destructive guilt. First, forgive your parents, then forgive everyone else who has hurt you in any way throughout your life, and be sure to forgive yourself.
Make a list on paper of those who have ever hurt you. Read each name and say: “I forgive him everything; I am not angry with him now. ” Repeat these words, two or three times to each person in the list, then discard the sheet. After that, thinking of someone on the list, suppress negative emotion by saying, “I forgive him (her) for everything, I forgive him (her) for everything,” and then direct your mind to something else.
CHAPTER 8. Stress Management
The main goal in life planning, Tracy considers the peace of mind and the exclusion of negative emotions. He sees stress like our own response, a reaction to what happened. The starting point in stress management is taking responsibility for your feedback.
Tracy uses the term “location of control” and shares an effective method for managing stress – the “cognitive method of control.” This means that you are mentally controlling your emotions and responses to various situations.
There is always a price you can pay to free yourself from any misfortune.
The only question you should ask is: “Do I intend to pay this price?”
Never exchange your peace of mind for anything. Pay the price, whatever it is. Later or earlier, you will have to do this.
Your goal is to become a person with a low level of stress and a high ability to accomplish. To do this, use the “cognitive control” method.\
Repeat: “I like myself” or “I am responsible.”
Keep your thinking focused on your goal. If someone else pisses you off, apply the law of forgiveness. Drop the feeling of anger. Your responsibility is to keep you calm and positive, rather than letting different things piss you off and off-balance.
Analyze your life, identify one area in which you experience stress. Write down a clear definition of a stressful situation. Write a list of all the things you can do to mitigate the situation. Systematically go through every area of your life and clarify it. Make every minute of your day a source of pleasure and satisfaction, and inner peace – your highest goal.
CHAPTER 9. Relations with other People and Parenting
One of the important aspects that Tracy considers in the book is relationships with other people. A healthy person with high self-esteem is able to get along with almost everyone and in any situation. One of the components of one’s own happiness is to make someone happy nearby.
Tracy identifies seven constructive patterns of behavior, each of which relates to deep subconscious needs, formed in childhood. It is a need to feel significant and respected.
It will be easy for you to get along with people if you are compliant, smiling, grateful, express approval and use praise (it should be immediate; concrete and, preferably, public).
Admire others, compliment people about their achievements, pay attention – this is the main indicator of how important a person is to you.
Use the boomerang principle. Speak on topics of interest to the interlocutor, do not interrupt and keep up the pace (no monologues), think before you say, be considerate. Respect the secrets of other people, do not burden random interlocutors with your troubles.
Tracy is convinced that for a harmonious mature personality, the ability to enter into close personal relationships and maintain them is important. He believes that no success can replace a healthy personal life.
Tracy identifies six rules for a successful relationship:
- Similar is attracted. The law of attraction works here, which states that you will always be attractive to a person whose relationships and beliefs are in harmony with yours. The key areas where similar views are important in marriage are attitudes toward money (ways of earning, saving, and spending), attitudes toward children (whether to have them, how much to bring them up), attitudes to sex, religion, and attitudes to political and social phenomena.
- Opposites attract, but only when it comes to temperament.
- Complete devotion to each other. It’s important not to consider “alternatives,” but to focus only on how to make your relationship more successful.
- Admiring each other and respect. The starting point of a long romantic relationship is the feeling that you have met your best friend. One indicator of this is how much you laugh together. The amount of laughter measures the degree to which your relationship is healthy.
- Similar self-concepts are attracted and are the most compatible. People with negative self-conceptions will be attracted to each other in the same way as people with a positive vision of the world.
- Good communication is an integral part of the relationship.
There are also major relationship problems that interfere with shared happiness:
- Lack of commitment.
- Attempts to change another person or the expectation that another person will change.
- Jealousy. Everyone needs a sense of peace and security in a relationship, and jealousy destroys our protection.
- Self-pity. Do not force your partner to do or stop doing anything. Take care of your own goals, and you will not have time to spare yourself.
- Negative expectations. Always expect the best from your partner.
- Incompatibility. Signs of this are that laughter and communication leave the relationship.
You can return love to relationships by renewing what you once did while caring for each other. You can become more caring and attentive.
