By @SimonCocking Head Start – Build a resilient mindset so you can achieve your goals, by Ian Price is published by Pearson, priced £10.99.

What’s stopping you from reaching your peak?

We all aspire to succeed in work and life. According to Abraham Maslow, once our basic needs such as food and shelter are taken care of, we want to fulfil our potential, to be the best possible version of ourselves.

So what prevents us from achieving this? Some of us are beaten by the setbacks and challenges that life inevitably scatters across our path. For others, the fear of failure or lack of confidence can cause us to retreat into our comfort zone and avoid risk. In short, we simply give up and reconcile ourselves to disappointment. In work, this can lead to demotivation and disengagement.

Whatever inhibits us from fulfilling our potential, there is now a remarkable groundswell of scientific research from the disparate fields of sports psychology, positive psychology and neuroscience. Elite athletes such as tennis player Johanna Konta have increasingly been exposed to this science. This has helped them persist in pursuit of their goals with passion and determination and has helped them bounce back from the inevitable setbacks that they encounter. 

This book aims to cut through the theorising and simplist positive thinking mantras to give you real, actionable steps that you can take to help you achieve the things you want to. Naturally the cynic might ask how on earth you actually do this, but Price works hard to lay down a series of specific actions, exercises and strategies to do so. One of the simplest, and yet most challenging issues is the smartphone, and it’s proximity and level of interuption and intrusion into our lives. The classic battle between urgent and important plays out every second of our online, connected lives. Price reminds us that notification updates are highly addictive, and usually counterproductive.

While very few of us have ‘Crack Berries’ anymore, the concept has now gone mainstream, and it is no longer a small minority to be found grabbing screen time in the urinals, bus stops, walking along etc etc. Price wisely suggests disabling as many of these status updates as possible, and also reminds us that on many phones it is possible to put the world on hold, while still allowing the really important callers – family, children etc to reach us.

Similarly he addresses the dwindling value of unfiltered TV watching, and indeed internet browsing, and reading the news in particular. While it is good to be informed and up to date, as the world’s media has moved to a rolling, 24/7 approach to breaking news, this is not actually very informative or helpful for our own lives. Especially if we are aiming to be more productive.

We enjoyed this book, it has a lot of smart ideas, some common sense, some more nuanced, but all aimed at helping you to reclaim your creative energies, and to achieve focus above the noise of an always on world.

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