Sunday August 23, 2009
Review by RABIATU ABUBAKAR
Get in touch with your emotions, says this book, and you could perform better in any field.
POWERED BY FEEL
By James G.S. Clawson and Doug Newburg
Publisher: World Scientific
POWERED by Feel, co-authored by James G.S. Clawson and Doug Newburg, focuses on feelings, one of the most significant aspects of human nature that is not given much consideration by self-help books.
Which is why I welcome this book, which is a well-researched discussion of how individuals, teams, and companies excel by paying attention to feelings.
Both Clawson and Newburg are experts in their respective fields in the United States; the former is a professor at the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia and the latter is with the University of Florida Medical School.
The authors have drawn out a truck-load of information from world-class performers in athletics, business, medicine, music, and the military. And they offer that information and their conclusions in a way that draws the reader into each chapter. Like a textbook, there are thematic subdivisions as well as diagrams scattered throughout.
I love quotations, so I particularly like the way the text has quotations interspersed throughout. The first section, entitled Pick Up, begins with a quotation from Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci: “All our knowledge proceeds from what we feel.” It’s certainly a memorable way to begin.
The book is based on one question that seems simple at first glance but becomes more and more complex when you ponder it: How do you want to feel? And that is what Powered by Feel is about: how the top performers in different fields have all learned to answer that question and manage how they feel to improve their performance. We learn that feelings should be taken into account in every aspect of our lives because they drive our behaviour and determine our level of performance.
The best motivational books are supposed to change the reader’s life. I am not sure how much your life will be changed by reading Powered by Feel, but I am sure that it offers useful nuggets of information to ponder.
The book is divided into four chapters: fundamental concepts, the resonance model, managing feel in organisations, and personal applications.
The first chapter, fundamental concepts examines theories such as “feel”, and “inside-out”. According to Clawson, most of the world class performers he interviewed agreed that how they feel affects how they perform. To be able to enjoy your game, career, or whatever one is doing, the “feel factor” is essential. And to maximise this feeling, you have to learn to live “inside-out” versus “outside-in”. I found this concept quite enlightening.
When we live our lives outside-in, we are allowing other people to shape our way of thinking. In other words, society dictates what we do. Living inside-out takes us out of our comfort zone; we say what we think and live by our own principles. Very few people live inside-out – because, obviously, to live like this is tantamount to being an outcast. So finding a balance might be the solution.
The next chapter, resonance model, discusses dreams, preparation, and how to overcome obstacles. People need to clarify their dreams before they can prepare to achieve them. Newburg claims that the best performers feel their energy and set it in motion; this is one of the most essential steps in preparation. Preparation means people are prepared to live their dreams and not simply fulfil them. Once they are prepared, they pursue their dreams from the inside-out; they experience resonance. The feelings within individuals resonate and amplify their energy.
In the section entitled Sustenance, feel is described as a skill that needs to be nurtured and cultivated. It is the energy we get from whatever we are doing at any particular moment. A person needs to be acutely conscious of their feelings.
According to the authors of Powered by Feel, paying attention to the way you feel is the sustenance that keeps one going. They say it is quite different from other self-help concepts, such as “flow” and “the zone”. The difference is attributed to the pressure people experience when they cannot become absorbed in what they are doing. But finding the way you feel is a skill that has to be developed and constantly employed over the entire course of one’s life.
For some readers, the idea of examining their feelings in minute detail may be a bit over the top, but I think some parts of the book intelligently picks over some interesting facets of the human psyche.
The book is well-documented, albeit a bit lengthy. However, these are minor quibbles. A good read for people who want to find the “feel” missing in their lives.