Big Potential Book Summary By Shawn Achor

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Big Potential (2018) is a book that encourages readers to work together and find their maximum potential.

The author believes that in order for individuals to achieve true success, they need to collaborate with others instead of competing against them.

He argues that when we come together and learn from each other, we can uncover previously untapped potential and reach greater heights than we ever thought possible.

The book focuses on the various ways one can use the power of collaboration to move forward in life, while also providing strategies on how one can make connections with others and turn those connections into valuable relationships.

It's an inspiring read that emphasizes the importance of community and its capacity to shape our personal destiny.

By appreciating what each individual has to offer, we can become part of something far bigger than ourselves.

Big Potential

Book Name: Big Potential (How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness, and Well-Being)

Author(s): Shawn Achor

Rating: 4.4/5

Reading Time: 19 Minutes

Categories: Career & Success

Author Bio

Shawn Achor is a well-known expert in the field of positive psychology.

His research has been widely published, including by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Forbes.

He's taken his expertise to the Pentagon, the White House, and Fortune 100 companies, and has earned prestigious awards for teaching excellence at Harvard University.

The culmination of this lifelong work is Big Potential: How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness and Well-Being.

It's sure to be an international bestseller - just like Achor's last publication, The Happiness Advantage!

How To Unlock Your Big Potential: 5 Secrets From Fireflies And Friends


When it comes to achieving success, we all need to break free from the idea that we must compete against each other.

Big Potential will show you how to join forces with others and combine resources instead.

When you discover the five secrets this book has to offer, you’ll unlock a deeper pool of potential and be able to reach success in more impressive ways than if you were working alone.

The five secrets are: Learning what fireflies can teach us; figuring out the three types of people who can help us succeed; and understanding how celebrating brings bigger potential closer.

This book will give you all the knowledge and tools needed for discovering the power of Big Potential and unlocking greater successes than ever before!

So don’t miss out – get your copy of Big Potential today and start achieving bigger, better successes!

How Achieving Big Potential Through Collaboration And Positive Feedback Can Unlock Our True Potential

The primary message of Big Potential is that viewing success as a zero-sum game actually limits our potential by preventing us from collaborating with those around us.

Instead, we should strive to help others reach their goals in order to amplify our own success.

This concept is known as Big Potential, and according to the author, it can yield greater results than Small Potential where potential depends on individual skills and resources.

The author provides the mating behavior of fireflies as an example of how powerful teaming up and collaborating can be.

According to an article published in Science magazine, when male fireflies light up separately there is only a 3 percent chance of attraction from a female fly.

However, when groups of male fireflies lit up together the chance increases significantly to 82 percent.

Similarly, if we join forces with others by sharing resources and experiences, everyone involved will benefit and reap greater rewards than they would have achieved on their own.

The author then introduces SEEDS – an acronym for SURROUND, EXPAND, ENHANCE, DEFEND and SUSTAIN – as five steps for creating a Virtuous Cycle where collaboration propels both sides towards bigger successes.

By taking these steps we can limit competition and maximize our collective effectiveness so that everybody achieves more than they could have attained on their own.

Reaching Big Potential Requires Surrounding Yourself With The Right People And Creating Reciprocal Bonds

 Reciprocal Bonds

If you want to max out your potential and reach new heights, it’s time to surround yourself with positive and diverse influences.

That’s the key message from Big Potential by author Scott Shickler.

Having motivated, engaged, and creative people in your network can have a profoundly positive effect on your own attributes.

Such individuals will ignite your creativity, offer support when times get tough, and bring out the best in you.

This multiplied effect is what helps propel people towards success.

Furthermore, having different types of people in one’s network isn’t enough – even their purpose matters.

According to Shickler, these three pillars are essential: a pillar for support during difficult times; a bridge connecting you to new opportunities; an extender who will push you beyond your comfort zone.

Building this kind of network comes down to making connections with new people often and forming reciprocal bonds with them.

You never know what kind of connections could form just through talking – so stay open-minded!

Reciprocal relationships not only make you happier but also allow you to maximize the potential within yourself.

Recognize Your Power To Lead And Create Positive Change By Developing An Elevated Pitch And Highlighting Progress To Find Meaning In Your Work And Achieve Big Potential

At its core, Big Potential is about recognizing your individual power and extending it to those around you.

Each of us has the ability to create positive change in our lives and the world, but too often, we think we need a title or authority to do so.

This just isn’t true!

Every single one of us can lead without a title or authority — we just need to be empowered to believe in ourselves and act on it.

Take for example a musician in an orchestra.

Although he may not be the conductor, he can still influence the performance of everyone else by speaking up and making suggestions.

