Book Notes: Focal Point by Brian Tracy

Focal Point

A Proven System to Simplify Your Life, Double your Productivity, and Achieve All Your Goals by Brian Tracy 

“You can dramatically improve the overall quality of your life far faster than you might think possible. All you need is the desire to change, the decision to take action, the discipline to practice the new behaviors you have chosen, and the determination to persist until you get the results you want.”

~ Brian Tracy from Focal Point

Key words I love in that paragraph:

Desire. You cannot change unless you have the desire to change. This is straight from Self-Mastery 101. If you’d like to get a laugh clickthrough and watch this video I shot back in 2012 called the 3 Keys to Success in Real Estate.

Decision. The Latin origin of the word decide means “to cut off”. So for you and me when we make a decision to be the best version of ourselves through the pursuit of personal greatness our decision CUTS OFF any alternative.

Action. In the Good Life we study theory, we take action to practice, and we get results – which over time creates Mastery. Self-Mastery = Personal Greatness.

Discipline. Self-Mastery is a magical combination of Self Awareness + Self Discipline + Self Love. Discipline = Freedom.

Practice. Practice not only makes perfect, it also produces results. And when we talk the talk (theory) we must also walk the walk (practice).

Behaviors. We cannot judge ourselves with accurate thinking by only judging our potential. We must judge ourselves based solely on pattern (behaviors that produce results or have consequences). Make sure to read my book Tiny Habits Big Freedom: An Agent’s Guide to the Good Life.

Persist. Patient Persistence is a principle of the Good Life. Hard Now Easy Later. Do what others won’t do (persistently over time) in order to be able to do what others can’t do (because they’re broke, fat, and unhappy – and you’re rich, healthy, and happy).

Results. You’re either getting results or making excuses. Period. Inside the Good Life Inner Circle coaching we take you from Theory – hole you to Practice – and get you Results – which lead to Mastery (Self-Mastery = Personal Greatness).


“Among the most important personal choices you can make is to accept complete responsibility for everything you are and everything you will ever be. This is the great turning point in life. The acceptance of personal responsibility is what separates the superior person from the average person. Personal responsibility is the preeminent trait of leadership and the wellspring of high performance in every person in every situation.

Accepting complete responsibility for your life means that you refuse to make excuses or blame others for anything in your life that you’re not happy about. You refuse, from this moment forward, to criticize others for any reason. You refuse to complain about your situation or about what has happened in the past. You eliminate all your if-onlys and what-ifs and focus instead on what you really want and where you are going.

This decision to accept complete responsibility for yourself, your life, and your results, with no excuses, is absolutely essential if you want to double your income and double your time off. From now on, no matter what happens, say to yourself, ‘I am responsible.’”

HELLO!!! That first sentence is worth repeating over and over again. It should be your mantra in life. Each and every morning you should look into the mirror, stare deeply into your own soul and repeat:

“I accept complete responsibility for everything that I am and everything that I will ever be!”

Responsible = Response – Able. (You are more than able my friend).


“German philosopher Goethe once wrote, ‘Everything is hard before it is easy.’ You may need to exert tremendous discipline to develop new habits of thought and behavior. But once you have them firmly locked in, they enable you to accomplish vastly more, with less.”

We are habitual. We follow routines and patterns even when we don’t realize it. What are the patterns and habits you need to install in your life in order to reach your personal greatness?

What are the patterns and habits you need to eliminate from your life in order to pave the path to Self-Mastery?


“To simplify your life, zero-based thinking is one of the most powerful strategies you can learn and apply on a regular basis. Here’s how it works. Ask yourself, ‘Is there anything I am doing right now that, knowing what I now know, I wouldn’t get into again if I were starting over today?’”

Whoa! Hold up there Brian, you’re getting a little crazy on us. That’s a very deep and powerful question.

Reminds me of a Kinder Reese conference I was at several years ago. Jay Kinder asked the audience (regarding our team members and employees),

“Knowing what you know now would you rehire that person?”

He asked us to consider each and every team member and employee on our real estate teams. If the answer is no… you know what to do.

Boss Lady and I went through the exercise and determined that a couple people had to go. Hard decisions indeed. These are questions we rarely ask ourselves because we’re afraid of the answers. (All the people that prompted a “NO” are no longer with us)

Now Brian’s question is phrased a little differently than Jay’s question. 

