To help kick off the book, here’s a deceptively simple question for you to reflect on: How do you determine whether a day of your life went well?Chapter Two, Page 12
In a nutshell
When productivity expert and best-selling author of Hyperfocus, Chris Bailey had a crippling anxiety attack on stage, he realized how stressed and burnt out he was. In his quest to get to the bottom of how he got there, he uncovered a critical missing piece to mastering productivity; Calm.
In How to Calm Your Mind, Chris takes us along on his journey to discovering calm. He explores the impact of our analogue and digital worlds, our desire for dopamine, hidden sources of stress, busyness and more.
Book Club Notes
When Zissy saw this book after I had read it, she said woa that’s a lot of tags. I tagged it 75 times to be exact. That is to say I enjoyed it. A lot of what he wrote (at least 75 points) resonated with me, and given today’s working world, I think it will likely resonate with you too.
I can’t say there were any foreign or radical ideas presented, but the contents are framed in an angle I haven’t seen before. I’ve suffered from burnout; I constantly see people around me suffering from burnout and anxiety has become a buzz condition. Chris Bailey approaches calm with the goal of more purposeful productivity, which is a way of life I think we can all stand to gain from.
With 75 paragraphs tagged, it’s hard to imagine there would be a clear standout but there was. When he introduced what he calls the “Accomplishment mindset” it was the aha moment for me. It’s this mindset that leads to the lack of calm which leads to decreased productivity and an overall frazzled state of being.
What is the accomplishment mindset?
Although the accomplishment mindset is not inherently negative, when it takes over how you view everything, it sucks joy out of your life.
As Chris explains, “When you see everything you do through the lens of the accomplishment mindset, everything in your life looks like something you have to get done. In this way, an accomplishment mindset compromises how much joy you experience each day.”
As we grow up and responsibilities pile up, we are conditioned to measure our time and worth against accomplishment. But how do we define accomplishment? More is often viewed as more. Chris explains that at the accomplishment mindset’s deep source, is our relentless pursuit of more. He defines the mindset of more as “a set of attitudes that drive us to strive for more at all costs, regardless of the context.”
Moral of the story? The mindset of more leads to the accomplishment mindset. The accomplishment mindset leads to lack of joy and burnout. Burnout does not only lead to exhaustion, but also causes us to become cynical and unproductive and ultimately unengaged.
Calm is important because ultimately it helps you to achieve more. To be calm, is to be present and to be truly productive you need to be present.
You feel frazzled, anxious, and unproductive. You’re into self-improvement and are looking for calm and more control over how you run your life.
Writing – 8/10
Applicability – 9/10
Timelessness – 9/10
Shareability – 9/10
The Nitty Gritty
A note on our book ratings
Readability: How easy is it to read and understand what the author is saying? Do you need a dictionary or PhD to understand it?
Writing: How well written is the book? Do you find yourself wowed by the writing or unimpressed?
Applicability: How applicable is this book to daily life? Is there enough advice and actions that are easy to start applying?
Timelessness: Is the content of the book timeless or is it something that in a few years won’t have relevance?
Shareability: How likely are you to share the book?