Thursday, August 27, 2009

Book: Feel The Fear... And Do It Anyway (and reading update)

I wouldn't have ordinarily read this (well, maybe I would have skimmed it) except that a few nights ago I had NOTHING TO READ so I went out to our stacks in search of something light and quick, so that I could get through it quickly before I got my new library books. This jumped out at me, so I thought, well, why not.

It was pretty good. The first parts were better than the latter parts. I was all on-board with the affirmations and the idea that what you tell yourself eventually comes true in one way or another. I get that. No problem.

However, once she started veering off into The Secret-like territory, I got kind of turned off. I do believe that (to a certain degree) manifesting works (it's also called magic, you know... just an aside), but even though I use some of the tricks in my own life (with varying results -- however, it does seem to work well for parking), I felt like it got a little bit over the top with the "All you need to do is think positively, and everything will be great!".

However, I still liked it. Some of the ideas I appreciated the most were:

At the bottom of every one of your fears is simply the fear that you can't handle whatever life may bring you. And you can handle it!!

Women have been conditioned to believe that to be powerful is unfeminine and unattractive. It is my experience that nothing could be further from the truth.

As another ancient sage once said, “The pathway is smooth. Why do you throw rocks before you?”

“Shoulds” bring on guilt and upset—totally draining emotions. Your power is taken every time you utter the words “I should.”

Taking responsibility means never blaming anyone else for anything you are being, doing, having, or feeling. AND Taking responsibility means not blaming yourself… Anything that takes away your power or your pleasure makes you a victim. Don’t make yourself a victim of yourself!

I also really liked the section on decision-making. While I would call myself a fairly decisive person generally, I know that in certain areas I can be quite a waffler. For some reason lately I've been seized with this terror that I will choose incorrectly and wreck everything. I think perhaps the string of bad luck has been working its evil ways upon me. So I was cheered to see her thoughts on this: There are no bad decisions! If you choose something and it doesn't work for you, you can choose again. Who says you have to make a straight line to your goal?

(please note: I think this sort of thinking is utter bullshit in some arenas, however, for the relatively minor decisions such as "do I go back to school?" or "should I apply to enter this art contest?" it works pretty well)

It goes something like this: rather than win/lose or lose/lose (or right/wrong, whatever), what if you looked at the decision as win/win? For me, I tried applying it to my question about whether to finally make up my damn mind and choose a program and get that masters' degree after all this time. Previously, it went something like this: "If I choose wrongly, then I will be stuck in a program that I don't like, and I will have wrecked my current career for nothing, and I will be left with nothing at all." Or perhaps something like this, "My whole life and our comfort and security depends upon my making the correct choice. This is a huge decision. I need to be very, very careful."

Right. No pressure!

But if I think about it like this: "So what? I just decide to try this program. I have all the requirements. If I get in, great. Next step. If not, oh well. Try something else." Much better. Suddenly it's not such a big deal. If it's not the right thing or it doesn't work out -- OH WELL.

This feels better.

Would I recommend this book? Sure. Why not. No big deal, right? Just kidding. It's a nice soft version of the maniacal positive-thinking self-help stuff that was so popular a few years ago. It seemed helpful. Overly simple, as any of this sort of thing generally tends to be, but I liked the affirmations and statements (helpful for pumping ones' self up before a big meeting or test or decision), and quite an easy read. If you are feeling powerless and sort of paralyzed by a decision, I would this this might be empowering and helpful.

However, I'm very happy to go back to my novels, thank you very much.

Also: I decided to see how I was doing on my goal of reading 75 books this year. Last year I read 73. I'm currently at 53 (working on 54). This time last year, I was also working on 54. Which is strange -- the exact same number. What's that... about a book and a half a week? However, I think I was doing better reading last year. Bigger books, better writers. I just feel like I was liking the books more. This has felt like an 'off' reading year -- maybe it has something to do with the impulse-checkout selection at my little local library (you know, the ones featured by the checkout desk), which I haven't tended to like (the ones I pick up on impulse, that is). I'll be interested when I do my end-of-the-year round up what books I choose as favorites. I've also been trying to branch out a little in my reading and maybe that hasn't been working for me so much.

Anyway -- 21 more books in 4 months? I think I can do it. Helped along by a massive consumption of RIP books, of course. Also helped by the fact that I (hopefully) will not be orchestrating a god-awful move right around holiday season.

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