“Is there anything you are doing right now that, knowing what you now know, you wouldn’t get into again if you were starting over today?”

Ponder that question and then “If your answer is ‘yes,’ then your next question is, ‘How do I get out of this situation, and how fast?’”

It takes clarity and courage to open yourself up to the question and even more courage to take action that’s in alignment with your answers.


“According to reports generated from the Menninger Institute in Kansas City, flexibility is the most important single quality you can develop to survive and thrive in the twenty-first century. Flexibility entails openness, receptivity, and the willingness to try new methods and techniques. Flexibility means that you practice zero-based thinking continually.”

Flexibility. It’s the hallmark of Good Life agents. How often is our day disrupted by the unplanned for drama, dilemma, crappy inspection, appalling appraisal… you name it. We must maintain flexibility.

Imagine flexibility as the river that flows between the banks of chaos and rigidity.


“Every minute you spend in planning will save you as many as ten minutes in execution.”

Abraham Lincoln said that if he had 6 hours to chop down a tree, he’d spend 4 of them sharpening his ax.

This point is very powerful for us as real estate agents. When our business begins to snowball and we get busy with leads and deals (which is exactly what WILL ALWAYS happen if you follow the Good Life) our time becomes extremely valuable. Please get into the habit now of planning your day each and every day. At the end of each day, plan for the following day. This not only creates efficiency but it also provides peace for your mind. If you are busy and you don’t plan out the following day – your subconscious mind will be working on the busyness and sorting out to-do’s whether you’re aware of it or not. This subconscious planning creates anxiety and sleeplessness. And sleep is our number super power that cannot be negotiated with.


“Once you have thought through your work and decided on your most valuable task, you must discipline yourself to start it immediately and stay with it until it is complete. When you concentrate single-mindedly on a single task, without diversion or distraction, you get it done far faster than if you start and stop and then come back to the task and pick it up again. You can reduce the amount of time you spend on a major task by as much as 80 percent simply by refusing to do anything else until that task is complete.”

This is simple but very, very big.

First step: Do some thinking and planning in order to figure out what THE most valuable use of your time is in this moment.

Tracy is big on the idea that we constantly ask ourselves, “Is this the highest and best use of my time?” Simply making the decision to consciously prioritize your time rather than mindlessly plowing through your email box or gossiping with agent Betty Baggybutt will automatically and immediately improve the quality of your business.

Alright. Now you know what THE most valuable use of your time is.

Next step: Remove ALL distractions and SINGLE-MINDEDLY focus on that task until it’s completed. He calls this “single handling”—where, once you start something, you FINISH it. No phone calls, no spontaneous better “check my email” moments, no bootysmooching around with agent Debbie Downer… just finish it!

It’s impossible to overstate the power of these ideas. If you only did ONE of them (discovering your #1 priority or focusing on a task exclusively until it’s done), you’d create enough snowball momentum to never have to smooch booty again.


“In this respect, clarity is terribly important. Successful people have tremendous clarity about who they are, what they want, and how they are going to get it. Unsuccessful people usually are unsure and confused about who they are, what they want, and where they are going. One powerful exercise you can practice to supercharge your thinking and accelerate your results is called idealization. In idealization you continually imagine the perfect outcome or solution for any situation in your life. You project forward three to five years, or even further, and then create a mental picture of the kind of life and career that would be ideal for you in every respect.”

Abraham Maslow says the same thing about psychologically healthy people having clarity. He says that whereas the average individuals “often have not the slightest idea of what they are, of what they want, of what their own opinions are,” self-actualizing individuals have “superior awareness of their own impulses, desires, opinions, and subjective reactions in general.”

How about you?

Do you have a firm grasp on your Mission?

One tool we can use to help us rock any and every aspect of our lives is to practice “idealization.”

Fast forward three to five years and create an image of your ideal life.

What are you doing? Who are you around? What do you look like? How’s your health? How’s your family? How’s your finances? Is your business lovable?

Now let that idealization guide you to the Good Life.


“Time management is really life management, personal management, management of yourself. People who value themselves highly allocate their time carefully. They give their time usage a lot of thought. When you love your life, you love every minute of it. You are very careful about misusing or wasting any of the precious minutes and hours of each day.”