The most important thing in life is love. You must do everything possible to build and maintain a quality love relationship with another person, including listening, expressing gratitude and appreciation, handling kindness, courtesy, gentleness, attention, sympathy.
But if this does not work, have the courage and character to accept the idea that nothing in human life is ideal or unchanging. It is important to accept this, recognize it as a fact. Do what gives you a sense of happiness. Only a happy person can make others happy.
The deepest responsibility that a person can take is parenthood. This is the most important and lasting relationship because your role as a parent lasts a lifetime. The mission of parents is the love and upbringing of children, the formation of feelings of self-esteem and self-confidence in them.
Tracy highlights a number of mistakes made by parents. Parents do not love themselves, which means they cannot give love to their children. Parents love their children little, mistakenly believing that they are obliged to live up to their expectations.
The most wonderful gift you can give your child is to give him the absolute conviction that you love him with all your heart, unconditionally, regardless of what he does, and regardless of what happens.
The main advice from Tracy on raising super children is to tell them that you love them every day. In his opinion, it is impossible to tell a child “I love you” too often. This can be done in words, through the contact of loving eyes, physical contact, focused attention.
If you want to bring up happy, healthy, self-confident children, you need to ask for their opinions, expect only the good from them (say: “You can do this” or “I believe in you”) and set a good example.
The practical task. Assess yourself as a parent through the eyes of your child. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What can you do, from now on, to become a more loving parent? Ask your child what he thinks about this. Listen to his answers and observations.
Do not interrupt. Before answering, pause. Ask questions for clarification. Make a commitment to work on what the child has told you. You can become a wonderful parent by deciding to become one and using the tools described above.
CHAPTER 10. Love is the Most Important Thing in the World.
In the first chapter of his book, Tracy identified seven components of success, each of which is determined by the amount of a person’s love for everything that surrounds him. Your peace of mind, health, love relationships, financial success – all this is determined by the power of love for yourself and other people.
Love is a catalyst that activates all the best that is in you and in the people around you and situations. And also “to love” is an active verb, this is not what you feel, but what you do.
The only true measure of your beliefs is your actions. Approve yourself, regardless of what you have done or said in the past. Take responsibility for your life and the consequences of all your actions. Set yourself worthy goals. Take care of yourself physically.
Raise your self-esteem by repeating “I like myself” until this message is fixed in your subconscious.
Obstacles to knowing and expressing love are negative emotions, especially emotions of fear, anger, guilt, and resentment. Clear your mind and heart of negativity, write a large list of forgiveness to everyone for everything that has ever hurt you.
You cannot change the world, but you can change yourself. Become a person whom you yourself could respect and whom you would admire.
According to Tracy, an expression of love and kindness should be as natural to us as inhale and exhale. This he calls the secret of all time, the main value and the unifying feature of great people.
You can’t hit a target that you don’t see. If you want to achieve the maximum in your life, determine what this maximum consists of for you. Remember that we live in a universe governed by mental laws. Nothing happens by chance. And all that you have now is a consequence of your thoughts, formed habits and responses.
To become different – more successful, happy, healthy, wealthy – you need to learn to think differently. To change yourself. Your new self-concept will be formed under the conditions of your sincere and strong desire to change internally, the true desire for changes in life and your willingness to make efforts for this.
One of the most important decisions in life that you must make is to take responsibility for your life. Refuse excuses and realize that it is up to you who you are now and who you will become in the future.
The most important law in Tracy’s book is the law of superconscious activity. It unites all the others and boils down to the fact that any thoughts, plans, goals or ideas, both positive and negative, constantly held in your consciousness, are necessarily embodied in reality by your superconsciousness. Everything that is in your life, you yourself “pulled.” Learn “mental hygiene”, think positively, and this will be your life.
The most important thing in the world is love. This is the very catalyst that activates all the best that is in you and in the people around you and situations. Tracy writes that most of the things you do in life are done in order to achieve love or to compensate for its absence.
One of the kindest and most useful things you can do for your own children is to love them, to form a sense of self-esteem and self-confidence in them, to help them develop the habit of setting goals and achieving them.
You cannot change the world, but you can change yourself. As much as you want. There are no restrictions. They are only in your head.
Why You Should Read “Maximum Achievement”?
- To understand what it takes to take full control of the future
- To become more and achieve more
- To fulfill your life
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