The Code Of The Extraordinary Mind gives you a 10-step framework for success, based on the lives of the world’s most successful people, who the author has spent 200+ hours interviewing.
The first time I heard the name Vishen Lakhiani was when I came across an interview he did with famous internet entrepreneur Neil Patel. Neil is a funny and smart guy, but in an interview, it always takes a great interviewer to make the interviewees best traits shine. I noticed that Vishen’s questions were really good and his tone of voice and how he spoke made sure the audience could always follow along.
After watching the interview I researched him a bit more and found out he had his own education and publishing company called Mindvalley. Focused towards helping students learn more, better and cultivate better habits for themselves, Vishen spent over 200 hours over the past years interviewing successful people, like Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Arianna Huffington and others.
In May 2016 he published the condensed insights of all of these interviews and his own experiences in the form of this book, which gives you ten rules to follow.
Here are 3 lessons, detailing rules 6, 7 and 9:
- You can bend reality in your favor.
- Practice blissipline by focusing on your reverse gap.
- Learn to become unfuckwithable by taking matters into yourown hands.
Ready to code your own, extraordinary mind? Let’s get to work!
Lesson 1: Bend reality in your favor by holding two different visions in your mind at once.
When Vishen was growing Mindvalley, he’d constantly be stressed about meeting certain revenue goals. “How much did we increase this month?” “Should we expand to this market?” For a while he completely forgot how to be happy and have fun.
Striving for constant improvement is important when working towards your dream, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be happy right now. That’s what rule 6 is for. You’ll have to learn to hold two alternate versions of reality in your head at once:
The exciting future you’re working towards.
The reality you’re in right now, with plenty of reasons to be happy.
This’ll make sure you neither get unhappy nor lose sight of your long-term goals. When Vishen started focusing on his happiness right now and made fun a bigger part of his day, he not only stressed less, but even got better business results!
Lesson 2: Focus on what’s called your reverse gap to practice blissipline.
Rule 7 is a reminder to practice blissipline. Blissipline is a combination of the words “bliss” and “discipline” that Vishen came up with after noticing that this feeling of bliss, for example after accomplishing a big goal, rarely lasts long and often fades fast.
In order to prolong this feeling and not end up on a hedonic treadmill, he decided to practice gratitude in a very disciplined way. Sure, you could come up with a list of a couple things you’re grateful for every day (and that’s great, I’ve been doing it for four years), but a particularly powerful exercise Vishen suggests comes from entrepreneurial coach Dan Sullivan. It’s called the reverse gap.
We usually tend to focus forward, meaning we’re looking at all the things and goals we want and work towards. There’s a gap between who you are now and who you will be when you accomplish those things. This is your forward gap. Now, Dan says if you instead focus on your reverse gap, meaning the gap you’ve already closed, the stuff that’s behind you, the things you’ve accomplished, you’ll see how far you’ve already come – and be a lot happier.
You can sure see how this relates to rule 6, because it forces you to not put happiness off to the distant future, yet still acknowledge where you are right now and how far you’ll still have to go.
Lesson 3: Become unfuckwithable by setting goals that are in your control.
Rule 9 is about becoming what Vishen calls “unfuckwithable,” meaning nobody can stop you from making your dreams come true. If you’re unfuckwithable it’ll be impossible to compromise you, to entice you to give up your dreams for money, or for others to put you down with their words and actions. The only person you really can (and need) to depend on is yourself.
As James Altucher would put it: You have to make yourself the only person who controls your dreams.
Vishen says being unfuckwithable has two components:
Setting self-fueled goals, meaning things you can achieve on your own, without depending on other peoples’ feedback, work or input (like writing 1,000 words a day as opposed to getting 10,000 readers for your blog).
Realizing only you have what it takes to make this happen and taking 100% responsibility for everything in your life (even the things you can’t influence).
Stop trying to do things that require gatekeepers to let you pass and blaming your parents, your financial situation, your childhood or your friends and you’ll see that you are much more in control than you thought.
My personal take-aways
I have mixed feelings about this one. Yes, all of these rules and practices are good and helpful in general, but no, none of them are groundbreaking. It’s cool that Vishen comes up with his own terms for things, but at the same time he’s rehashing old ideas a lot. Let’s put it this way: if you’re new to self-improvement, this is a very good book, which gives you the most important ideas and concepts in a nutshell. If not, this might feel a bit fluffy. In that case you can just pick the rules that you think are worth following (which is another one of the rules in the book itself :)).