Book summary: The Winner's Brain

The goal of The Winner's Brain by Mark Fenske and Jeff Brown is to teach us the eight methods that successful people use to get ahead. Here's what sets them apart from everyone else.

Self Awareness

A male weightlifter being aware of his strength of being able to carry heavy objects.

Winners are conscious of how they interact with the rest of the world and how they interact with the rest of the world. A high degree of self-awareness allows you to be more productive in your relationships, career, and other areas of your life that are essential to you.

If you want to do self-awareness work for yourself, there seem to be three things you need to know.

  • To begin, you must first recognize your own abilities. If you want to succeed, you need to know what capabilities you have and how to use them to achieve your objectives.
  • Second, you must be aware of your flaws. You'll constantly be focused on the wrong things if you mistake your deficiencies for strengths.
  • Third, you must comprehend your own motivations. You'll be successful if you can apply your abilities (while minimizing your flaws) to something that is intrinsically compelling to you.

The majority of individuals are unaware that self-awareness is a talent that can be learned. One of the most effective methods is to concentrate on mindfulness.

According to the writers, mindfulness refers to a present-focused, nonjudgmental, and nonreactive manner of thinking about oneself and situations. You can see your strengths, shortcomings, and goals for what they are, enabling you to make more informed decisions about your next actions.


A manager giving his staff motivation to complete the project at hand.

Even when the rewards are far away, or the chores appear little and routine, winners employ motivation to overcome challenges.

Most individuals believe that motivation is a magical thing that happens or doesn't and has no influence. However, research informs us that motivation is a three-phase process that occurs in your brain.

The authors refer to the first step of the process as mapping because it is at this phase that the brain maps out the end destination. This occurs in the front part of your brain, which sifts through all possible aims and consequences before deciding on the optimal goal given the circumstances.

If you were driving a car, this would be the equivalent of programming your GPS to your destination.

Once your brain has locked on to the objective, it moves on to the rev phase of the process. Dopamine kicks in, causing you to feel the "need to do something," and you begin working toward your objective or destination.

The fourth and most important step is "drive," where the rubber hits the road. The limbic system and prefrontal cortex sections are used to keep this process going.

It's not necessary to comprehend the science behind what's going on. Still, it is essential to recognize that winners are masters at completing this three-step process. In contrast, normal individuals stall out somewhere along the route.

This is especially vital when you need to do the tedious but necessary chores to meet your objectives. Focusing on the tangible components of the tasks at hand and associating their accomplishment with the overarching aim you're attempting to attain is the antidote to this.


A designer focusing on doing a client's project, one at a time.

Winners can concentrate on the most critical elements in a range of situations.

In our society of continual distractions, it's becoming increasingly difficult to focus on the kind of deep labor that leads to achieving our most important goals.

Even though our brains have many resources to assist us focus, science says that we can only focus on one subject at a time. You've probably heard it all before, so instead of focusing on why we fall off track, let's concentrate on how to get back on track when we do.

  • To begin, confess to yourself that you have gotten off course.
  • Recall the original task and why it's so essential to you.
  • Remove the distractions from your life, such as your cell phone and email.
  • Choose a starting place and give yourself a verbal signal, such as "go."
  • Pay close attention to the minor aspects of what you're working on to gain a fresh perspective and immerse yourself in the project.

Emotional Balance

A female being able to recognise her feelings and altering their emotions to meet any scenario.

Winners can perceive and predict emotional reactions in themselves and others, allowing them to start, halt, and alter emotions to meet any scenario. Essentially, they use emotions to their advantage rather than allowing them to rule them.

Brain activity is responsible for all of your emotions. Some of this activity is forced, while others are chosen. In any situation, though, how you feel determines how you act.

Most people consider sentiments like happiness and satisfaction to be always positive. In contrast, feelings like wrath and violence are always negative.

Winners, on the other hand, recognize that categorizing their feelings as "good" or "bad" isn't the most correct approach to do so. "Helpful or not" is a better way to look at them.

In each event, two emotional aspects will decide your success: selecting the appropriate emotion and determining the proper intensity of that feeling. For example, rage and violence may be reasonable responses in many cases, but too much or too little may derail the scenario.

Winners understand the link between their emotions and their actions and that they have control over their feelings.

Reframing the scenario to match your requirements is a powerful method for selecting your feelings. It may sound cliche, but seeing a situation as a challenge rather than a problem may have a significant impact on the activities you take next.


A female creating a memory collage on Instagram,as a direct impact on the present moment.

Winners rely on memory to help them predict the future and adjust to new situations.

We don't spend much time thinking about our recollections, although you are, in many ways, the sum of your memories. Everything else is in your thoughts, except for what is going on around you right now.

