4 min 28 sec to read

“The most important microphone in the world is inside your mind”

Brand Strategist and Design

What if the world's most accomplished people are so successful because they avoid nine pitfalls in life that the rest of us are not aware of? In this self-help wrapped in a fiction tale, Skip Prichard, CEO and leadership speaker introduces a young man named David who with each passing day is becoming more disheartened and stressed. His life isn't turning out the way he thought it would. Despite having a decent job, apartment and friends, his life just feels hollow...until one day he meets a mysterious young woman and everything starts to change. That is, until he's taken on a journey from "struggling young professional" to "promising entrepreneur, public speaker, and changemaker" by nine sage teachers who help him avoid the mistakes that lead to failure.

The nine sage teachers like the Old Man, the Trainer, the Bartender…, each of whom discusses falling prey to one of the titular mistakes: working on someone else’s dream, allowing someone else to define your value, accepting excuses, etc. As David meets each of his teachers over a period of months, he learns about the nine mistakes in greater detail.

Mistake 1: Working on Someone Else’s Dream. Are you pursuing your life’s purpose, or are you following a career path that someone else recommended for you?

Mistake 2: Allowing Someone Else to Define Your Value. It costs more to make a nickel coin than it is worth as legal tender, and yet we accept it at face value. Don’t let someone else’s judgment establish your value.

Mistake 3: Accepting Excuses. Pay attention to negative self-talk, and guard that internal microphone “like you were security at a bank vault.” Tune out any thoughts of doubt or inability, in favour of those that encourage and promote self-confidence.

Mistake 4: Surrounding Yourself with the Wrong People. “Replace naysayers, doubters and energy drainers with encouragers, winners and motivators.”

Mistake 5: Staying in Your Comfort Zone. Your thoughts can either empower you to try something new or imprison you in the comfort of what you know and trust.

Mistake 6: Allowing Temporary Setbacks to Become Permanent Failures.“Don’t let current circumstances define your destiny.”

Mistake 7: Trying to Blend in Instead of Standing Out. “If you are true to your unique design, you naturally stand out.”

Mistake 8: Thinking That There Is a Fixed and Limited Amount of Success Available. “The only limitations you need to worry about are the ones in your mind.”

Mistake 9: Believing You Have All the Time in the World. “Knowing your life is limited will keep you focused on the most important part of your purpose.”

The Three Laws of the Keeper
The second storyline introduces us to Aria, a young girl living in the American Colonies in the 1770s. She also undertakes a journey, and it is through her that the reader learns of the origin of the book of nine mistakes and the role of the Keeper who is tasked with finding teams of nine teachers to spread the message of the text. As the story progresses, we learn that the role of the Keeper requires observance of three leadership tools –– presented as laws –– that must be emphasised to the teams of teachers and their students as they perform their duties:

The Law of Desire: Desire for success is critical for momentum but only if it is leveraged for good intent. If it is only used for selfish ambition, it will be of no use.

The Law of Gratitude: “A grateful heart magnetizes people, ideas and opportunity” that will pass over those who are bitter about life’s fortunes.

The Law of Belief: You must build an unwavering faith in your ability to succeed. “You cannot rise higher than your own beliefs.”

The mystery of how David and Aria’s stories are connected is revealed in the chapter on the ninth mistake.

The Book of Mistakes takes a very prescriptive approach to its core message. The parallel storylines provide an element of mystery, but the instructions are clear: Abide by the three laws of the Keeper, avoid the nine mistakes, and you will find success with your true purpose in life. The author’s choice not to underplay David’s fears, confusion and natural skepticism in learning the messages of the nine mistakes makes this a highly enjoyable read.

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