Summary of On the Edge and In Control

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On the Edge and In Control book summary
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  • Applicable
  • Overview
  • Concrete Examples


Deborah Bright describes an eight-step program for gaining more control over your life, both every day and in the long term. She discusses becoming more aware of your level of control, and assuming more responsibility for your own direction. She advocates being a “pro-achiever,” with a positive “take control” attitude. Although the book’s strength resides in stories drawn from personal interviews, the basic principles are very familiar in success and self-help literature. Bright coins some new phrases, but her advice is not new. However, the self-help audience always seems to welcome a new look at these ideas, restated and repackaged in different ways. getAbstract recommends this book to those who want an extra boost in exerting control over their lives, to readers who like strong personal anecdotes, and to beleaguered junior execs who have not yet consulted a basic life management text.

About the Author

Dr. Deborah Bright, author of the best-selling book Creative Relaxation, coaches professionals from all fields on how to thrive in today’s high-energy offices and two-career households. She is a former Olympic diver who has consulted with professional tennis and baseball players, and golfers. She has been quoted frequently in The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Cosmopolitan, and USA Today.



First Steps to Taking Control

To take control, start by identifying the key factors that will lead to the results you want. First, clearly pinpoint your desired outcome, distinguish the key issues that affect that outcome and then take action. The better a job you do at determining your key factors, the easier it will be to gain the results you want.

As you begin to take charge, recognize that “taking control is not the same as setting goals.” Your goals are what you want to achieve. Gaining control, on the other hand, is about understanding the factors that can help you meet your goals. While total control is not possible, you can increase the amount of power you have by cultivating a “true sense of control.” Make sure the outcomes you want in the short term are consistent with the goals you want over the long term. Otherwise, you may create future problems by choosing short-term strategies that work well now, but will detract from a long-term goal.

Avoid traps that give you a “false sense of control.” The three major traps are:

  1. Falling into the “rigid zone” – You are too rigid if making rules and following schedules become central...

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