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"The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed on Your Own Terms"

 by Vishen Lakhiani

After reading this book in December of 2017, I wrote,


"Can a book get any better? Even after reading hundreds of books about how to have a great life, this one is probably the best."

The author's website is

See all my book recommendations.  

Here are the selections I made:

When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact. That is—everything around you that you call life was made up by people no smarter than you. And you can change it. You can influence it. . . . Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again. —STEVE JOBS


Safety is overrated; taking risks is much less likely to kill us than ever before, and that means that playing it safe is more likely just holding us back from the thrills of a life filled with meaning and discovery.


My friend Peter Diamandis, founder and chairman of the X Prize Foundation, famously said: If you can’t win, change the rules. If you can’t change the rules, ignore them.


Steve Jobs when he was asked to address the graduating class at Stanford: Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.


1.YOUR LOVE RELATIONSHIP. This is the measure of how happy you are in your current state of relationship—whether you’re single and loving it, in a relationship, or desiring one.

2.YOUR FRIENDSHIPS. This is the measure of how strong a support network you have. Do you have at least five people who you know have your back and whom you love being around?

3.YOUR ADVENTURES. How much time do you get to travel, experience the world, and do things that open you to new experiences and excitement?

4.YOUR ENVIRONMENT. This is the quality of your home, your car, your work, and in general the spaces where you spend your time—even when traveling.

5.YOUR HEALTH AND FITNESS. How would you rate your health, given your age, and any physical conditions?

6.YOUR INTELLECTUAL LIFE. How much and how fast are you growing and learning? How many books do you read? How many seminars or courses do you take yearly? Education should not stop after you graduate from college.

7.YOUR SKILLS. How fast are you improving the skills you have that make you unique and help you build a successful career? Are you growing toward mastery or are you stagnating?

8.YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE. How much time do you devote to spiritual, meditative, or contemplative practices that keep you feeling connected, balanced, and peaceful?

9.YOUR CAREER. Are you growing, climbing the ladder, and excelling? Or do you feel you’re stuck in a rut? If you have a business, is it thriving or stagnating?

10.YOUR CREATIVE LIFE. Do you paint, write, play musical instruments, or engage in any other activity that helps you channel your creativity? Or are you more of a consumer than a creator?

11.YOUR FAMILY LIFE. Do you love coming home to your family after a hard day’s work? If you’re not married or a parent, define your family as your parents and siblings.

12.YOUR COMMUNITY LIFE. Are you giving, contributing, and playing a definite role in your community?


Richard Branson didn’t blink. He answered immediately like a wise, kind sage. Here’s what he said: It’s all about finding and hiring people smarter than you, getting them to join your business and giving them good work, then getting out of the way and trusting them. You have to get out of the way so you can focus on the bigger vision. That’s important, but here is the main thing: You must make them see their work as a mission.


Stop postponing your happiness. Be happy now. Your thoughts and beliefs do create your reality, but only when your present state is joyful.


Keep the big goals—just don’t tie your happiness to your goals. Be happy now.


And so it’s a subtle balance: 1.You have a bold vision for the future pulling you forward. 2.Yet . . . you’re happy in the NOW.



When you’re bending reality, your vision is continuously pulling you forward—but it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like a game, a game you love to play. But at the same time, your happiness does not seem to be tied to that future vision. You’re feeling elated and happy right now, in this moment. You’re happy as you pursue your vision, not only when you attain it. You’re thus grounded in the present.


We shouldn’t do things so we can be happy. We should be happy so we can do things.


Exercise: The Eight Statements The simple set of eight statements below will help you gauge where you are on the path to bending reality. Indicate how true each statement is for you by selecting one of the choices offered. There are no right or wrong answers. If you’re still in the starting gate, no worries. We’ll be talking more about how to get there.


1.I love my current job to the point where it does not feel like work.


2.My work is meaningful to me.


3.There are often moments at work that make me so happy the time just flies by.


4.When things go wrong, I don’t worry at all. I just know something good is on the horizon.


5.I feel excited about my future, knowing even better things are always on their way.


