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Make Your Own List. Most self-help books promise to take you from 0 to , but many people reading them are starting at minus The author of What's Stopping You? Do you think reading books can really help you with something major like overcoming insecurities?
People tend to buy self-help books pretty much out of desperation, in the desire that something will cure them. You are who you are. You are an insecure person. You cannot develop the personality traits of somebody that is a secure person. Thirdly, people with insecurities need a map to help them find a way forward. The first one is Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, which argues that emotional intelligence is more important than standard measures of intelligence like IQ.
But another key element, which was quite revelatory for me when I read it, is about the impact of fear on your brain. The impact of fear as a physiological response was well known when he wrote the book, but what was less well known was the idea of fear as a neurological response. Its main purpose is to alert you to danger and it sends an emergency al. These are moments when something happens to you that induces fear or distress, and can include fear of failure or fear of being upset, and the same response occurs. They are always going to be there.
If you feel insecure, you feel insecure about certain things, and those insecurities will be triggered by certain incidents that act as reminders. It brings you to a halt, and prevents you doing things. It prevents you actually moving your life forward, it prevents you taking risks in your life.
What Oliver James argues is that this is all mostly to do with conditioning. What was a real revelation for me was his discussion on scripts. That became my script: the annoying little brother. Another script I had was that my father was constantly disappointed in me, so I was also the disappointing son. And what Oliver James says is that once you have this script, it follows you through your entire life. Others will fit into your own script — perhaps in my example acting as my annoyed sister or disappointed father. I will always play the annoying little brother role. It was Virgina Satir who talked about the family being the factory where people are made, and Oliver James encapsulates that very well by talking about scripts.
I thought that was absolutely brilliant. You feel trapped in this script. So how do you get out of it? Another important thing James talks about is how you must develop insight. That gives you an enormous advantage. It even helps with my sister. But with his downgrading of genetics, debate certainly rages. People are very divided about it. Frankl was a psychiatrist in Vienna in the s and then got carted off to Auschwitz with all his family. He was the only one that survived. Halfway through this enormous trauma, he decided he was receiving an incredible insight into human responses to stress.
Rather than waiting for some Nazi guard to kill him, he was going to use what was happening to him to comment on the human condition, and it completely transformed his view of his circumstances. He was watching some of his fellow inmates go under and give up, and eventually die. Why did they not die? What made them behave in a way that helped them survive? The idea is that suffering gives you perspective, and that your suffering will stop the second you get perspective on it, the second it has meaning.
He realized, in Auschwitz, that his suffering had meaning because he was going to write about it. His suffering stopped at that point. He uses another example, of a man who is grieving for his wife. Your suffering has meaning, because it spared her grief. The idea that suffering has a purpose is incredibly enlightening. He mentions how you should envisage what you want said about you at your funeral, which made me laugh.
I think visualization is a very good thing, but not at your funeral. Most self-help books begin with step one, and what they promise to do is take you from 0 to So even getting to zero is quite an effort. And so we can now read Covey, who is incredibly practical. He also talks about compartmentalizing things that happen in your life. This was a classic for me. Another element I really like in this book is that Covey really starts the process of dealing with people. The biggest barrier for any insecure person is other people. You can get in these horrible situations where you come to see a relationship, say with your boss, as a battle between you and them.
What you should do is start the process of gaining self-esteem by liking other people, by forcing yourself to like other people and that will help you to like yourself. How do you do that? What Carlson says is that you should develop your compassion. That runs right the way through this book — the idea of developing your compassion. One of the key problems is self-obsession. You need to stop seeing the impact everyone has on you, and see the impact you have on them.
It actually reinforces your low self-esteem and your insecurities. Obviously we are who we are, we are frail humans that are triggered by our insecurities. You should catch yourself and then look at them differently. Eventually, that becomes such a habit, that your second reaction is almost instant. Take a moment. React better and that will help you. Five Books interviews are expensive to produce. If you're enjoying this interview, please support us by donating a small amount. What Covey is trying to do in his book is to structure a positive route by which you can then, each day, take a step forward.
Each day you slowly build towards a better future. It divides every activity you have into things that are not urgent and are urgent and things that are not important and are important. The activity box you must focus on in order to make progress is the not-urgent but important one. That should then drive everything else. So in answer to your question, I would say yes.
Sure you may lapse, but by that time you should be in the flow of things working better for you, you should have a plan…. Oh yes, absolutely. I did a ten-year plan. What you do is you keep a diary physical, not electronic , and as you swap diaries you should then rewrite your plan at the back.
He invokes the US constitution. He says, if you think about America, for hundreds of years it has lived by this constitution, by its founding principles. America often goes wrong, like Watergate or Guantanamo Bay, but it has a benchmark.
So we should develop our own constitution and have our own principles and you write them down and each year as you change diary you rewrite them, because they may change, as the US constitution has. Some of them more than others. For me, Emotional Intelligence really made the scales fall from eyes regarding what was going on in my head.
Stephen Covey definitely made a big difference in terms of reorganizing how I thought about my future, and making me an effective person. Carlson is more of a pleasant book to read, it gives you a warm feeling. But also this idea of developing your compassion is so important. Five Books aims to keep its book recommendations and interviews up to date. If you are the interviewee and would like to update your choice of books or even just what you say about them please us at editor fivebooks.
Robert Kelsey is the author of What's Stopping You? We ask experts to recommend the five best books in their subject and explain their selection in an interview. This site has an archive of more than one thousand interviews, or five thousand book recommendations. We publish at least two new interviews per week. Five Books participates in the Amazon Associate program and earns money from qualifying purchases. Support Us. What's Stopping You? Buy all books Read.Christian books on overcoming insecurity
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