Maximize Your Potential [review]

It’s said that we regret the chances we don’t take far more than mistakes we make. While I don’t feel old enough to validate the claim, I’ll take my elders’ word for it and because we don’t often have these reminders in casual conversation, I’m grateful for reads like Maximize Your Potential. It’s 99u‘s second in a series of three books to give us the education that traditional school does not.

If the first volume (Manage Your Day-To-Day) was all about laying a solid foundation for getting creative work done, the second is about developing a frame of mind that will enable you to succeed in your projects. It’s divided into four sections (Creating Opportunities, Building Expertise, Cultivating Relationships and Taking Risks) of essays and Q&As from bright minds that study creativity and success with fervor. Meaning SCIENCE.


There’s a ton of guidance around the most beneficial attitudes to have, but I also felt this comfort that the contributors really empathized what creative minds go through. They totally got that we’re confused over how much of success is correlated with talent, hard work or luck. They understand how easy it is to get caught up in comparing ourselves to our peers or worrying about whether people will like us when all we should be concerned about is improving a little each day. They assess our changing world (an age of flux) where many jobs today didn’t even exist five years ago and drop knowledge on how to prepare for that. You’ll get the feeling that the ability and willingness to learn new skills quickly may be the most important quality to possess.

For me, the most inspirational section was on being bold enough to take risks and be (more) comfortable with uncertainty. While I consider myself to be fairly decent at taking risks, it was really cool to hear how humans internalize risk, overestimate what could go wrong and underestimate our ability to recover. I was able to apply this to my own life and some of the changes I want to make.

This isn’t for everyone – certainly not those who choose feeling helpless over trying to make something work. But if you’re looking to understand creativity through science and psychology with well-documented examples from ancient and modern history, this could be your literary jam. I’d sure as hell rather you give it a shot than regret it later.

Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build An Incredible Career is available exclusively on Amazon but you’re not stupid, you know how to buy a book online.