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The Achievement Habit

Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life

By Bernard Roth
12-minute read
Audio available
The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life by Bernard Roth

Big dreams that never come true? Long list of things to do but you spent half the morning on Facebook? The Achievement Habit (2015) is all you need to light a metaphorical rocket under your desk chair. With its down-to-earth revelations and simple instructions, it’s easy to apply to the life you already have, and bound to get you closer to the life you want.

  • Anyone who feels stuck
  • People with a life goal but no plan
  • Chronic procrastinators

Bernard Roth is a professor of engineering and the academic director of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University. He is one of the world’s pioneers in robotics and an expert in kinematics, the science of motion.

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The Achievement Habit

Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life

By Bernard Roth
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
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The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life by Bernard Roth
Synopsis

Big dreams that never come true? Long list of things to do but you spent half the morning on Facebook? The Achievement Habit (2015) is all you need to light a metaphorical rocket under your desk chair. With its down-to-earth revelations and simple instructions, it’s easy to apply to the life you already have, and bound to get you closer to the life you want.

Key idea 1 of 7

The Achievement Habit is about closing the gap between what you want and what you do.

Anyone can become an achiever. But first, you have to learn how to just do things.

Think about how many people dream of starting their own company, but end up working for someone else. Well, you can learn to close the gap between what you want to do and what actually gets done.

Look at it this way: there’s a fundamental difference between trying and doing.

Imagine you want to take something from someone’s hand: merely trying gets you bupkis – the other person sees you reaching and strengthens their grip. In this case, you didn’t use enough force and you didn’t act quickly. If, instead of trying, you had simply done, the other person wouldn’t have had the time to resist you.

The point is, the only obstacle is you. Everything else is just an excuse or a mental limit. If you’re not happy with some aspect of your life, you can change it.

Because here’s the thing: life is basically an exercise in problem-solving – and that’s not a bad thing. Problems are opportunities to learn and move forward. And learning how to use problems to your advantage is exactly what the Achievement Habit is all about.

One important aspect of the Achievement Habit comes from Design Thinking, a set of practices designers often use in their work, namely an openness to failure.

Failure defines pretty much every success story. Even Oprah was fired from her first job as a television anchor. But failure didn’t stop her, it motivated her!

Of course for most of us, motivation is the hard part. School trains us to work in order to earn high grades and degrees, but there are no report cards in life. So in adulthood, most of us have to train ourselves to be self-motivated.

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