This same principle applies to real life; by speaking up and taking initiative in our own unique roles, we can have a powerful impact that extends far beyond ourselves.

The key is first recognizing your own power, then inspiring others with what’s known as an Elevated Pitch.

This is basically a message or idea that encourages leadership in others — one that resonates with what they care about most (e.g., an outgoing teenager reluctant to attend college might be convinced if you focus on campus activities).

It’s also important to keep the momentum going with progress updates, to ensure everyone stays motivated and engaged throughout the process of pursuing Big Potential.

Ultimately though, if there doesn’t seem to be any opportunities for growth or empowerment within your team or role, look for other sources of meaning and fulfillment outside work instead — whether that means journaling daily about meaningful moments from your job or exploring other avenues entirely.

The Third Secret Of Big Potential: Enhance Others With The Right Kind Of Praise

Secret Of Big Potential

The Big Potential Book Summary highlights the importance of enhancement through the right kind of praise.

In order to create an environment that enables Big Potential to grow, we must encourage more people to start providing this kind of praise.

Comparison praise undermines the impact of any positive feedback.

Words like “smartest” or “best” when used for someone has a correlative “worst” or “not as good enough” for everyone else, leading to unnecessary competition and comparison — something which should be avoided in the workplace.

The key is encouraging the recipients not just for their wins, but also their efforts and their potential for future successes.

This is where members from the Hidden 31 become important.

The Hidden 31 refers to those who have optimism but feel unable/uncomfortable with expressing it openly as they need encouragement and role models who are vocal about praising its team members in order to help them step up and do likewise.

Identifying these individuals can help break down that barrier by leading by example, offering appreciation publicly or through other less intimidating forms such as emailing compliments in private conversations or inviting feedback surveys.

Eventually, they’ll become more confident and enthused with expressing their support through regular praise — contributing positively to an environment geared towards fostering Big Potential!

Defend Yourself Against Negativity With Mental Aikido And Breaks

Negativity is like cigarette smoke; it permeates everything around us and can have a detrimental effect on our goals and ambitions.

If we expose ourselves to it for too long, it can sap our motivation and erode our confidence that we can achieve Big Potential.

In order to protect ourselves, we need to know how to defend against negativity, redirect it, and decide when enough is enough.

We can do this by taking tactics from the art of war.

By creating “moats” -static defences- in our routines, like avoiding sources of negativity such as emails or social media at certain times when we are most vulnerable, or our “strongholds” -using gratefulness sessions or mindfulness techniques- to help us refocus back on the positives and rebuild strength during tough times; we can stand firm against what life throws at us.

When even these don’t work because the negative energy overwhelms us, it could be time for a mental Aikido -redirecting negative energy into something positive- by finding meaning in the situation or reminding ourselves that we aren’t alone.

And if all else fails, sometimes the only option is to take a break both physically and mentally; research shows this helps with productivity and ultimately happiness.

Lastly if things still don’t improve once you’ve given your best efforts then its worth considering if a change of course could benefit you more than perseverance in an unhelpful situation.

The Key To Sustaining Momentum With Big Potential Is The Virtuous Cycle Of Meaning, Visualization, And Celebration


Big Potential strategies include sustaining momentum, which means consistently generating positive energy to power the Virtuous Cycle.

Highlighting meaning, visualizing success, and celebrating every win are three key ways to keep this cycle going.

Highlighting meaning encourages you to tell a story about your work – one that will bring energy and motivation into your tasks.

For example, a teacher may view his work merely as grading papers week in and week out.

But if he relays his role as an educator helping to shape future leaders, he finds more meaning than staring at essays all day.

When people asks you what you do name the story not just the task – so when asked what you do or how you spend your days you highlight the spirit of your task rather than its duties.

Building upon this is visualizing success; imaging things vividly boosts their chances of becoming reality, drives motivation, and pulls you toward that outcome magnetically.

To get this vision into focus even more write it down in detail so it’s crystal clear and evokes emotion during visualization.

Wrap Up

The Big Potential approach to unlocking success is an empowering five-step process.

It starts with finding people who bring out the best in you.

Then, you need to tap into your power and share that power with those around you.

After that, comes the time when we should aim to provide praise and support for others and offset any forms of negativity like stress.

Finally, to sustain momentum, focus on finding meaning in our actions, visualize the positive outcomes, and celebrate success whenever we can.

To maximize on this strategy, it’s essential to draw attention to positives as often as possible – rather than just focusing on what someone did wrong.

As part of that, make sure to take some time each day to send a message of appreciation or praise for something they’ve done right – it’s a great way not only to encourage excellence among your peers but also uncover neat things they may have done which otherwise would have gone unnoticed.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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