Blue Stiley’s new book The Sum of 4: The Secret Equation to Accelerating Achievement lives up to its promise not only to inspire and motivate readers to achieve their goals but to share his secret equation for how to make that achievement happen as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Blue has himself used this equation many times, and in these pages, he shares numerous personal stories from his own life to achieve success. Those stories range from how he learned to deal with a bully as a child to his becoming a black belt in martial arts, followed by an international model, a fitness coach, an entrepreneur, and now an author. Blue’s stories entertain while also illustrating his points about how the different components of the secret equation can lead to success.
The secret equation is not meant to be a secret-readers just need to discover and apply it. Blue is upfront in explaining that the equation is really just simple math anyone can use. In the introduction, he states:
“The result of adding two or more numbers is the definition of a sum. The Sum of 4 is a concept that emphasizes the fact that there are multiple, if not infinite, ways to reach certain results, goals, dreams, or destinations. It’s like the classic idiom: There is more than one way to cook an egg… There is no single way of doing something… Accepting this theory and learning to effectively think outside the box, and in more than one way, is the strategy and methodology behind The Sum of 4. It is an easy four-step system, MENTOR, DEVELOP, EXECUTE, and SUCCEED, that if implemented correctly, will find your most efficient path to accelerating achievement.”
Blue then walks readers through the four steps of his system, shedding light on the importance of each one and how to apply it effectively. While the terms are simple, as Blue states, “the process takes time to cultivate and blossom.” For example, mentoring is not just a matter of finding mentors who are already successful at what you want to be successful at. Blue states: “Whom you spend your time with will not guarantee who you will become. There needs to be a cause or catalyst!” For Blue, that catalyst was the need to figure out how to deal with a bully. The answer was his father introducing him to Reed Sensei, the martial arts teacher who became Blue’s mentor. Blue affectionately reveals how Reed Sensei inspired him while also practicing tough love to make him achieve levels he never would have thought he was capable of. Beyond martial arts, Blue learned discipline, humility, focus, and much more from his mentor.
I won’t go into detail about what Blue shares in regards to every step of his equation, but I will briefly mention that most of what he discusses is something we already know-so we can all achieve it. Blue just makes us aware of it and highlights its importance so we repeatedly focus on it. As Blue knows from repeatedly practicing martial arts moves, repetition is key to success. So is delaying gratification and being patient until you can see progress toward your goal being made because of your efforts. As Blue states, “discipline and consistent practice, over and over again, are how you make your best better. Repetition makes you a master!”
One of my favorite chapters in The Sum of 4 focuses on focus. Too often, we are distracted by everything around us. Blue, using martial arts examples, shows how easily we can get kicked in the face if we don’t maintain focus. He offers clear advice for how to stay present in the now so we can concentrate fully. He shows how being fully focused on just one activity is “safer, more efficient, and strategic,” than trying to haphazardly multi-task.
Another key tool Blue offers is learning how to declutter your mind. This task, of course, is related to focus. Blue tells us to “Leave your problems and irrelevant things at the door and focus on one activity at a time. Control this time and what you let distract you.” Easier said than done, but Blue gives examples of how to accomplish it.
In addition to his spot-on advice and enlightening stories, Blue ends each chapter with historical examples of mentor/mentee relationships that led to greatness; for example, he discusses how Apple CEO Steve Jobs mentored Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Then he offers an activity for the reader divided into “Think” and “Action” sections so we can review what we just learned and apply it to our own lives and goals.
Blue Stiley’s positive, down-to-earth personality shines through on every page, making The Sum of 4 a pleasure to read. Who wouldn’t listen to a guy who has succeeded so well in his fitness and modeling goals that he was hired to be the Bowflex guy in commercials? But this chiseled, handsome entrepreneur is also a very human person who makes himself vulnerable by revealing his many shortcomings. He makes us realize we are not all that different from him, and consequently, when we learn how to use the Sum of 4, we can not only achieve our goals but accelerate our path to reaching them. Blue has me convinced. Take a chance and see if The Sum of 4 contains the missing equation you need to get where you want to go.
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