Summary Notes of Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhani

This Blog post has our summary notes of the excellent book – The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhani. The book is a highly recommended read for anyone seeking to transform their life.

This Blog post has our summary notes of the excellent book – The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhani. The book is a highly recommended read for anyone seeking to transform their life.

Summary Notes – Code of the Extraordinary Book

In this book, Vishen Lakhani discusses 10 powerful laws that can be used by anyone in order to live an extraordinary life. These laws are:

Law #1) Transend the Culterscape

  • 2 Worlds: we live in 2 worlds – (a) the world of absolute truth – rules that are undisputed (b) the world of relative truth – ideas, models, myths & rules we’ve developed and passed down from generation to generation.
  • The Culterscape: Vishen refers to this world of relative truths as the ‘culterscape’
  • Relative truths: are not true for all human beings, yet we live by them as if they are absolute truths
  • The Oddity of our Culture: We run off to stressful jobs, leaving our kids in the care of others. We sit and stare at a lit-up screen for most of the day. We consume packaged food that has lost much of its nutrients. Then we exercise like maniacs to burn off the calories we consumed the day before. We pack our elders into communal homes and then worry about how to care for them. We take pills to keep from feeling fear and other emotions we believe are negative. We drink potions to stay awake. Then we take pills to put ourselves to sleep. We eat and drink too much, partly because we have more than we need and partly because we’re stressed out.

Law 1: Transcend the culturescape. Extraordinary minds are good at seeing the culturescape and are able to selectively choose the rules and conditions to follow versus those to question or ignore. Therefore, they tend to take the path less traveled and innovate on the idea of what it means to truly live.

Law #2) Question the Brules

  • What are brules: A brule is a ‘bullshit rule’ that we adopt to simplify our understanding of the world
  • There’s nothing wrong with taking on ideas from the society we live in. But as our world is undergoing exponential change at a staggering pace, following the masses and doing what’s always been done isn’t a path that leads to being extraordinary.
  • Examples of brules: need to go to college, need to work hard to be successful, we need to be loyal to our culture
  • Being open to breaking brules: One of the keys to being extraordinary is knowing what rules to follow and what rules to break. Outside the rules of physics and the rules of law, all other rules are open to questioning.
  • If you can’t win, change the rules. If you can’t change the rules, ignore them.

Law 2: Question the Brules. Extraordinary minds question the Brules when they feel those Brules are out of alignment with their dreams and desires. They recognize that much of the way the world works is due to people blindly following Brules that have long passed their expiration date.

Law #3) Practice Consciousness Engineering

  • What is consciousness engineering?: Think of consciousness engineering as the operating system of the human mind (one that you can control). It comprises of 2 core components – The hardware (Your Models of Reality) & The Software (Your Systems of Living).
  • The 12 areas of balance: when practicing consciousness engineering (trying to upgrade your hardware & software) it helps to do so in the 12 areas of balance – love, social life, financial life, quality of life, health & fitness, intellectual life, emotional life, spiritual life, career, character, family, life vision
  • Personal Growth:
    • All growth comes from changing your models of reality or upgrading a system for living. ….
    • Once you understand the consciousness engineering approach, you can view yourself as a highly tuned operating system ready to install new hardware (models of reality) or new apps (systems for living) when needed. You never get attached to the ones you have because you know newer, better ones are always being discovered.
    • Everything you study in personal growth will either be a model (a new belief about money, for example) or a system (say, a new exercise or diet routine).

Law 3: Practice consciousness engineering. Extraordinary minds understand that their growth depends on two things: their models of reality and their systems for living. They carefully curate the most empowering models and systems and frequently update themselves.

Law #4) Rewrite your Models of Reality

Our beliefs are like unquestioned commands, telling us how things are, what’s possible and impossible and what we can and cannot do. They shape every action, every thought, and every feeling that we experience. As a result, changing our belief systems is central to making any real and lasting change in our lives.

