Accomplished business executive and leadership coach reveals how to improve performance at work and in life by taming your powerful “automatic” side.
Building on the idea that the human mind operates in two distinct modes, Borgerson contends that people have two “selfs”—a “thinking-self” and an “auto-self.” We’re aware of our thinking-self, which is the source of our logical reasoning, intentions and voluntary actions that drive us to achieve goals. Our comfort-driven auto-self, however, operates outside our voluntary control. It’s home to the habitual behaviors and deeply ingrained thought patterns that are programmed through genetics, parenting and certain environmental pressures. Unfortunately, the auto-self often derails our efforts to reach goals. Disruptive auto-behaviors such as aggression and uncontrollable anger can cause otherwise talented business professionals to fail, and habits like smoking and overeating can undermine one’s health. Borgerson argues that even if a person is aware of the undesirable behavior, the relentless auto-self usually overpowers the thinking-self. He unabashedly refers to self-help as an “unfair fight” because willpower alone is seldom enough to overcome the discomfort created by the auto-self clinging to an old habit. His solution is to get the auto-self and the thinking-self on the same side with a little outside help. In what could be a breakthrough in the study of performance development, the book offers practical, field-tested techniques to induce feelings that counteract those driving the unwanted behavior. Case studies about hot-headed managers coached into becoming thoughtful leaders and a chain-smoker kicking his deadly habit provide persuasive evidence of the author’s theory. While the text is heavy on jargon, its frank discussion on “evasion gimmicks” like procrastination will leave even skeptical readers wondering if they’re sabotaging their own success. Those looking for a quick fix for bad habits won’t find it here—Borgerson says a lasting transformation can take a year or longer. But business managers interested in achieving peak performance for their subordinates and themselves will find a holistic system to make it happen.
A penetrative, empowering driver’s manual for the dual-mind.