Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Shift: 13 Exercises to Make You Who You Want to Be

I've just finished a new book called "Shift," by Takumi Yamazaki.  I hadn't heard of the author before, but apparently he is a very well-known Japanese author who's sold over 800,000 books and is a self-made millionaire.

Shift Cover Image 186x300

The subtitle of Shift is "13 Exercises to Make You Who You Want To Be," and I think that's a very appropriate description of what you'll find inside.  This book is essentially a set of guided thought sessions to help you identify your goals and set specific plans in motion to achieve them.  In each section of the book, you will find a set of stories and advice, accompanied by short (but very deep) exercises to focus your mind and get you to write your thoughts down.


Each section is described in terms of a "Shift," through which you change your outlook on life.  For example, the Shift 2 deals with thinking about how your perspective and preconceived notions can limit your success.  Shift 2 is accompanied by an exercise in which you examine situations in which you feel you weren't able to do something - one example given in the book is:

  • "I had plans so I wasn't able to go to the party on Sunday."

You then rewrite the statement in which you describe it in as a choice:

  • "I didn't want to go to the party - I chose not to go."

Pretty simple, right?  This exercise is similar to ones I've done before, and I always find it a bit jarring, yet empowering to realize I really do choose what I will or won't do over 90% of the time in my life.  This reminded me of a saying from a friend of mine: "Pretend you create everything that happens to you. Now, decide you will create better things for yourself."  It really changes how you approach life to think of things this way.

The other 12 Shifts are compelling, too.

Exercise your mind

The point of Yamazaki's book is to help you reframe your approach and (hopefully) achieve better outcomes that align with what you really want.  I have been trying to get back on the Getting Things Done (GTD) bandwagon, and I find that Shift puts me in a frame of mind where I'm able to come up with better Next Actions.

Also, this book is a good reminder that you don't have to go it alone - one of the cool things about this book is that many of the exercises include special instructions on how to apply the Shifts in this book as part of a group.  I think this would be a fun book to explore with a book club or a group of friends.

Shift is easy to read and has a lot of interesting visuals.  The exercises are the main attraction, though, and I highly recommend Shift to anyone who wants to take control of what's going on in their life.