And what a wonderful head it is! Toddlers begin to acquire and remember the meaning of up to 10 words every day at 18 months. By the time they reach adulthood, they will be able to identify around 60,000 words. But, first and foremost, why do we save memories?

According to Harvard Medical School scholar Moshe Bar:

Most people see memory as if it were a videotape or a photo book holding all of your life's events. But it's truly there to have a direct impact on the present moment and how you perceive and interact with your surroundings."

To put it another way, your memory is built to assist you in imagining, simulating, and predicting probable future occurrences. It's there to assist you in making the greatest decision you can right now.

As a result, the information you keep in your memory and the information you delete has a significant role in your ability to thrive in life. So, how can we build a memory bank that will assist us in getting where we want to go?

You may help your mind by exposing it to as many fresh experiences as possible. It doesn't have to be anything monumental, such as jumping out of an aircraft. It might be as basic as learning a few new phrases or experimenting with a different shampoo brand.

Develop this practice, and your mind will eventually rely on a larger pool of memories to assist you in getting where you want to go.

Another option is to repeat the information that you wish to recall. The more you do something or learn something in a specific method, the easier it is to remember when you need it.


Two workers being resilient as they experience ups and downs, finally reaching a point of satisfaction.

When winners fail, they rise at least once more than the rest of the field. They reframe failures in such a way that they benefit from them, and they understand that the trip is only ended when they say it is.

The phrase "locus of control" was coined by psychologist Julian Rotter to characterize a person's thinking about what causes good and bad things to happen in their lives.

You feel you are in charge of your own destiny when you have an internal locus of control. When you have an external locus of control, you are completely at the whim of external events. You have very little influence over your fate.

Here's when it gets interesting. The world's winners are not just better at getting back up after being knocked down by life. Still, they actively seek out circumstances in which they are nearly guaranteed to fail. They anticipate failure. They'll be tripped up along the road, not because they're not good enough, but because what they're attempting to do is so vast.

Finding a resilience role model is one thing you can do to improve your own resilience. They're not difficult to get by. The acclaimed author Stephen King received so many rejection letters that he devised a method to keep track of them.

Before a publisher decided to take on Harry Potter, JK Rowling was rejected hundreds of times. She couldn't afford a computer or the expense of photocopying her book since she was so impoverished, so she hand typed each 90,000-word manuscript to send to each publisher.


A person adapting to the rainy whether by bringing an umbrella, just as how a winner should be.

Winners may adapt to changing conditions, much as the brain changes over time depending on how you utilize it. Winners are acutely aware of this truth, always fine-tuning their minds to ensure continuous success.

Cab drivers in London are required to study the streets of London in near-photographic detail, as there are over 25,000 streets and hundreds of points of interest, such as hospitals, hotels, and sculptures.

That is extraordinary in and of itself. But what's more amazing is that by keeping all of that information in their brains, they're literally reshaping their brains.

Their hippocampus, in particular, expands in proportion to how long they have been on the job, demonstrating that the structure and size of your brain are directly impacted by what you encounter.

Every time you think about an idea, experience an emotion or do an action, there is a shift in your brain. Over time, these modest adjustments add up to big results.

Meditation is one thing you can do to improve your brain for the better. According to studies, just eight weeks of meditation was enough to identify increased thickness in the brainstem nuclei responsible for serotonin release, linked to emotions of pleasure and well-being.

Brain Care

A female working out and eating nutritious meals to nourish her body and brain.

Winners nourish their brains with the proper meals, as well as the appropriate amount of sleep and exercise. What is beneficial to the body is usually helpful to the mind.

When you exercise, you increase your blood flow and take in greater oxygen from the air. As a result, the brain receives more oxygen and performs better. This has the long-term impact of increasing the capacity of capillaries supplying the brain, so you receive this effect all of the time, not just while you're working out.

According to Arthur Kramer, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois, 30 minutes of moderate exercise, three times a week should suffice.

So we've covered the exercise. What kind of nourishment does your brain require to function optimally? It's crucial to consume the correct quantity of fats in your diet. For optimum brain function, you should have a 4:1 omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. A few meals of cold-water fish such as salmon each week should be enough.

Finally, you must obtain enough sleep after you've exercised and eaten healthily. You've probably heard this before, but it's worth repeating.

According to Carlyle Smith, a sleep researcher and psychology professor at Trent University, a full night's sleep can result in a 20-30% increase in motor abilities.

If you're having trouble sleeping, meditation is one of the most effective techniques to fall asleep and remain asleep. It will not only help you fall asleep, but it will also help you improve the quality of your sleep if you practice it regularly. It's a two-for-one remedy for sleeplessness.


Your brain is a finely tuned machine, and how you use and maintain it will help determine your life's success. Please treat it with respect.

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