I stumbled upon Anthony Moore while searching (online) on generating income as a freelance writer. It was an eye-opening article, The 4 Best Ways to Earn Income Writing in 2018 (and the 3 Worst) that he wrote in Medium (a writers’ platform) that instigated me to find out more about him.
As I dug deeper into Anthony’s profile, I discovered that he was more successful as a motivational (personal growth and self-improvement) writer on Medium (and book writer) than he was as a blogger. (Prior to being a successful writer, he had managed a blog for four and a half years that earned him a cumulative, paltry sum of $40!)
What he wrote on his journey as a writer piqued my interest because his views differ from those of other freelance writers I previously read about.
Many recommend beginners to start a blog, which would present as an identity for the writer and a platform to showcase his/her portfolio. I had been contemplating for some time on the necessity of starting a personal blog, even before establishing oneself as a writer (regardless of which genre you choose to be in).
Despite the hype about blogs being able to help in your business, Anthony’s story proved that blogs might not work for everyone.
But this post is not a debate on “to have or not to have blogs”. Rather, I’m going to share my thoughts on Anthony’s book, nuggets of knowledge that I took away and possibly apply in my own freelance writing journey, and also the difference between this book and other self-improvement publications that I came across.
What Extraordinary People Know was released in August 2019 and I got to know about it as I had signed up as a subscriber in Anthony’s email list.
I have to admit that I wasn’t immediately attracted to the title because I thought it’s a little cliché – one of those self-help/personal improvement books you read, you get initially hyped up about the ‘techniques’ written in the book, only to find your energy and spirit wane as you find it hard to keep up (in trying to achieve your set goals).
But I did my due diligence. You guessed it – I “Googled”.
I searched for reviews as I believed that with thousands of followers in Medium alone, surely Anthony would have garnered much support for readers to buy his book.
I was right. Even after just a week of releasing the book, I could already find close to 100 reviews on Amazon. Most gave the book a five out of five. Hmm….that’s good to know.
What Made Me Buy
Knowing that most buyers rated the book five stars does not tell me what I could get out of the book.
So I read the summary and the first sentence “Being stuck in mediocrity sucks” hits me.
I could identify with “mediocrity” but I never considered myself “stuck” nor find being mediocre “sucks”.
Few questions ran through my head though:
- I am not stuck in the mediocre zone right? Or … am I (just that I don’t know it)?
- Is there more to my potential that I’m not aware of and haven’t yet capitalized?
- If there’s a better place than being in the “mediocre” zone, how do I get there?
These questions I had were enough reasons for me to get the book. After all, those other buyers who rated the book highly must have found it useful.
How’s The Book?
I bought the book and started reading it as soon as it came in the mail.
Ah…It’s hard cover! Great, because this means it’s unlikely to turn into dog ears at the corners, even with my hyperhidrosis-sufferer hands!
In the beginning, I thought that this would be one of those books I would place aside and forget as soon as I finish the last page. It would occupy a spot on my bookshelf, not to be touched unless someone asks to borrow it. But I was wrong.
It’s a page-turner. I couldn’t put the book down. For the first 80 pages or so, I only stopped reading because my half-closed eyelids were getting too heavy for me to pry open (I read before I went to bed).
I got hooked. Reading the first few pages, I could identify with what Anthony was saying – that most people live “bearable lives”.
Case in point: I AM living a contented life with a loving, close-knit family comprising a wonderful husband and daughter. Our home is almost fully paid for and we go on holiday for about twice a year because we can.
But … as happy as we are as a family, I feel we have not made any significant impact on other people’s lives. We have not contributed as much time nor money (as we’d like) that would make others’ lives better.
My hubby and I often talk about charity work but it almost always ends in “We’ll do that after we retire”. The thing is work and our daily routines consume us. These take up so much of our time that by the end of the day, we would often be too exhausted to even think about others’ welfare.
Like Anthony said in the book, I believe we are caught in the mediocrity trap – we are “ok” in our comfort zones, our present jobs, and we are too afraid to rock the boat. Result: we are not much better than we were five years ago, as far as giving back to society is concerned.
Getting Into System Rather Than Setting Goals
Then I learned that while we set goals to achieve something, not many of us break down how we can achieve those goals into small, do-able steps that we can really take action on.
Anthony suggests that instead of setting goals, we should design “a system that produces consistent progress every day”. This system would help create a conducive environment towards achieving small progress consistently.
An example would be the desire to lose weight. One can start by choosing healthier meals and drinking more water, subsequently, adding an exercise routine like brisk walking. This compares against making totally drastic changes to your meals and starting on a jogging routine when you have never set foot on a treadmill before.
Setting a system of small-step, do-able action helps us avoid over-thinking or procrastinating about what we want to achieve.
Another good takeaway from the book I thought is in the way we acquire the knowledge relevant to our pursuit of success.
As incredulous as it sounds, many of us may not realize that we often take advice from the wrong people – those who are not exactly in the position we want to be.
This thought leans towards having a relevant mentor who can guide you to what you want to achieve.
What really I like about the book is how Anthony presents the process of achieving something in a simple, light-hearted, yet impactful manner.
I believe this book is a good read even for a teenager, wanting to do better in school.
Although I find that there’s nothing extraordinary about the ways in which Anthony presents his thoughts on achieving success, such as setting small steps or getting the right people to learn from, his book would propel you into taking action to get out of the “mediocrity trap” towards your potential.
Reading the book, I also realize, there are three common elements that extraordinary people experience towards their success :
- Having an effective mentor
- Networking with the right people
- Sheer hard work