6.Stress and anxiety don’t seem to faze me much. I trust in my ability to attain my goals.


7.I look forward to the future because I have unique and bold goals on the horizon.


8.I spend a good amount of time thinking excitedly about my visions for the future. NOT AT ALL NOT AT ALL, TRUE SOMETIMES, TRUE, VERY TRUE


If you answered “Very true” to statements 1 through 4, you are likely happy in the now. If you answered “Very true” to statements 5 through 8, you likely have a good vision for your future. If you can answer “Very true” for all eight statements, you’re likely in the state of bending reality. Most people, however, find that they tend to be able to answer “Very true” to either the happiness-related statements or to the vision-related questions, but not to both.


HOW BENDING REALITY FEELS Bending reality feels almost magical. Everything seems to “click.” You’re working, but it doesn’t feel like work because you love what you’re doing. When I’m in this state, I almost feel as if work doesn’t exist. Plus, intuition and insights seem to come easily, out of the blue. Maybe this is because your mind is focused so intensely on your vision that you’re alert to everything that will help achieve it and you’re in a happy, joyous state that opens you up to creativity. Sometimes it seems as if the right people, coincidences, and opportunities come to you, nudging and pushing you toward your goals. Is this the mystical law of attraction? Or is it what’s known as the brain’s reticular activating system? To me it doesn’t matter. It’s a model of reality that serves me well. 


If you can choose any model of reality you want and accept it as true—why not choose a model that suggests that you can literally bend reality to your wishes?


As you yourself master it, you will begin to see that it is not only your own “flow” you can mold but rather the full spectrum of the world around you. You can watch that full speech on


I believe every day should begin and end with gratitude. I practice it every day in my morning meditation. Each morning, focusing on the reverse gap, I think of five things I’m grateful for in my personal life. Then I think of five things I’m grateful for in my work and career. A typical list might look like this:



1.My daughter, Eve, and her beautiful smiles

2.The happiness I felt last night relaxing with a glass of red wine and watching Sherlock on BBC

3.My wife and life partner

4.The time I spent with my son building his newest Lego Star Wars creation

5.The wonderful cup of gourmet coffee my publicist, Tania, left on my desk



1.My leadership team and the amazing talent they bring to our company

2.A particularly great letter we received for my online course Consciousness Engineering

3.The incredibly fun Culture Day we had in the office yesterday

4.The fact that plans are coming together to hold our upcoming A-Fest at another amazing location 5.Having coworkers who are friends and who greet me with hugs when I come to the office This entire practice takes me no more than ninety seconds. But it’s perhaps one of the most important and powerful ninety seconds I can spend each day.


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.


Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived. —JAMES J. LACHARD, ON WHAT IS MOST SURPRISING ABOUT HUMANITY


Alan Watts famously said: Forget the money, because if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living—that is, to go on doing things you don’t like doing. Which is stupid. Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.


love this advice from author Joe Vitale: “A good goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot.”


If time and money were no object and I did not have to seek anyone’s permission, what kinds of experiences would my soul crave? Let’s apply this to the first four items in the Twelve Areas of Balance. Each of these four items relates to experiences:


1.YOUR LOVE RELATIONSHIP. What does your ideal love relationship look like? Imagine it in all its facets: how you communicate, what you have in common, the activities you do together, what a day in your life together looks like, what holidays are like, what moral and ethical beliefs you share, what type of wild passionate sex you are having.

2.YOUR FRIENDSHIPS. What experiences would you like to share with friends? Who are the friends you’d share these experiences with? What are your ideal friends like? Picture your social life in a perfect world—the people, the places, the conversation, the activities. What does the perfect weekend with your friends look like?

3.YOUR ADVENTURES. Spend a few minutes thinking about people who’ve had what you consider to be amazing adventures. What did they do? Where did they go? How do you define adventure? What places have you always wanted to see? What adventurous things have you always wanted to do? What kinds of adventures would make your soul sing?

