It Takes What It Takes- Zoo-Notable Bonus

Today’s Zoo-notable is on Trevor Moawad’s amazing book It Takes What It Takes. I couldn’t fit everything from this book that rocked my brain into one episode of Zoo-notable, so I decided to share the takeaways from each chapter.

Listen to Zoo-notable for more details, but this book has become one of my Top 20 all-time favorite books. And it’s mainly due to how each of the 12 chapters resonated with me on a personal level. So, let’s dive into ONE Big Idea from each chapter of It Takes What It Takes.

1. It Takes Neutral Thinking 

The first chapter tells us that the best way to go about a problem is to think neutrally. Positive thinking sometimes works (sometimes it doesn’t). Negative thinking always works, but it always works negatively. When we think neutrally, we aren’t judging our past, but looking at it objectively- “Oh, that happened”– and then using what we know to make the best decision we can with how to move forward.

2. It Takes a Plan 

Fail to make a plan, and you should plan to fail. Greatness takes plans, a roadmap of sorts towards your goal. More than just MAKING a plan, though, we must go through with the plan. And if the plan we make doesn’t work out, that’s okay, that’s part of the process.

As I’m writing my memoir of my time as an animal trainer, I’m reminded that every trainer creates a behavior plan. Just because we write out a plan for the steps we will take with the animal to teach a new behavior doesn’t mean we have to stick with the plan if the animal is struggling. We can change it, but it’s so much more helpful to have something to fall back on, a clear and labeled path to take.

It takes a plan to achieve anything of value. When you plan, you identify an end goal and then chart out neutral behaviors that can help you reach that goal. That may sound overly simplistic, but a lot of people say “I want to do this” without thinking about the behaviors and benchmarks required to reach that goal. Choosing not to plan is actually a plan around not planning. I don’t recommend that. You wouldn’t drive to a place you’ve never been without first checking a map or plugging the address into Google, would you? And what is a set of directions if not a plan? For any big project you take on, you need to map out your route. You need to make a plan.

Trevor Moawad- It Takes What It Takes

3. It Takes Hard Choices 

Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.

I talk about this directly in my Zoo-notable, but it’s worth mentioning again. If you have a grand dream, you will have to make sacrifices. You will need discipline. There will be things you want to do (they are more fun, more immediately gratifying), and you will have to make yourself NOT do them. There will be things you don’t want to do (they aren’t fun, they are boring, and the reward is too far away in the future). You will have to make yourself do them.

But like Trevor says, if you have a true goal that nothing will stand in your way for you to achieve, then those choices are illusions. You just do what you know you need to do. Make the hard choice an easy choice. Make it the one that helps you achieve your dreams.

4. It Takes a Verbal Governor

 Ever hear of a self-fulfilling prophecy? It’s what happens when we say stupid shit out loud. So, Trevor tells us we can’t always keep ourselves from THINKING stupid stuff. But we CAN keep ourselves from saying it out loud. Stop saying stupid shit. It reinforces negative messages to our brain, and we end up finding it.

5. It Takes a Negativity Diet 

Your environment STRONGLY influences your well-being. Eliminate as much negative stuff as you can.

Trevor showed us how strongly negativity in our environment influences our lives by living a negatively enhanced life for a month. He watched all the news, read all the comments, listened to negative music (mainly country, which doesn’t sound bad, but it plays negative tapes over and over). Basically, it was Trevor’s version of “Supersize Me,” except, instead of food, Trevor was consuming negative media all day every day.

At the end of the month, Trevor admits he was broken. All his talk about positivity, even neutral thinking didn’t have as much of an impact on his mental well-being as his environment. He saw from his own experience that if you want to go for greatness, one of those “hard choices” may need to be eliminating negative media, negative friends, and things that influence negative thoughts from your life.

I believed I could beat external influencers with my own internal language. I was wrong. Our own language cannot work nearly as well if we continue to consume emotional mediums that weaponize negativity.” 

Trevor Moawad- It Takes What It Takes

6. It Takes an Ad Campaign in Your Brain 

We are always talking to ourselves. All the time. I’m talking to myself as I write this blog post. So, to go along with the Verbal Governor and Negativity Diet, make sure that you are saying more helpful statements.

You know how advertisements get your attention and convince you to buy or consume certain products? Well, do that for yourself. Stream only positive branding advertisements to your brain, and convince yourself to buy into your dreams.

7. It Takes Visualizing 

You have a plan. You are taking care to create as positive of an environment for yourself, eliminating the negative. Now comes the really fun part! What does your ideal future look like? When you see all your hard work paying off, what is YOUR best future like? Visualize it. And then do what you need to do to make it happen!

8. It Takes Self-Awareness

Trevor Moawad shares that there are four states people can live in: Unconsciously incompetent– we don’t know, and we don’t know that we don’t know; Consciously incompetent– we know that we don’t know; Unconsciously competent– We don’t know that we know; and Consciously competent: We know, and we know that we know (and therefore can repeat it).

While this diagram puts unconscious competence ahead of conscious competence, Trevor Moawad believes consciously knowing how to replicate one’s success is key.

When we are aware of which state we are currently living, we can make changes as necessary. If I’m consciously incompetent, then I can read a book, or take a class, or talk to an expert to help me become more competent. When I reach consciously competent, then I know exactly what I need to do to succeed, and I can keep on rocking my protocols and practices.

Whether you’re unconsciously incompetent, consciously incompetent, or unconsciously competent, learning about yourself and adjusting your behaviors can make you consciously competent in every aspect of your life.

Trevor Moawad- It Takes What It Takes

9. It Takes Pressure

 Pressure, ultimately, Trevor tells us, is a privilege. Why? Because feeling pressure means that what we’re doing matters.

This is like being grateful for the challenges we face, and turning “obstacles” into “opportunities.”

10. It Takes Leadership

 In order to reach the consciously competent state, we need those who can lead us in the right direction. We need those who have either been in our shoes, or taken the path we’ve been down, or know ways to achieve what you want, and we need to listen. We need leaders. But, Trevor also mentions that leadership also starts with leading yourself first. You can’t take care of your goals and dreams until you start taking care of yourself.

11. It Takes Role Models

Wangari Maathai, the woman who shared the story of the Hummingbird

 Trevor talks about his father being his #1 role model.

Who is yours?

I have many role models. I am fortunate in my life to have many people who helped me get my footing, helped me clear a path, and helped me never to give up. We would be here all day if I listed them all. But my current favorite role model, and hero, is Wangari Maathai. I read her memoir Unbowed (an unforgettable story, and a Zoo-notable for next month), and I came to admire her even more. Wangari was a Kenyan activist who started the Green Belt Movement and helped plant a million trees. But she was also a women’s rights activist, a social justice activist, and a political activist. She embodied the idea of the Hummingbird, always doing what she could to make a difference. She also embodied the Tiger (never giving up), the Sea Squirt (keep moving), and the Oyster (turn bad situations into positive opportunities). Wangari was a brave, intelligent, kind, and compassionate woman who changed our world by making small meaningful actions. If she can do it, so can I.

12. It Takes What It Takes 

All these chapters lead up to the finale and the title of the book. Going for our dreams takes discipline. It takes sacrifice. It will likely take time and effort. Our dreams take what they take.

I’m all in. How about you?

2 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.