Would you like to feel motivated, inspired, and capable of great things? Better yet, would you like a book full of helpful advice backed up by science and qualitative research to help you achieve those feelings? I thought you might. Firestarters: How Innovators, Instigators, and Initiators Can Inspire You to Ignite Your Own Life by Raoul Davis Jr., Kathy Palokoff and Paul Eder delivers exactly what it promises.
What’s a Firestarter? Simply put, Firestarters create things, disrupt things, and/or start things. They’re the people who change the world and industries, start movements and businesses, and innovate when others are content. They inspire others to be better, and seek out situations where their impact can be maximized.
Broken down into sections based on the three types of Firestarters, this book is easy to digest and is well laid out. It will leave you with concrete inspiration for taking your life and setting it on fire. Figuratively, of course.
Here are my five favorite takeaways from the book, though only choosing five was tough.
- Anyone can become a Firestarter. You don’t have to be born a Firestarter to become one. “When the right combination of personal attitudes meets the right situation, they become individuals whose passion and motivation for excellence dwarf those of the typical person. The drive for excellence for the Firestarter is a lifestyle, not an outcome.” We can all adopt habits that will propel us into Firestarter territory.
- Successful Firestarters fan their passion continuously. Rather then being driven by outcomes, Firestarters consistently find ways to keep their passion alive and well. Whether it’s reading books, listening to podcasts, going to conferences, writing, networking, or researching, Firestarters keep their flame lit.
- Firestarters practice cognitive convergence. “Firestarters form connections between seemingly disparate events in their lives, learn what works across situations, and are able to generalize this knowledge to other activities.” This is something anyone can learn to do. Seeing common themes across areas is a simple and efficient way to problem solve and innovate.
- Firestarters practice strategic introspection. “With strategic introspection, you control your own aspirations. You plan, act, and review performance, with the aim of objectivity. Objectivity requires that you have some way of knowing how well you’re performing. You can’t enhance your performance with praise you know is faulty. You can’t lie to yourself. Part of you, deep down in your cortex, always knows your true assessment of a situation… Research shows that people who aim to better themselves perform at a higher level than those who simply aim to match performance.”
- Firestarters believe they have agency. “Belief that you can act is a powerful motivator. Belief that change can happen in a flash is an even stronger motivator. Opportunity exists around us in all capacities, so many in fact that you could never possibly take all the opportunities available to you… but without action, all opportunities are wasted resources.”
Whether you’re looking to make a career change, start a business, or improve yourself, Firestarters is a great book full of useful, bite-size advice to jumpstart the process.