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Book:  Not a Life Coach

Author:  James Smith

Purchase:  Print | eBook | Audiobook

Citation:  Smith, J. (2020). Not a life coach : push your boundaries, unlock your potential, redefine your life. London: HarperCollinsPublishers.

Three Big Takeaways:
  1. Many diets don't just fail because of a lack of willpower and temptation, but because of the environmental factors and the people who surround the dieter. “Go on, just one won't hurt,” from the unsupportive partner. “Oh, but it's the weekend, relax!” We see this with relationships where perhaps there's a gap between the ambitions of each partner: “It's the weekend, you shouldn't be working.” or: “It's getting late - put your laptop away.” The people you surround yourself with are either the wind in your sails or a headwind you're standing against. (pg. 7)

  2. In the world we live in, we punch up, not down. The sentiment that ‘you never get put down by people above you in life’ has helped me deal with my own fear of failure and the rebuttal that usually comes hand-in-hand with it. (pg. 29)​

  3. I personally don't consider myself to be very smart or intelligent, but I do see myself as being very open to learning, and that's what being a student is all about. If you can read, you have the opportunity to excel beyond most learning from the mistakes of people you may never meet. To neglect this opportunity to me is to limit your learning, which puts nothing between you and someone who can't read. (pg. 229)


Other Key Ideas:​

Right now you're currently living in the part of your life you used to look forward to the most and I bet you don't ever, for a second, give that enough thought to fully realize it, do you? (pg. xix)​

Marriage is based on partnership, love, happiness, and wanting to share the great memories of life together. Yet so many are unhappy. So why do so many stay together? Because they've already invested so much in the marriage. Therefore, the decision is made based on the time spent in the relationship or the marriage, not the quality of it. I know that divorce costs a fortune, but think of the cost of living an unhappy life or wasting time - the most valuable commodity of all. (pg. 43)

Realize that sleeping on a futon when you're 30 is not the worst thing. You know what's worse? Sleeping and a king bed next to a wife that you're not really in love with but for some reason you married, and you got a couple kids, and a job you hate. You'll be laying there fantasizing about sleeping on a futon. There's no risk when you go after a dream. There's a tremendous amount of risk to playing it safe. (pg. 46)

Being open to learning something each day has not only influenced what I learn and how I learn it, but has also improved my health and quality of life. Every ounce of knowledge has been entirely self-taught. I am just someone of normal intelligence who enjoys the feeling of that eyebrow raise when you read something interesting. That's it, that's all I chase. That moment when you drop your shoulders and think, “wow, isn't that interesting.” If I get at least one of those a day, it makes me happy. (pg. 79)

I have over a million followers, a best-selling book, and a million-dollar online business. You think I have the confidence to ask a stranger for their number, but I still get nervous every time. But then my inner-optimist pipes up, “what is the worst. They may have a boyfriend. Or, they may not text you back. Worst case scenario, you complimented a stranger. Best case scenario is they say yes, even if you get ghosted down the line. Either way, you went for it – you won't be mocked, you'll be admired as a go-getter. (pg. 124)

This wanting distraction more than development culture is something to worry about. YouTube, Tik-Tok, and Instagram provide constant hits of dopamine, while books, audio books, and podcasts, could all provide just what your mind craves to realign your values. I feel we're bypassing the human psyche with social media, and although short-term it could get you buy, I don't think the long-term implications are healthy. (pg. 151)

Starting a family or not is also a choice, although society and family pressure often push us in the direction of having children, and there is a sense of not having succeeded on some level if you don't toe the line. It's like you failed the biological purpose of being a human if you decide not to have children. Having children because you should is not the same as having children because you want to. (pg. 197)

Right now, we're all in the middle of the part of our lives we used to look forward to the most and all we're doing is putting things off, gambling in the hope for something better, and with no guarantee it's going to be that way. We put a pause on our aims, objectives, goals, waiting for the right time, when the stars will align. But the harsh reality is they probably won't, and our situation will remain very much the same. (pg. 199)

When it comes to having anxiety leading up to a competition or a performance, it's all about the “Sweet Spot.” If we can get into the mindset that some anxiety is welcome in certain events, it makes the entire management aspect of it so much easier. Try to embrace that feeling and know that other people feel it too. (pg. 225)

Having my teeth done was probably one of the best decisions I've ever made. In a world where people judge very quickly, even if you seconds and social media is the difference between someone deciding they want to listen or they want to move on. I'm not advocating that everyone should have perfect teeth, but it's important to know that your appearance is a big factor in other people's subconscious bias. (pg. 236)

With every sentence I am instilling information in the mind of someone who needs it. There is a butterfly effect in life with each and every life-form on the planet. For me to give a few minutes of my time to change the course of a few hundred for the better is not something I take lightly. I'd like to think my life is a ripple of information, attitude, and approach that can continue throughout the years after I'm gone. (pg. 238)

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