Tony Robbins
  • Key Aspects of Models of Reality
    • #1) Our models of reality lie below the surface. Often we do not realize we have them until some intervention or contemplative practice makes us aware.
    • #2) We often carry disempowering models of reality that we inherited as far back as childhood
    • #3) When you replace disempowering models of reality with empowering ones, tremendous changes can occur in your life at a very rapid pace.
  • Recommended Exercise: Examine your ‘Models of Reality’ on the 12 areas of Balance of the lifebook … Consider what Models of Reality are empowering and which are disempowering … You can consciously ‘upgrade your hardware’
  • Realisations of your models of reality: Bad models can evaporate through sudden realizations—sometimes spontaneous ones (such as I had in the hot tub)—or through meditation, inspirational reading, or other mindfulness practices, including just sitting in a room by yourself, reflecting on your life, and asking yourself, Where did I come up with this particular world view?
  • Upgrading your hardware (Models of Reality):
    • But while your beliefs make you, your beliefs are NOT you. You can use consciousness engineering to swap out old beliefs, swap in new ones, and take on new understandings of the world that might serve you better.
    • Using our computer analogy, think of your models of reality as your hardware. Want a faster machine or a better resolution monitor? Just swap the older model and replace it with the latest model. Need more storage space? Just replace your smaller hard drive with a larger hard drive. Beliefs are like that, too. When an old belief no longer serves you, you have every right to swap it out.
    • What you think and believe about the world shapes who you are and your experience of the world around you. Change your accepted models of reality, and dramatic changes will happen in your world. … you can swap out a bad or outdated model, swap in a healthier one, and gain incredible power to shift your world.

Law 4: Rewrite your models of reality. Extraordinary minds have models of reality that empower them to feel good about themselves and powerful in shifting the world to match the visions in their minds.

Law #5) Upgrading your Systems of Living

  • A system for living is a repeated, optimized pattern for getting things done. How we dress in the morning is a system. How we get through our e-mail is often a system.
  • When you swap outdated models of reality for empowering ones and pair them with new systems for applying your new models day to day, your life will improve exponentially—and fast.
  • Upgrading your software (Systems of Living): If models of reality are the hardware of the human “machine,” systems for living are the software. They’re your activities and daily habits—for example, how you eat (based on your beliefs about nutrition), how you work (based on your beliefs about what kind of career and work behaviors are acceptable), and how you deal with money (based on your beliefs about the ease of acquiring money or the guilt or honor of having lots of it).

Law 5: Upgrade your systems for living. Extraordinary minds consistently spend time discovering, upgrading, and measuring new systems for living applied to life, work, heart, and soul. They are in a perpetual state of growth and self-innovation.

Law #6) Bend Reality

  • 4 STATES OF HUMAN LIVING:
    • Negative Spiral: not happy & no vision of the future
    • Current Reality Trap: happy in the now, but no vision of the future (so no growth)
    • Stress & Anxiety: large vision of the future and happiness tied to these goals (not happy now) … many entrepreneurs are stuck in this state
    • Bending Reality: have large goals, but happy in the now (with happiness not linked to these goals)
  • Blissipline: the discipline of daily bliss.
  • Keep the big goals—just don’t tie your happiness to your goals. Be happy now. You must be happy before you attain them. ….. Stop postponing your happiness. Be happy now. Your thoughts and beliefs do create your reality, but only when your present state is joyful. … Think of happiness in the now and vision for the future as two ingredients that can be combined, but here’s the trick. They have to be in balance. Too much of one or the other creates imbalance and limitation.
  • BENDING REALITY. This is the ideal state where you’re happy in the now, and you have a vision for the future that drives you. Your vision pulls you forward, but you’re happy now—despite not having yet attained that vision. When you’re in this state, there’s a feeling of growth and enjoyment. It’s about the journey as well as the destination. An interesting observation about this state is that it often seems as if the universe “has your back.” Call it what you want—but it starts to feel as if you’re lucky. The right opportunities, ideas, and people seem to gravitate to you. It’s as if your happiness is rocket fuel moving you toward your vision.
  • So, no matter where you are in your life today, you must remember this lesson: Your happiness cannot be tied to your goals. You must be happy even before you attain them. Doing so will make life joyous and full of play and bring your goals to you faster than ever
  • I think it’s the only way to truly attain your goals—to be happy as you make the long, sometimes difficult climb toward great visions.
  • We shouldn’t do things so we can be happy. We should be happy so we can do things.

