Most people use a small portion of their intelligence and creative abilities. The challenge is to tap into our unused potential and accomplish much more. That is the basis of “The Other 90%: How to Unlock Your Vast Untapped Potential for Leadership and Life” by Robert K. Cooper.
Cooper presents four keystones to using the other 90 percent.
- Trust – building and sustaining exceptional relationships
- Energy – increasing your calm effectiveness under pressure
- Farsightedness – creating the future
- Nerve – exceeding expectations
Building the four keystones is presented as a series of inspirational stories, exercises, thought-provoking questions and techniques to adapt. There is no one thing that will magically unlock all of your potential.
This book is like a lot of educational opportunities. What you get out of it depends on the effort you put into it. For some it will be a pleasant read. Others will find it a waste of time. With little effort, most will find some suggestion or piece of advice that rings true and motivates them to make a change. A few will make a major breakthrough.
You may benefit more from the book if you read and discuss it with a friend. Or take the course based on the book that is sometimes offered by the HP Learning Center.
I’m not getting a major breakthrough, but I found a few things in this book worth remembering.
- Use all 3 of your brains.
- Give others the recognition they deserve.
- Take strategic pauses and essential breaks.
- Improve your posture.
- Emphasize your strengths and manage your weaknesses.
- Regularly take time to think about the future and your goals.
Cooper says we should use all 3 of our brains; the one in our head, our heart and our guts. The 3-brain concept is based in neuroscience. When we get butterflies or a knot of tension in our stomach that is our guts talking. Our heart is where feelings live. We have to feel our values and goals to live them. And of course the brain in our head is the logical one.
Strategic pauses and essential breaks help us relax and increase our energy. I’m sure you’ve noticed how you feel refreshed after a break. A strategic pause lasts less than half a minute and is taken every half hour. An essential break is at least 2 or 3 minutes long and occurs at least twice a day. Relax your breathing. Look across the room and give your eyes a rest (this is important to prevent eyestrain if you work at a computer). Check your posture. Sip ice water, the cold water stimulates the production of energy. During an essential break, have a low fat snack to increase your energy and metabolism. This helps stabilize your blood sugar levels which keeps your energy level higher.
Poor posture saps your energy. Since reading the book, I frequently find myself slumped in my chair at the computer. And I do seem to have more energy and feel better when I maintain a more erect posture. Cooper says that over time, you can train your body to maintain the correct posture.
I’m not unlocking the other 90 percent of my abilities, but hopefully I’m unlocking another 1 or 2 percent, which would be a 10 to 20 percent increase in usage. You can do it too. It takes a series of small steps to reach your goals.