Benjamin Franklin, one of his day’s leading entrepreneurs, statesmen and scientists, said this: “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that’s the stuff life is made of.”

A couple thousand years before that, Aristotle said this: “We live in deeds, not years; In thoughts not breaths; In feelings, not in figures on a dial. We should count time by heart throbs.”

As Brian says, “People who value themselves highly allocate their time carefully.”

And as my main man and mentor Dan Kennedy told me in his (REQUIRED reading) book, No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs: “What is entrepreneurship if not the conversion of your knowledge, talent, guts, etc – through investment of your time – into money?”


“Over the years, thousands of successful people have been asked, ‘What do you think about most of the time?’

Their answers tend to be the same worldwide. Successful people think about what they want and how to get it most of the time. As a result of this mental focus, they accomplish much more than the average person, even though they may have started with no particular advantages.

Unsuccessful people, on the other hand, tend to think and talk about what they don’t want most of the time. They think and talk about who they are mad at and who is to blame for their problems most of the time. They don’t understand why their lives don’t improve even though they have been working as long as others. They slip into the habit of thinking and talking even more about their problems and who is to blame, thereby making the situation worse.”

As Tony Robbins says, “Where focus goes energy flows.”

What I know is this… people tend to mind their own business, when it’s worth minding. When it’s not, they take their attention off their own pointless lives… and focus on other people’s business. Gossiping, pointing fingers, faking outrage, etc.

You MUST have a life and a business worth minding.


“Your level of optimism is the very best predictor of how happy, healthy, wealthy, and long-lived you will be. The more optimistic and positive you are, the more energy and enthusiasm you will have. Your immune system will be stronger and more resistant to disease and infection. You will seldom be sick. You will get along with less sleep, and you will have more mental and physical energy throughout the day.”

Did you know that your level of optimism is the best predictor of how much of all the stuff you want you’ll actually get? How empowering is that?

Whether you think you can or think you can’t – either way, you’re right. So you may as well “think” you can.


“The great truths of life are simple. It is amazing how many problems, both personal and social, could be resolved if everyone decided to treat other people the way they would like to be treated. Listen to people the way you would like to be listened to. Sell your products and services the way you would like others to sell their products and services to you. Be courteous and respectful to other people, just as you would like them to be courteous and respectful to you. Be patient and understanding with people when they make mistakes, just as you would like them to be patient and understanding with you when you make mistakes.”

So true. So simple. And yet so profound.


“Ask yourself, ‘Why aren’t I at my goal already?’ If you want to double your income, why aren’t you earning twice as much already? If you want to spend more time with your family or friends, why aren’t you doing it already? Often, forcing yourself to develop the answers to these questions will enable you to see the critical constraint that is holding you back.”

This is huge! It can also be used to fire you up.

For instance, I’ve had more than a few agents join the Good Life Inner Circle coaching program and then quit shortly after.

“Hey why’d you quit?”

The answers are always excuses and often defensive like, “Nothing new here.” Or, “I already know all of this stuff!”

Really??? Then why aren’t you more successful? 

To know and not to do is not yet to know. 


“Here are several additional questions that you should ask and answer regularly as part of your personal strategic planning:

  • If you could wave a magic wand and have whatever you wished for in any part of your life, what would it be?
  • If you could design your perfect lifestyle… what would it look like?
  • How would you change your life if you received $1 million cash, tax free, today? What is the first thing you would do?
  • What parts of your work do you enjoy the most and do the best? Where do you excel? What sorts of activities make you the happiest?
  • What would you do, how would you spend your time, if you learned today that you had only six months left to live?
  • What one great thing would you dare to dream if you knew you could not fail? If you were absolutely guaranteed success in any one goal, small or large, short term or long term, what would it be?”

I’ve used Brian’s question: “If you could design your perfect lifestyle… what would it look like?” many many times. In fact, I use the same question for my business. This question has led me to my modestly glamorous lifestyle AND my lovable business.

If you don’t ask questions – You won’t get answers.

I truly hope you’ve enjoyed these book notes for Brian’s wonderful book: Focal Point.

If you’d like to turn Theory into Practice and Practice into Results – please consider joining the Good Life Inner Circle coaching program. The least expensive most valuable real estate agent coaching program on the planet.

Have a great day my friend!

Bart “Good Life” Vickrey