Law 6: Bend reality. Extraordinary minds are able to bend reality. They have bold and exciting visions for the future, yet their happiness is not tied to these visions. They are happy in the now. This balance allows them to move toward their visions at a much faster rate while having a ton of fun along the way. To outsiders, they seem “lucky.”

Law #7) Live in Blissiphine

  • Hedonic Adaptation: Studies show that each of us has a particular level of happiness that we tend to return to after things happen, good or bad. Researchers call this phenomenon hedonic adaptation. … We humans are so good at adapting that we adapt to whatever has happened and then continue along in life. But research has found that our happiness is hackable. … It turns out that you can actually raise your happiness level to experience higher levels of happiness every day of your life, too, no matter what is going on around you.
  • Blissipline System 1: The Power of Gratitude
    • Perhaps no single exercise leads to as big a happiness boost as the practice of gratitude. I believe every day should begin and end with gratitude.
    • The Foward Gap:most of us are trained to watch the forward gap—the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. The problem is that we tell ourselves we’ll be happy when we reach that new revenue target at work…finally get married…have a baby…have X amount of money in the bank, and so on …. But there’s a problem here. If you’re chasing the forward gap, the chase will never end. No matter how good life gets, you’ll always be chasing the next idea on the horizon…. Tying happiness to the attainment of some future goal is like trying to catch up to the horizon. It’s always going to be one step beyond your reach.
    • Reverse Gap: suggest we look backward—to the past—and appreciate how far we’ve come. This is called this the reverse gap. Paying attention to the “reverse gap” is a perfect exercise in gratitude and is far more likely to give you a boost of happiness than striving for happiness in the future.
  • Blissipline System 2: Forgiveness
    • 40 years of Zen: The people behind the program (40 years of Zen) discovered holding onto grudges and anger is the single biggest factor suppressing alpha waves. So it was critical for us to be able to release every last bit of that out of our systems. … The thing that truly made 40 Years of Zen the most powerful personal growth experience I’ve ever had was the sense of liberation I felt at the end of it. I had cleaned myself of so many grudges I’d held onto for years. I let go of painful memories I’d forgotten I had that were weighing me down.
    • UNFUCKWITHABLE: When you’re truly at peace and in touch with yourself. Nothing anyone says or does bothers you and no negativity can touch you. When you learn to truly forgive, you become unfuckwithable.
  • Blissipline System 3: The Practice of Giving – Giving is a powerful system for bringing bliss into your life. A compliment to a coworker, a handwritten note of appreciation, inviting someone to get ahead of you in line—all of these seemingly little things will help elevate your happiness while

Law 7: Live in Blissipline. Extraordinary minds understand that happiness comes from within. They begin with happiness in the now and use it as a fuel to drive all their other visions and intentions for themselves and the world.

Law #8) Create a Vision for Your Future

  • Mean Goals vs. End Goals: Often people confuse means goals with end goals. We choose college majors, career paths, life paths as if they were ends in themselves, when in reality they’re a means to an end. … I had inadvertently fallen into the trap of confusing means goals with end goals. I had ended up as an entrepreneur with a business and cash in the bank. I was my own boss. But I had not bothered to set true end goals that went beyond this.
  • End Goals move you away from the ordinary: And that’s the most important aspect of end goals. They help take you off the beaten path and move you away from the restrictive models of reality, systems of living, and Brules that school and society prod you into following. End goals help you step off the treadmill of the ordinary and get on a trajectory toward the extraordinary.
  • End Goals help you find the right career/business: don’t choose a career, lest you end up in a mind-numbing occupation. Nor should you just declare that you want to be an entrepreneur—lest you turn into a stressed out, bored one. Instead, think of your end goals and let your career or creation find you.
  • Identifying mean goals: typically have a ‘so’ in them / often about meeting or conforming to brules
  • Identifying end goals: about following your heart / does not feel like work / are often feelings – To be happy, to be in love, to consistently feel loving, to consistently feel joyous are all very good end goals.
  • Typical categories of end goals: experiences / growth / contribution … What experiences do you want to have in this lifetime? 2. How do you want to grow? 3. How do you want to contribute?

