Barking up the Wrong Tree

Barking up the wrong tree by Eric Barker is a wonderful book which is well researched. It is a refreshing take on success with science backed research. This has also become a Wall Street Journal Best Seller. Here are the key lessons I gleaned.
Know yourself First you have to define what success means to you. You have to understand what your strengths are and focus on that. There are filtered vs unfiltered leaders. Churchill was the unfiltered leader. He was the one who took on Hitler as he came back from the wilderness and his services were only needed during a crisis. So if you are unconventional that’s fine. Understanding what works for you is the key.
Pick the right pond
Once you know yourself you then need to find the environment that works for you. For example decide what work will help your strengths. Decide a career based on what you know about yourself.
 Be gritty
Grit is hanging in there when the going gets tough. A lot of us have dreams but achieving them requires a lot of grit. Grit is passion and perseverance towards long term goals. There is a nice formula shared in the book which is WOOP. First define your dream or wish, second define the outcome you want, define the obstacles you will encounter while pursuing your dream and finally put a plan to overcome that. You should also learn to quit the things for which you have no interest or doesn’t give you any pleasure. It is nice to learn the piano but if it is too tedious you are not going to gain anything by being gritty here. Remember the willpower you have will be depleted so don’t deplete it on activates that don’t add to your life.
Be a giver
Obviously the best book on this subject is Adam Grant’s Give and Take. Basic thesis is that being a giver doesn’t hurt you. Networking is about friendship and giving to your network solid value.
Here Martin Seligman’s research is sighted in detail. Optimists see bad events as temporary, they don’t take it personally and they don’t think this will impact everything in their life. A positive way you explain things to yourself is a key to happiness. Also gratitude is the best key to the kingdom of happiness. Find things to be grateful for.
Happiness, Achievement, Significance, Legacy
First happiness determines if you are happy with what you are doing. Second achievement determines if you are achieving what you want. Third do you feel significant doing it? Finally are you leaving a legacy? These are excellent questions to ask as you journey towards your best life. Write your own eulogy and live by your highest values.
Schedule everything and have a quitting time
Here the example of Cal Newport is given. Schedule everything that needs to be done on to your calendar. This is an increasingly common practice suggested by time management experts. Also have a definite quitting time for every day. This is one of the best ways to overcome stress.
Finally at the end of your life it is the relationships that matter. For example Ted Williams achieved great professionally and all he thought about was baseball. The same cannot be said if his family life was successful. So remember there is always a trade-off that you need to do to achieve what you want. I think it is more important to be balanced than be the best at something with the cost of your health or relationships.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and it is a worthy addition to the success literature. Thanks for reading this post. The views expressed here are my own and don’t represent my organization.


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