How to be Brilliant


Not long ago, I finished this book – ‘How to be Brilliant’ by Michael Hepnell. I really enjoyed the book, and found it a modern and surprisingly, not at all dated, having been written over a decade ago.

I would recommend the read as I found it insightful. That said, it is my first book of this kind – so it was all new to me. It’s all about changing the way you think, realigning your values and breaking down your goals into manageable chunks until you can ultimately become the person you want to be.

Sounds a bit wishy washy coming from me – Michael puts it a lot better. 

From techniques on how to break down the rocks weighing you down to personal anecdotes about the efforts Michael went to to be a brilliant dad, the book was genuinely a joy to read from beginning to end. 

Like many things promising to improve your life, ‘How to Be Brilliant’ is not an overnight solution to changing your world for the better. It’ll take time, (at least 90 days the book quotes) to really implement all the suggestions. Although, there are activities within such as identifying your areas for improvement, speaking to more strangers and identifying the rocks holding you down, that could have you seeing benefits from day one. 


My brilliant takeaways from the book:

  • Be intentional when setting your goals. Don’t say, I want to be a better Designer’
  • Positive mental attitude: yeh yeh I know you’ve heard that before. But can it be wrong if so many people swear by it? 
  • Organise yourself and goals and set deadlines. It takes 30 days to build a habit. 

“Look at what you want to do this year, split that into quarters, then split that into thirds. That’s 30 days – 1 month. What will you do in that time?”

Some girl typing at home
  • Write down everything that’s holding you back from achieving what you want. Tackle those blockages one by one until there are none left. The book is big on writing things down, as it believes by writing down your goals with a deadline you’re making a commitment to them. 
  • Working hard. I’ve been listening to a lot of resources lately. You can go do any webinar, buy any course, at full price or discounted and none of it will have any difference on you unless you commit to it and put in the work. I say this confidently being someone who has bought many MANY courses and attended far too many free webinars! 

“Take massive action!”

Everyone who ever did anything
  • Finally, my biggest takeaway from the book. Take massive action, an instruction echoed in this goal digger podcast. We need to take action when it comes to anything we decide. Our goals, our plans, our rocking breaking. So often we talk and talk about all the things we want, without doing anything. This is my biggest affliction. To some extent it doesn’t even matter if the action ends up being wrong or right, at least you have started. You’ve begun, and given momentum to the journey you want to go on. 


When I first wrote this post I was in my first cycle of 90 days. Q4 of 2019. I wrote down actionable goals for the next 30 day period, and I did get a few of them done but not all.

I think another good point to add to the above would be not setting yourself too many goals for one time period. Even if those goals are both SMART and actionable. Especially in the current climate.

If you’re interested in planning out your year with a free and quite basic template, you can download one here. And if you’re interested in reading the book yourself you can find it here.

Or get the book for free with Audible as part of your 30 day free trial if you’re new to the service. No affiliate link or sponsor here, you can do this with any book if you’re new to Audible. I love it so much! Will gush about that at a later date.

Here’s to being brilliant one day. Salud!

Charlotte Gray
Charlotte Gray

Thanks for spending some time Up and Away with me!

I’m writing here to keep track of not only my travels to new places, but also my daily journeys through learning, loving and life.

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