The Victory Project Book Review: 6 steps to peak potential
Let me ask you a question. Which is your favorite food? For me, it’s Pizza – a circle that comes in a rectangle box is the ultimate creation to satisfy hunger. I’m sure, you must be thinking about your favorite food and relishing it in your imagination. Now let me ask you another question – Why is it particularly your favorite one?
There will be multiple answers running in your head. One common attribute to the answer is that it reverses the power of DMU – diminishing marginal utility. Readers who are from commerce background will instantly relate to it while those from other backgrounds, let me expand it a bit.
When you eat 1 mango, you want more. So you go for another. And another. Then depending upon your appetite, you may stop at mango #5 or #10. Why? Because the enjoyment of eating it diminishes when your hunger is satisfied. It happens to us in other areas of life as well. The first year of buying a new car, we are so careful of parking it. In the 4th or 5th year, we aren’t as careful.
But there are some exceptions to this rule. For me it’s Pizza. As I keep on eating more, I want to eat more. Even though my stomach doesn’t really support it. But the hunger doesn’t go away one bit. Surely, it would have happened to you as well.
It’s a similar experience while reading this amazing book written by 2 stellar financial services professionals Mr. Saurabh Mukherjea and Mr. Anupam Gupta. For me, it was an amazing experience to speak with them about their book on the NetworkFP platform.
Before I started reading the book, I had great expectations from it. Because Saurabh has previously written The Unusual Billionaires and Coffee Can Investing. Both have been bestsellers. The Victory Project doesn’t disappoint the reader too.
At one point, I just didn’t want it to end. There is so much wisdom gathered by extensive reading, travelling and personal experiences that it makes you jump out of the bed wanting to perform at your peak potential.
Not to mention there is way too much content out there in the form of self-help. Most of which doesn’t help much.
While there is some amazing content, it’s usually in silos. Like Annie Duke’s book of Thinking In Bets gives a deeper insight into decision making while Cal Newport’s book of Deep Work talks about creative work which involves long hours of focus.
John King’s Radical Uncertainty opens up new ways of thinking in an uncertain world while some other books such as Intelligent Fanatics open up an original approach taken by stellar entrepreneurs while building their businesses.
And many more. But if you wish to consolidate the key concepts of some very good books, then The Victory Project is the book for you.
My wow experience from the book was when authors amazingly coincided their learnings from Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers and David Epstein’s Range. While Outliers talk about deliberate practice in one particular field – 10,000 hour rule being the most famous rule for outsized success. Range speaks about developing yourself in a variety of fields – Power of Generalization.
So what do you get when you combine these 2. Saurabh told me that you get the letter T. “–“ being the Range of Generalization and “I” being the power of Specialization.
At that point, it felt as if my search for a perfect formula for outsized success was over. Somewhere, it just clicked that to be original, you have to learn from as many generalized fields as possible and take a deep dive into 1 or 2 things that you just love doing every single day.
Eureka! Eureka! Eureka! – My mind was simply dancing.
The book revolves around a few important paradigms needed to unleash our peak potential.
It’s divided in 3 parts – Solution, Behavior and Application.
I’ve practiced these steps and the results have given me a pleasant surprise. So rather than talking about the book endlessly, which I can of course do but it would give more value to our readers to speak about my experience of the book.
Simplify is a very powerful tool for outsized success. However, the road isn’t very easy. Consider your iPhone – it’s one of the simplest phones to use. Some of my friends don’t agree because it locks you into Apple’s ecosystem but for a non-tech guy like me, it’s like Potato-Potaaato! Just doesn’t make any difference.
But the road taken to build an iPhone wasn’t very easy. Readers who have followed Steve Jobs’s journey closely would understand how much complexity was built into the system of phones and it took tonnes of effort to simplify it.
It’s the same thing with Systematic Investment Planning or SIP in mutual funds. Rather than wondering which company to buy every single time you have money, you can just automate that decision and let a fund manager buy it for you.
But it’s not really simple behind the walls. A fund manager has to go through tonnes of companies to understand which one will create wealth.
While your financial advisor on the other hand has to understand your risk profile, need for money, financial plan, etc and suggest a mutual fund appropriately. It looks simple but a lot happens behind the walls just like an iPhone.
When it comes to clutter reduction, I’ve started detoxing the social media apps from my phone. The only 2 apps are WhatsApp and Twitter with daily limits of 2 hours for WhatsApp for communication and 30 mins for Twitter to catch up on the news. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and all have been deleted.
If I really want to access it, then it’s through my laptop. Where I’ve disabled the passwords. So every time I have to feed it manually and now it bores me. As per Kahneman’s book of Thinking Fast and Slow, I switch from System 1 to System 2 instantly when I have to open my social media accounts.
Not just social media. Even the news apps or the famous Moneycontrol is out of my phone. It’s so peaceful. It’s no use to check stock market prices constantly or react to every news during the day.
Many people I’ve met simply stare at the price screen from 9:15 am to 3:30 pm and come home exhausted in the evening. It just amazes me to a great extent. And here I’m peaceful with hardly any emotional reactions.
It’s important for me to build on my work rather than simply watching prices and discussing why something was down 5% or up 5%.
My phone just doesn’t buzz mindlessly now. Only if there is an important phone call, that’s the only time it rings. Else, it’s difficult to reach me. Giving me 4 to 5 hours of clutter free time to do my work.
Due to a clutter free life, there is enough space to enhance memory and creativity. There are tons of resources available online to do it. Hence, I won’t really discuss much around it. However, there is a shift.
Suddenly, I’ve started thinking about creative solutions to long lost problems combined with speed and time to execute it.
Collaboration is key. My colleague Mr. Saurabh Mittal talks on radio everyday about personal finance. That collaboration has made him a star as he is the only financial advisor in our community who talks on radio daily.
Our webinars and weekly articles are too a product of collaboration between each other. I’m sure that even after writing an incomplete article, my colleague will show me the way to complete it. That boosts confidence.
With this experience I am now collaborating with my friend operating in the personal finance space for a Podcast too. The results are fascinating. I used to be so nervous before speaking something on the record, now with deliberate practice, it’s getting easier. By the end of this year, we will be launching our Podcast too.
The book also has a lot of interviews with some outsized successful personalities like Sanjay Bakshi, Mark Mobius, Jason Voss, etc. to name a few.
These interviews offer an insight into how these legends operate. Authors have been remarkable to pin point the right aspects needed for the reader’s mind.
I was deeply fascinated by Apurva Purohit’s story. CEO of Radio City.
Just like Sanjay Bakshi and many others she didn’t receive any phone call or didn’t need to touch her phone for a couple of hours that their meeting took place. Upon Saurabh’s inquiry into this attribute, she said, “we are constantly building our reputation. We might not meet each other again but this reputation will build itself.”
Amazing. Isn’t it?
In today’s World where we are constantly busy and trying to chase everything – The Victory Project tells us to stop, reflect and focus on things that really matter. Our minds aren’t designed for multi-tasking, so let’s not push our boundaries.
This review is a tribute to my hero – Mr. Saurabh Mukherjea whose writings I’ve followed very closely and a career trajectory that I would like to see myself on. Thank You for reading.
Cover Image: Penguin Random House India