Law 8: Create a vision for your future. Extraordinary minds create a vision for their future that is decidedly their own and free from expectations of the culturescape. Their vision is focused on end goals that strike a direct chord with their happiness.

Law #9) Be Unfuckwithable

  • Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose. —YODA, STAR WARS,
  • It is possible to move toward a goal or to be madly in love with someone—without attachment. Often what we really fear is not losing the other but losing that part of ourselves that this someone or something makes us feel. This happens when we attach our sense of self-worth and happiness to someone or something outside of ourselves.
  • #1) Self-fueled Goals: A good end goal is something you have absolute control over. No object or person can take it away from you. … They are all directly within my own power. No one can take these away from me. This means no failure can stunt me. I could be homeless and alone, sleeping on the streets of New York City—but I can still be surrounded by love because my love comes from within. I can learn and grow as long as I can find an old newspaper or a thrown-away book to read. I can even have beautiful human experiences because I can see the joy in everyday life, even just walking through Central Park. Self-fueled goals require nothing but merely being alive and free. …. Too many people stay stunted in their growth because of fear of loss—but when you go deep enough with this exercise, you realize that there is no loss. Happiness is completely within your control, and when you have nothing to lose, you’re free to think and dream boldly.
  • #2) Realise that you are Enough: In order to be truly unfuckwithable, you need to lose your need to seek validation or love from others and to judge them when you perceive that they are not giving you what you need.
  • #3) Being immune to other’s behaviours, criticism or judgement: You know you have a hole to plug when you find yourself feeling hurt or creating meaning around someone else’s action or words. The key is to override our inner desire to prove ourselves or our tendency to feel as if we’re not enough without the love or validation of others.
  • Knowing we are ENOUGH gives us the courage to do MORE, do BETTER, do our BEST. When we learn to be unfuckwithable, the biggest fears that hold so many back no longer bother us. We boldly pursue big dreams and goals. But we’d be happy even if we lost all our goals and possessions because our end goals are self-fueled goals—feelings

Law 9: Be unfuckwithable. Extraordinary minds do not need to seek validation from outside opinion or through the attainment of goals. Instead, they are truly at peace with themselves and the world around them. They live fearlessly—immune to criticism or praise and fueled by their own inner happiness and self-love.

Law #10) Embrace your Quest

  • The most extraordinary people in the world do not have careers. What they have is a calling.
  • I once witnessed someone ask Richard Branson how he maintains work-life balance, and his reply was, “Work? Life? It’s all the same thing. I call it LIVING.” When your work becomes a calling, the old model of work disappears.
  • But motivation is only needed when you’re chasing a Brule—a means goal. When you chase end goals, especially end goals related to your calling, you no longer need to be “motivated.” Instead, you are PULLED by your vision.

Law 10: Embrace your quest. Extraordinary minds are motivated by a quest or calling—a drive to create some positive change in the world. This drive propels them forward in life and helps them to gain meaning and make a meaningful contribution.

Quick Recap

  1. Step out of the culturescape.
  2. Toss away the Brules.
  3. Grab your toolkit for consciousness engineering.
  4. Pick up your empowering models of reality.
  5. Don’t forget to pack your systems for living.
  6. Keep your mind firmly on bending reality.
  7. Walk with Blissipline.
  8. Hold your end goals firmly in your hand.
  9. Be unfuckwithable.
  10. Open that door and march firmly toward your quest

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