The One-Life Solution: Reclaim Your Personal Life While Achieving Greater Professional Success
by Henry Cloud

These notes are just a small sampling from this book. They don’t do the book justice, however, because there’s many more principles discussed and Cloud fleshes it all out so well with examples and stories.

p. 23 You are a cause, not a result.

In other words, you will be empowered by your choices and your actions to bring about the results you want in your work and in your life, as opposed to your work and your life bringing about its results on you.

p. 44. I can safely say that I have never seen a long-term successful person who did not have a good sense of personal limits.  It has been said that your success is equal to your ability to confront. If you cannot confront a problem and set a limit on it, by definition it will overtake you. Limits save your life.

p.45 Your values shape your behavior, focus, and direction. What you value, in a sense, you will ultimately become. It will be your true north, the compass setting that keeps you going in a certain direction.

p.90 The Law of Power –

The principle is that all of the loss of power comes from you, not from other people. The reason for that is that power over yourself is all you ever had anyhow, so it is the only kind of power that you can ever gain or lose.

p91 People also lose power over themselves when they give power to others to determine who they are, what they think, what they want, and especially how they feel.

p. 95 — on motivation [and desire]:

This kind of motivation [one that stems from fear of making someone angry or upset] can get compliance, but not energized, wholehearted, sustainable effort. Leaders who motivate out of fear do not have loyal teams, and those cultures are rotten and ultimately implode. Same thing goes for parents who control kids through fear and guilt.

p. 96 [I am not suggesting that we] revert back to the motivations of the “me generation” when our society moved from the “if it feels good, do it!” of the sixties to the “if it doesn’t feel good, I won’t do it” of the seventies. That is the mentality of a loser. Anyone who ever accomplishes anything does many things that do not feel good. In fact that is the big requirement of success of any kind, to do the things that don’t feel good that others don’t want to do. To win, you must do things that do not feel good, and past that, that you do not want to do. But that does not mean that the motivation for doing them is negative.

p. 101  Desire means ownership and responsibility. Otherwise, it is just envy, wanting what you do not have and always not having enough. But true desire means you will do what it takes to get it–and love it once you do. It is the responsible stance in life.

p. 102 What fits you? What will really make you happy that has nothing to do with ego or image or status?

The Law of activity

Activity is about realizing that nothing happens if you do not do something. As Newton said in his first law, an object at rest will tend to stay at rest, unless acted upon by an external force….If I am experiencing some reality–and if I want to experience a different reality–I am going to have to do something to make things different. The universe is set up to reward activity.

…Or maybe worse, if there is activity but it is not from me and what I desire the outcome to be, then it may be different but in a direction I do not like. So I had better get active.

…Get active, be a force, and remember Newton’s first law translated into your life. This mess will tend to stay a mess unless I am a force that acts upon it.

p. 186  A law of the universe

Strength and security precede the ability to be free. (188) The rich get richer. So your job is to enrich the part of your life or skill set that is causing the need that keeps you stuck. When you do that, you will find that you will be able to execute the kinds of boundaries you need to have an integrated, fulfilling life of love and work.

p. 191  Problems–and problem people–seek out situations and people who will allow them to exist and to have a space.

p. 194 Sometimes the truth hurts, but that doesn’t mean you are inflicting harm. If you are over identifying with their problems, they will never get better until you stop enabling them and instead release them to face those problems. If you are afraid that they will be upset with you, deal with that. If you have been through a lot of loss and saying good-bye to things is hard, face the grief. Whatever you have to do to get comfortable with ending, you must do in order to deal with real life, because in real life some things end. So take an inventory and ask yourself which relationships and activities need to end.

p. 209 When you are going to communicate, remember to remain separate from the other person. (p. 211) …But be wary of how easy it is to not remain separate from all of their reasons, excuses, and explanations. Hold on to yourself when you are getting maneuvered. Stay firm with your differentiated positions, and make sure you communicate them. Of course, there are times when you will rightly change your mind as someone’s perspective has informed yours. But that should happen because you were convinced, not because you were weak. Be informed, not overpowered.

p. 220 — The second group [of people that you deal with] is not so much fun, but sometimes workable. They are the defensive ones, who sometimes blame and excuse and cause what I call “collateral damage” for others. They are not trying to hurt anyone, but because they won’t take responsibility for themselves, they do cause other people problems. And, part and parcel of that problem is that when you give them feedback, they do not accept it.   (p.221)…That is when you have to move to the other strategy above, making the lack of responsiveness and lack of change the problem of focus. Focus on that, and move away from talking and over to consequence. Then you sometimes will get a turnaround, and other times they will go away as they do not like to be held accountable. Either way, you are better off.

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