The one sentence summary

Life will always throw you curveballs but it’s how you respond that counts.

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  • At some point we all face the unexpected, but if you understand your own psychology and deploy the right strategy, you can turn any setback into something better.
  • Most difficulties are less to do with other people and more to do with the way you react. This is linked to your colour type based on the DISC model: Dominance = red, Inspiration = yellow, Stability = green, Compliance = blue (see summaries of his other books). You need to see the warning signs and stop making excuses.
  • We all have a tendency to focus on the negative because of our innate survival instinct, and we can escalate a minor problem into a serious crisis in just a few minutes.
  • Self-awareness will lead you down the right path. You need to dare to notice what doesn’t work, make changes, and adapt with a new attitude.
  • Knowledge is not power – it is potential power. What you are capable of is irrelevant, and so is what you know. The only thing that matters is what you actually do. You have three basic responsibilities:
  1. Everything you do: your decisions, your actions and how you do them
  2. Everything you don’t do: what you refrain from, willpower and resisting temptation
  3. Your reaction to everything that happens: your attitude to events that you can’t influence, and using restraint when you would rather react (possibly inappropriately)
  • Being grumpy and constantly complaining is referred to by lecturer Jorgen Oom as sawing sawdust – there’s nothing left to saw. Ironically, what we complain about is usually something that we have the power to change, and yet we don’t do anything.


  • Hersey and Blanchard looked at how someone progresses from being a happy amateur to a full-blown professional. They go through four stages:
  1. High will, low skill: full of energy without really knowing what you are doing
  2. Low will, low skill: nothing works and you’re about to give up
  3. Low will, high skill: you start seeing light at the end of the tunnel but still hesitate

4: High will, high skill: it finally looks like you are going to manage and go the distance

  • To cope with setbacks, try the 5+5 rule: if something won’t make a difference in 5 years’ time, then don’t spend more than 5 minutes being upset about it.
  • Next time you experience a setback, pause to think about the potential possibility that it creates.
  • Laterville is inside every person. It’s the comfortable place where you haven’t changed anything or got on with an improvement in your life.
  • The universe couldn’t care less who intends to do what. All that counts is what you actually do.
  • People have many defence mechanisms to avoid responsibility or action, which include repression, intellectualization, disassociation, rationalization, projection, displacement, humour and denial.


  • Not much. There are now four books on these themes and there is some overlap, but the advice is sound.