4.YOUR ENVIRONMENT. In this amazing life of yours, what would your home look like? What would it feel like to come back to this place? Describe your favorite room—what would be in this wonderful space? What would be the most heavenly bed you can imagine sleeping in? What kind of car would you drive if you could have any car you wanted? Now imagine the perfect workspace: Describe where you could do your best work. When you go out, what kinds of restaurants and hotels would you love to visit?


Question 2: How Do You Want to Grow? When you watch how young children soak up information, you realize how deeply wired we are to learn and grow. Personal growth can and should happen throughout life, not just when we’re children. In this section, you’re essentially asking yourself: In order to have the experiences above, how do I have to grow? What sort of man or woman do I need to evolve into? Notice how this question ties to the previous one?


Now, consider these four categories from the Twelve Areas of Balance:

5.YOUR HEALTH AND FITNESS. Describe how you want to feel and look every day. What about five, ten, or twenty years from now? What eating and fitness systems would you like to have? What health or fitness systems would you like to explore, not because you think you ought to but because you’re curious and want to? Are there fitness goals you’d like to achieve purely for the thrill of knowing you accomplished them (whether it’s hiking a mountain, learning to tap dance, or getting in a routine of going to the gym)?

6.YOUR INTELLECTUAL LIFE. What do you need to learn in order to have the experiences you listed above? What would you love to learn? What books and movies would stretch your mind and tastes? What kinds of art, music, or theater would you like to know more about? Are there languages you want to master? Remember to focus on end goals—choosing learning opportunities where the joy is in the learning itself, and the learning is not merely a means to an end, such as a diploma.

7.YOUR SKILLS. What skills would help you thrive at your job and would you enjoy mastering? If you’d love to switch gears professionally, what skills would it take to do that? What are some skills you want to learn just for fun? What would make you happy and proud to know how to do? If you could go back to school to learn anything you wanted just for the joy of it, what would that be?

8.YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE. Where are you now spiritually, and where would you like to be? Would you like to move deeper into the spiritual practice you already have or try out others? What is your highest aspiration for your spiritual practice? Would you like to learn things like lucid dreaming, deep states of meditation, or ways to overcome fear, worry, or stress?


Imagine what you can give in these areas of the Twelve Areas of Balance:

9.YOUR CAREER. What are your visions for your career? What level of competence do you want to achieve and why? How would you like to improve your workplace or company? What contribution to your field would you like to make? If your career does not currently seem to contribute anything meaningful to the world, take a closer look—is that because the work is truly meaningless or does it just not have meaning to you? What career would you like to get into?

10.YOUR CREATIVE LIFE. What creative activities do you love to do or what would you like to learn? It could be anything from cooking to singing to photography (my own passion) to painting to writing poetry to developing software. What are some ways you can share your creative self with the world?

11.YOUR FAMILY LIFE. Picture yourself being with your family not as you think you “should” be but in ways that fill you with happiness. What are you doing and saying? What wonderful experiences are you having together? What values do you want to embody and pass along? What can you contribute to your family that is unique to you? Keep in mind that your family doesn’t have to be a traditional family—ideas along those lines are often Brules. “Family” may be cohabiting partners, a same-sex partner, a marriage where you decided not to have children, or a single life where you consider a few close friends as family. Don’t fall into society’s definition of family. Instead, create a new model of reality and think of family as those whom you truly love and want to spend time with.

12.YOUR COMMUNITY LIFE. This could be your friends, your neighborhood, your city, state, nation, religious community, or the world community. How would you like to contribute to your community? Looking at all of your abilities, all of your ideas, all of the unique experiences you’ve had that make you the person you are, what is the mark you want to leave on the world that excites and deeply satisfies you? For me, it’s reforming global education for our children. What is it for you?


This brings us to Law 8. 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.


Steve Jobs said it wisely: You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path; and that will make all the difference.


To provide you with additional resources for the Three Most Important Questions, Mindvalley has produced several short videos that you can access on A guided summary of the brainstorming process How to bring the Three Most Important Questions to your own organization: Watch how Mindvalley applies the process within its own organization. (I strongly feel every company should be doing this and every manager should take an interest in the blueprints for the soul of the people they lead.)


