It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be

It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be by Paul Arden

Time to read: 1 hour

Good for: Personal development, motivation, inspiration

This is a great little book to keep handy for daily inspiration top-ups. It’s small, easy to read, with lots of pictures to break up the content. It’s also handbag sized which is handy because this is just the kind of book you should always have nearby as a quick motivator or pick-me-up. This book is full of tips, motivation and inspiration to further yourself as a person and in your career. Read it during your daily commute (you can read it all in about an hour) or dip in and out of it when you need a dose of inspiration. This is a great book for you creative types. The typography, layout, and artwork are exquisite, and the author uses novel examples and metaphors to get you fired up about excelling in your work. This book will inspire you to push your limits and communicate your ideas at the right level to your clients. It’s a lot of fun.

Don’t be afraid of silly ideas.

Some of my favourite pointers from the book include:

Don’t seek praise, seek criticism

seek criticism

You can only grow as a person and a business if you ask for honest opinions, digest them and work out how you can make it better next time. None of us are perfect and we probably never will be, but we can all make an effort to work towards being better than we currently are. Take risks, accept new challenges, create goals and definitely seek criticism. People find it much easier to give praise than criticism so you will need to seek it out and accept it enthusiastically, no running out the room crying (I’ve heard of this happen a few times!).

Getting fired can be a positive career move

getting fired positive

The book points out that this can be an opportunity to try something new and that it probably meant you and the company weren’t right for each other in the first place. I think as long as you were fired for the right reasons and not for anything bad, then it can definitely be a good thing. When I was made redundant I was personally overjoyed to be able to get out of the rut and try something new. These events are massive opportunities and it’s up to you what you make of them. I’m now working for myself, have masses of creative freedom and I’m also enjoying working on my own side projects.

Don’t be afraid of silly ideas

silly ideas

We all get mental blocks and Arden says the best way to get out of these blocks is to lose your inhibitions and to stop worrying about being right. He suggests doing the opposite of what the solution requires and choosing the next thing you see out of the window as the solution to your problem. There is an example which shows a very popular wine called ‘Fat bastard chardonnay’. It was an international success primarily due to it’s unusual and eye catching name. It certainly stands out from the rest!

Don’t look for the next opportunity. The one you have in hand is the opportunity.



Reviewed by: Lisa Duddington

Lisa DuddingtonI’m the co-founder and head of research at Keep It Usable. I used to work client side within the mobile ux industry before I decided to help others through my agency. My original background is in Computing and Psychology (BSc) and Human Factors and Ergonomics (MSc). I’ve now racked up over 10 years experience helping the worlds biggest global brands, and I also love to help newbies via my role as a UXPA mentor. I’m always working on side projects too – if there’s something you want to collaborate on, get in touch 🙂

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