The Sweet Spot: Book Review and video

Untitled-1The Sweet Spot is an excellent book that helped me to get going on  and actively work on my currentbig project. (The one that keeps me from posting more regularly).

Christine is a sociologist at the Greater Good Science Center at U.C. Berkeley, and while her book is easy and conversational to read, its content is based on dozens of good research studies. Christine has had to devise ways to deal with a busy work and life schedule with four teenagers at home. She herself states that she is not the most organized or focused person. That rings a bell for me, the conclusions from her research make a lot of sense, and are applicable to a regular life.  Since I have been fascinated with neuroscience and brain plasticity, how we learn and how we change habits, this book has come as a helpful and fascinating read at the right time. It is helping me become more calm and focused/energized at the same time.
My friend, a therapist in private practice loves it just as much as I do. This book is a perfect read over your breakfast, ahem, if you don’t follow the good advice to not multi-task.
This video is a quick look at why multi-tasking is not a good idea, and how to create what you want in your life with less time crunch, and feel more spacious at the same time. I am still working at it! Below find more about the book. I also highly recommend Christine’s blog.


Here are some ideas of the book. Don’t be deceived by them sounding simplistic. Christine distills the latest behavioral science and neuroscience research on performance, productivity…and happiness into a user-friendly read.

Take a recess

Today, take a good old-fashioned recess in the middle of the day. Go ahead and do your hardest or most dreaded work – or whatever you need to do – but after about sixty to ninety minutes of focused attention [when your brain starts to become fatigued] honor your ultradian rhythms and take a break. Rest. Don’t do anything that exists on a to-do list anywhere.

Take a nap.

Read something just for fun.

Look at pictures of pretty living rooms on Pinterest.

Go outside into the great outdoors (or the plaza across from your office) and let the sun shine on your face.

Doing Without Trying

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

– Aristotle

Establish a tiny habit

Christine discusses the biology of habits and how to begin to rewire our brains, and thus our behaviors She offers examples from Stanford habit researcher BJ Fogg. I will review his program in a coming note. It is a very powerful and helpful way to start new positive habits.

Cracking the Habit Code

A 21 Day program to create new habit sequences to make routines automatic and thus safe a lot of energy.

Easing the Overwhelm

Decide your five top priorities and say “no” to everything else

Mending Ruptures

There are two pillars of happiness revealed by the seventy-five-year-old Grant Study…One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away.

– George Vaillant, Triumphs of Experience

Making Hard Things Easy

 Given that life includes a boatload of disappointment, risk, discomfort, and even failure, we need to develop an ironic comfort with discomfort if we are to truly build strength and find ease. We need to make sure that every setback doesn’t send us headlong into a massive fight-or-flight response. This means that we need to be able to do three things. First, we need to tolerate the discomfort that comes from difficulty and challenge inherent in pursuing mastery, because mastery ultimately makes hard things easy. Second, we need to be able to cope with the discomfort inherent in our own vulnerability by becoming brave enough to follow our passion and purpose instead of the crowd. Finally, we need a plan for bouncing back when the going gets rough – which it inevitably will!

– Christine Carter, The Sweet Spot

The difference between perfectionism and mastery is the ability to risk, and even embrace failure.

1. Something happens.

2. We react to it emotionally. We feel embarrassed, horrified, struck with fear, etc.

3. We have predictable thoughts about the event that led us to continue to react emotionally or to avoid our emotions altogether.

4. We accept our feelings and untangle our thoughts, and the negative emotion dissipates. The sting of the mistake or misstep clears, the grief waves, the situation blows over.

Finally Chapter 10: A Short Guide to Getting Your Groove Back