Quick note on self development. Don’t call it self help. People who are immature or have a fixed mindset will ridicule you for it. They will get the impression you are a loser in life looking to self medicate with books. The fact that anyone wants to become a better person is commendable. Also, development information is like taking a pill for an ailment. The key is to take the right pill for what ails you. With that said it’s OK to accumulate knowledge as long as you don’t become an armchair quarterback that hoards knowledge without taking any action. Remember my story about teaching Salsa, I tell students they need to practice for 2 hours for every 1 hour of class-time. That is an absolute minimum. If you don’t take action on what you learn, why bother learning? Why read car brochures if you aren’t going to buy one?

The Big Leap – Conquer your fear and take life to the next level by Gay Hendricks
Take the Big Leap into your Zone of Genius.
2 big takeaways from the book:
When you operate in your zone of genius you are performing at your optimal level, using skills you are uniquely qualified at, and enjoying it every step of the way.
We have an upper limit problem that kicks in when we are doing well. The problem is we self sabotage.

Some books will give you techniques you can implement in just a few hours and improve your skills in whatever you are seeking to do. There are other books that teach skills or communicate ideas that are not as easily implemented. This does not mean the concepts are flawed or the author is not good at explanations. What this means is that the skills are more difficult to master or maybe the point is more nuanced. The book The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks in my opinion follows the latter type of book. The author is teaching a technique in his book that works with the subconscious. Such skills I find more difficult to master because the subconscious isn’t as easy to put your finger on as say the conscious mind. For example, cognitive therapy is straightforward to many people because it deals with modifying the conscious thinking you are aware of. These problems dwell above the surface and are usually in full view. To contrast this, the subconscious is a more elusive medium to work with. It can take people weeks, months, or years to get a handle on some subconscious problems. Many people struggle with subconscious issues their entire lives, never resolving them. I once saw Tony Robbins use NLP to cure a man of a stuttering problem he had his entire life with a 1 hour session. I was amazed how Tony was able to reach in and identify the subconscious problem that was driving the man to stutter. It wasn’t a brain defect or learning disability, it was a behavior pattern that developed as a child and continued through his life.

Even though I don’t see Gay Hendricks mention he is practicing NLP, I can detect it in his techniques.

The Upper Limit Problem kicks in when we are doing well. The problem is we self sabotage.
The key idea with the Upper Limit Problem is that when you attain higher levels of success, you often create personal dramas in your life that cloud your world with unhappiness and prevent you from enjoying your enhanced success.

Each of us has an inner thermostat. When we succeed beyond a certain point, the thermostat kicks in and self-sabotage starts.

Common ways of upper-limiting yourself:
1. Worry. Sometimes we feel worry is productive. It never is. Worry is mental energy expended over something where you have no control.
2. Criticism. Criticizing others can be a distraction to a bigger problem. Or lack of empathy.
3. Deflection. You did great! No I really sucked. Rather just accept the complement and move on.
4. Arguing. Competing to be the victim. Irritability. Lacking empathy. Picking fights to distract or get attention.
5. Illness and injuries. Obviously, some are real, but many are produced by our own minds to punish, protect, or prevent something.

4 thermostat triggers:
Feeling Fundamentally Flawed: Something is wrong with me.
Disloyalty and Abandonment: Doing well leaves others behind.
Believing That More Success Brings a Bigger Burden: Being successful raises expectation of me.
The Crime of Outshining: Success makes others look bad.

The author outlines these 4 specific thermostat triggers. However I bet there may be more. For example, Impostor’s Syndrome where we feel we don’t deserve to be in a specific role that is above what we are use to performing in. I find it intriguing that we would self-sabotage like that. I must admit I have done this before. In highschool I cheated on a Spanish vocabulary test so that friends would think I was cool. Sad thing was I got caught, and funnier still is that I knew the words – I had no reason to cheat. I would add that, the subconscious could think you are going in the wrong direction – maybe achieving success in an endeavor that is not congruent with your goals or values, then self sabotage to force you to pivot. I feel there are many categories of self sabotage, more than the 4 that the author outlines in the book.

When you operate in your zone of genius you are performing at your optimal level, using skills you are uniquely qualified at, and enjoying it every step of the way.

The author discusses the 4 zones of competence and how we perform in each one.

The Zone of Incompetence: Everything we’re not good at. Delegate or find a creative way to avoid them.
The Zone of Competence: Things you can do but so can others. Delegate as well. Commodity.
The Zone of Excellence: Things you do extremely well. You do well here except that you are missing your opportunity to truly excel. Also commodity.
The Zone of Genius: Your unique strengths. You love to do this. Not a commodity. You can create a brand, generate momentum, and become a leader here.

Working in the zone of genius is like working to your strengths (Marcus Buckingham).
The author promotes that one must say no to most things and only say yes to working in your zone of genius. This is like The One Thing (Gary Keller).

Other miscallaneous points made in the book:

“Fear is excitement without the breath.” Fritz Perls

Basically what you resist, persists.

Have the difficult conversation. “sweaty 10 minute conversation”

Use a mantra to help eliminate negative self talk. “I expand in abundance, success, and love every day, as I inspire those around me to do the same.”

“Newtonian time” vs “Einsteinian time” time. The author talks about how one can make more time for themselves in a mystical way. I think this is silly, but you can affect how you react to the circumstances. For example the author uses an example of a man late for a meeting riding the subway. The author believes if one is calm and thinks they have more time then they can bend time, creating it out of thin air. I disagree with this idea. Instead I choose to interpret this as a metaphor for why sweat the small stuff and the stuff outside your control. No need to get all worked up about being late on the subway, what is done is done. However if you can get up earlier for the meeting, you can be a master of time by preparing sufficiently.

I need to make a comparison to this book and The Secret. Like this book, The Secret has a part that is real and one that is imaginary (one I disagree with). The Secret states that if you wish into the universe, then the universe will manifest your wish and make it happen. I don’t believe in supernatural nonsense, so wishing into the universe will not create tangible things or events. However I do believe in positive intent. You must make it real in your mind before it can be real in life. But the next step is not to sit and wait for a benevolent universe to do all the work. It’s your job to make it happen. Self fulfilling prophecy is when you think something will happen, then do things (maybe at a subconscious level) to make it happen. I truly believe in the power of positive intent. Your will can make things happen, as long as you follow up your thinking with action.

Placebo is a real thing, so real that all studies now have a double blind or some comparison to placebo or base. This means that perception can be very real. Your mind can change things to an extent, or at least give you the perception of change. Not to get into a deep discussion of placebo here, but I think the metaphysical and “mystical” way that this book describes some things acts as a placebo, as does inspiration when spoken by spiritual leaders.



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Keith Ledig

Keith Ledig


Making your life better every day with tips to improve health, wealth, and relationships. Home of the Super Smart Guy podcast!