Brian Tracy is one of the premier motivational/professional development speakers in the U.S. today. He has written several books and given hundreds of seminars (and continues to do so) on the subject(s). FOCAL POINT is his latest offering; a self-proclaimed process previously available only to his private clients who "unhesitatingly" paid thousands of dollars for his private coaching. While I have no doubt about this fact (that clients have paid thousands of dollars), this represents a bit of unnecessary commercial hype. Regardless, Mr. Tracy's reputation and knowledge base command attention.
The Focal Point Process is simplistically defined as self-analysis (introspection) of the actions/areas generating the best results in various aspects of one's life and those actions/areas consuming inordinate amounts of one's time yet generating moderate-to-poor results. After this bit of introspection, Tracy informs the reader to apply "Zero-based Thinking" to each activity: "Knowing what I know now, if I were not doing this now, would I start it up again today?" In other words, even though I perform this task/duty periodically, if I had the choice to start again, would I continue to perform this task/duty? This type of conceptual thinking is truly the poignant theme within the book and, in my opinion, germane and applicable to most.
Tracy leaks in more commercial tripe with the lead-in, "Double your income, double your time off" on page 9. This "claim" is based on the well-publicized yet empirically correct 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule stipulates that one spends 80% of one's time generating 20% of one's results while 20% of one's time is spent generating 80% of one's results. With a few general exceptions, this rule is accurate, particularly to one's professional life. Tracy then takes this concept a step further and says if one were to 'concentrate' on the 20% activities and eliminate the 80% activities, one will have the capability to "double your income, double your time off." Not an altogether dismissive thought yet, once again, commercial.
The meat of FOCAL POINT is then spent on identifying the various Focal Points ("X" marks the spot is his mantra) in the reader's life, illustrating the concept of Zero-based Thinking to each area and finally proposing application of the 80/20 rule to each. While this is repetitive in nature, it is a reasonable roadmap to develop a personal/professional foundation for future achievement. In many ways, Tracy takes our current day modeling guru, Anthony Robbins, to task by implying that success can be achieved through self-analysis and introspection and modeling the 20% tasks (as opposed to Robbins' theory of modeling other successful individuals). This is a solid concept.
On page 199, Tracy reaches the finality of his coaching by providing the reader with his "Seven Lessons for the 21st Century" as follows [paraphrasing]:
1. Life gets better when you get better,
2. Where you've been doesn't matter; only where you're going,
3. One must fail to succeed,
4. Freedom comes through development of options,
5. See the good out of every problem or difficulty (i.e. learn the lesson),
6. You can learn anything you need for success through proper goal-setting, and
7. The only limits to success are within your mind.
These "lessons" do not cover any new ground in personal/professional development theory. However, Tracy does provide the reader with a backdrop for practical application and, ultimately, realization of one's goals. A fitting summarization to the book's message.
For anyone new to personal/professional development theory, this is an outstanding book for gleaning conceptual foundations. My only warning is don't EXPECT the "Double your..." theory to come to fruition without much trial-and-error. For those learned in the theories, it is a reasonable refresher and provides a new spin for condensed introspection.
Worth the read.