“brain exchanges,” where I’d get on a sixty-minute call with a friend who was an expert on a topic and we’d share notes on our best practices.


Replacing fear with courage is one of the key components of being unfuckwithable.


In all of these situations, chances are you won’t literally think, “I’m not enough.” No, the sneaky thing about this model is that if you have it, it’s hard to admit you have it—or even to realize that it’s there. So instead, you bury it and create a model of reality about the person you’re seeking validation from. Your brain’s meaning-making machine goes into overdrive and you decide: My husband’s such an inconsiderate asshole sometimes. That son of mine really doesn’t appreciate me. My sister doesn’t care about her family—how awful of her. My boss is an unappreciative jerk. This is the most disempowering kind of model to have, because you’re blaming outside circumstances for what happens in your life. This model robs you of your own ability to control your life. While you can’t control what others do, you can control how you react to others. 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. 


You can’t control someone else’s behavior toward you, but you can control your own reaction and how your meaning-making machine construes that behavior.


Marisa replied: If you sit on the couch all day and do nothing, it is precisely because you don’t think you’re enough. You’re afraid. You’re afraid of failure. You’re afraid of rejection. You’re afraid that those things will be proof positive that you indeed are not enough. So you do nothing. Marisa continued: But if you believe that you’re enough, that’s when you take action. That’s when you go out and try something new. That’s when you apply for that job you really want. That’s when you ask for that raise. Because you’re enough. And even if you fail, you won’t take rejection personally because it’s not you—you ARE enough—so it must be your methods or your approach or skill or whatever—and because you know you’re enough, you know you can then improve those methods and skills and your approaches and then try again. 


The problem with most people is that their problems aren’t big enough.


The most extraordinary people in the world do not have careers. What they have is a calling.


Amy Wrzesniewski, associate professor of organizational behavior at Yale University, has been studying a classification system that can help you recognize your orientation toward your work and attain greater job satisfaction. She defines work in three ways: 1.A JOB is a way to pay the bills. It’s a means to an end, and you have little attachment to it. 2.A CAREER is a path toward growth and achievement. Careers have clear ladders for upward mobility. 3.A CALLING is work that is an important part of your life and provides meaning. People with a calling are generally more satisfied with the work they do. 


When you pursue the right end goals while making sure you’re happy in the now, happiness unlocks the door for luck to come calling.


two different paths to life growth: kensho and satori. Kensho is growth by pain. Satori is growth by awakening.


It’s like nature is just trying to create all the time, and it’s looking for people who are awake. It’s looking for people who are willing to raise their hands and bring something from the unmanifest into the manifest.


the calling isn’t coming from us. It’s coming through us.


Too many people trap themselves in the chains of realistic goals because they refuse to see beyond the HOW. Don’t worry about the HOW. Start with the WHAT and the WHY. When you know what you want to bring forth in the world and WHY you want it, choose it. Then take whatever action intuition guides you toward taking.


Failure is often nothing more than good luck in disguise:


Steve Jobs: Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.


“What positive mark do you want to leave on the world in your lifetime?”


I consider the Six-Phase the most important thing I do every day.


Phase 1: Compassion This phase is about feeling connected to others and feeling a sense of kinship with and kindness toward all of life, which we discussed in Chapter 10. In this phase, you express your intention of extending greater compassion and love to an ever-widening circle of humanity, starting with your family and friends and then widening all the way to encompass the planet. Compassion practices make you a better human being, and some studies have found that men and women found compassion or kindness to be one of the most attractive qualities in the opposite sex (so this might improve your love life, too).


2: Gratitude Science shows that gratitude increases energy, reduces anxiety, improves sleep, and creates feelings of social connection—that’s why several exercises in this book focus on it. In this phase, just think about three things you’re grateful for in your personal life, three things you’re grateful for in your career, and three things you’re grateful for about yourself. This last one is important. Often we look for love from others but fail to truly love ourselves.


