The Genius Zone by Gay Hendricks #BookshelfScavengerHunt

Bob Baker
3 min readApr 13, 2022


Welcome to the first installment of the Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt series.

What is it? With every post, I will grab a single book from my overflowing bookshelves at home (or one from a library or bookstore).

Then I will challenge myself to quickly scan through the book and find at least one brilliant idea I can share with you, dear reader.

It won’t be a book summary or in-depth treatment of the topic. I’m just searching for the most impactful thought nugget I can find in a short amount of time. I believe within every book is a goldmine waiting to be discovered.

The first book I tackled was The Genius Zone by Gay Hendricks.

I had to flip through this small volume for a while before I found something that struck me. Then I found another gem a few pages later.

Idea #1

Get two blank sheets of paper. Label one “Things I absolutely cannot control.” Label the other “Things I absolutely can control.”

Then start making lists on both sheets, with a focus on things that have drawn your attention and energy in recent weeks.

Examples of things you can’t control: The weather, what other people think about you, what politicians say and do, how other people choose to dress and speak, etc.

Examples of things you can control: How you respond to the things on the other list; what you choose to think, say, and do; what you create on your own time; who you choose to spend time with, etc.

Keep adding to both lists until you have filled up both sheets.

Next, vow to spend most of your time, energy, and emotion on the second list: Things you can control. Downplay or even throw away the first list.

Obsessing about things you can’t control leads to unresolved frustration. So you might as well relieve yourself of that pressure.

This idea is also expressed in this verse from the Serenity Prayer:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Idea #2

I could have stopped there with The Genius Zone. But this next nugget was too good to pass up:

Author Gay Hendricks suggests you ask yourself this powerful question whenever you are short on time but want to do something meaningful:

“What can I do in the next 10 minutes that would contribute to my happiness and the happiness of someone else?”

Note the word “and” — your happiness AND someone else’s.

Your answer might be “Send a text to thank someone” or “Make a quick phone call to offer someone encouragement” or “Fire off a quick email to express gratitude to someone special.”

I love that simple, potent question. How would you answer it?

And that’s it for installment #1.

What are your thoughts on these ideas or the overall concept of this Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt series? Please leave a comment.

See you soon!





Bob Baker

My mission in life is to inspire & empower people through audio affirmations, guided meditations, books, podcasts, music, art, coaching, and improv comedy.