Chance Lunceford has an uncommon mentality. And he wants you to have one too.
Or he could just be a madman. I’m still trying to decide.
Either way, his book is interesting and worth a read. It’s one of a bunch of interesting books from people I’m reading at the moment that I can guarantee you’ve never heard of it.
Like its author, it’s more than a little unconventional, to be honest. But it was the book’s tagline that sold me: “A madman’s guide to unlocking your genius”.
I’ve also been following Chance on Twitter for a while now.
If you’re like me and you feel the pull of self-improvement books in airport bookshops and online, then you’ll know that it’s pretty hard to find something that stands out in a now-crowded marketplace.
Uncommon Mentality stands out though from my perspective.
For one thing, you won’t find it in an airport bookshop. Or any bookshop. At least not yet.
It’s only available as an eBook at the moment.
And you won’t have heard of the book’s author either. Chance Lunceford is no Tim Ferriss. But he may be a guru in the making. And he’s a good writer..
Chance has written a book with a clear purpose:
“… as a tool for teaching you how to amplify your mental abilities in uncommon but powerful ways. Along the way, you’ll learn how to leverage processes that your mind already uses to enhance your mental capabilities. “(p.4)
I found Chance online. By… chance… actually. And I only know him by reading what he writes online.
He doesn’t go into a lot of details about his past, but he’s had to overcome a lot of what he calls “habitual destructive behaviours”. This includes obsessive behaviours and addiction.
I’m not saying that to glorify his past. But the point is he’s figured out a system that’s allowed him to rise above the aspects of his life that he didn’t like.
Chance is keen to impart actionable advice. Here’s what’s on the menu across the four chapters and about 100 pages:
Chapter 1: Opening your mind’s eye
Don’t be scared off by the new-age sounding title. This is about crafting your inner vision.
This means learning to think visually so that you can focus your attention on your goals, get past things that are holding you up, or harnessing the software of your mind so that you can frame and reframe your experiences and internal narrative to your advantage.
In Chance’s words, it’s about:
introducing you to the power and potential inherent in your ability to use your imagination to enhance your ability to create your own reality”(p.30).
Chapter 2: Anchors and ballasts
The second chapter expands on the envisaging idea. Chance explores a range of tools that you can use to develop your mental skills so that you can amplify your ability to manifest your inner vision into the outer world.
Some of this includes things like meditation, selective use of vocabulary and other similar approaches like symbolism to trigger internal states to overcome weaknesses or counteract whatever is holding you back.
Chapter 3: Power of the pen
This section is on writing, which according to Chance is like deadlifting for your brain.
I like this. If you want to get strong mentally you have to write. I can relate to this as I need to write to think.
Chance sees the need for old-school long hand writing as well as digital writing. Again, I agree.
I think these use different processes in your brain and I do both.
But I also know that for extra creativity, especially at the start of a new project working on paper or a whiteboard helps me get the ideas flowing.
I don’t think there’s anything new here about writing, but it’s packaged in a concise way.
Writing something every day, making and taking notes, keeping a journal, keeping different kinds of journals, writing out scenarios are some of the activities he recommends.
There are lots of ideas to experiment with. I get the impression that Marcus Aurelius would approve. Many of these feel like exercises in Stoic thinking.
Chapter 4: Skill work and attitudes
The final chapter rounds off the toolkit with a focus on how to dig into your thoughts and attitudes so that you can become a better learner and student both of life and other people.
Again, the toolkit here has a very Stoic flavour. If you’re not familiar with the Stoics, this is a very accessible way to get started. And if you are, then it’s a good summary.
- Asking the hard questions.
- Mental rehearsal
- The placebo effect
- Negative visualisation
- Strategic visualisation
- Mental exposure therapy
- How to be undeniable
- Dealing with fear and anxiety
- The three pillars circuit for integrating fitness with work
- The double swole superset
Chance wants to make the world a better place. And he wants me to succeed. That means you as well.
This is his playbook to a better world. Here’s his vision:
I imagine an army of actualized people moving forth into the world and battling the evils of nihilism, hopelessness and slothfulness that are tearing our relationships with ourselves, each other and the world apart.(p. 101)
Madman or genius? Buy the damn book and make up your own mind.