Phase 3: Forgiveness As I shared in Chapter 7, forgiveness is critical to Blissipline and the peak states needed for extraordinary living. Here you’ll incorporate the forgiveness exercise from that chapter into your daily practice. Science is now showing that forgiveness can lead to profound health benefits, including reduced back pain, higher athletic performance, better heart health, and greater feelings of happiness. One study of a small group of people with chronic back pain showed that those who meditated with a focus on moving from anger to compassion reported less pain and anxiety compared to those who got regular care. Another study found that forgiving someone improved blood pressure and reduced the workload on the heart. Interesting that lightening the heart of negativity should literally help it. Research on the impact of forgiveness by Xue Zheng of Erasmus University’s Rotterdam School of Management showed that forgiveness makes the body seemingly stronger. “Our research shows that forgivers perceive a less daunting world and perform better on challenging physical tasks,” said Zheng. In one study, participants could actually jump higher after writing an account of forgiving someone who had harmed them. In another study by Zheng, participants who were asked to guess at the steepness of a hill described the hill as less steep after they had written down an account of an incident where they had forgiven someone. In a previous chapter, I described my own powerful experiences with forgiveness during meditation. That’s why forgiveness is one of the components of the Six-Phase—it strengthens not only your body, but also your soul.


Phase 4: Future Dreams Up to this point, you’ve focused on the present. In this phase, you express intentions for your future happiness. I credit this phase with the massive growth and joy I’ve experienced in my career. Years ago, I visualized the life I have today. Today, I visualize years ahead while still being happy in the now. Doing this on a daily basis seems to help my brain find the optimal paths to realizing my dreams. When I’m visualizing my future life, I think three years ahead, and I suggest you do the same in this phase. And whatever you see three years ahead—double it. Because your brain will underestimate what you can do. We tend to underestimate what we can do in three years and overestimate what we can do in one year. Some people think that being “spiritual” means having to be content with one’s current life. Rubbish. You should be happy no matter where you are. But that shouldn’t stop you from dreaming, growing, and contributing. Choose an end goal from your answers to the Three Most Important Questions in Chapter 8 and spend a few minutes just imagining and thinking with joy about what life would be like if you had already attained this end goal.


Phase 5: The Perfect Day Knowing what you want your life to look like three years from now, what do you need to do today to make this happen? This phase brings you to your perfect day—today—and you can see how you’d like your day to unfold: starting your morning alert and excited, having a great meeting with amazing colleagues, feeling full of ideas, nailing that presentation, meeting up with friends after work, having a delicious dinner with your mate, playing with your kid before bed. When you see your perfect day unfolding, you’re priming your brain’s reticular activating system (RAS) to notice the positives. The RAS is that component of your brain that helps you notice patterns. In a common example, when you buy a new car, say, a white Tesla Model S, all of a sudden you start to notice more Model S cars on the roads. The same effect happens here. So, let’s say you imagine your lunch meeting today going well—great ideas, wonderful food, amazing ambiance. A few hours later, you’re actually at that meeting—and the waiter screws up your order. Because you’ve imagined a beautiful reality, your RAS is more likely to pay attention to the ambiance


Phase 6: The Blessing You can do this final phase no matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs are. If you believe in a higher power, you imagine that you can tap into it, call upon it, and feel the energy of this higher power flowing down into you, through your head and all the way to your toes—you feel loved and supported. That’s it. It takes thirty seconds. If you don’t believe in a higher power, you can imagine that you’re rebooting yourself, fine-tuning yourself, or calling on your inner strength. Likewise, you feel this energy coursing through you. You’re now ready to hit the ground running to pursue your quest.


Instead of seeing the goal, think about it using a technique called lofty questions by author Christie Marie Sheldon. Here you phrase the vision that you want for yourself as a question in the present tense. For example: Why am I so easily able to visit incredible countries? Why am I so good at making, keeping, and multiplying money? Why am I so successful in love? Why am I at my ideal weight? For many people, the phrases are easier to do than the visualization.


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. 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. 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. 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: 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. 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 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. 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. 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. 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.


CONNECT WITH VISHEN LAKHIANI I love being in touch with my readers. Here’s how to connect with me:


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