I had read this book a while back, possibly about 10 years ago. I really liked it at the time and even to this day there is one chapter of this book that I read a whole 10 years ago that still influences me (will cover this below). A few of us on Twitter started a book club for 2015 and this book was voted as the book to read in January 2015, so I was keen to see how it ‘measured up’ 10 years later. In that span of 10 years I have probably read about 100 other self-help / personal development books.
My book reviews tend to focus on just the bits I liked. There are two reasons for this. One is, I don’t finish books I don’t like, so you’ll never see a book review by me on a book I didn’t like. I don’t have the time or patience to get through a whole book just for the sake of it. Secondly, with most books I read, there are parts I don’t like as much as other parts, but I think my reviews will be too long if I talk about all these different aspects. There were parts and whole chapters of this book I didn’t like. Just not for me. Overall though, I still consider this a good read and that Susan Jeffers makes valid points about anxiety and wellbeing as a whole, as well as offering some good tips.
I don’t usually review books in this way but what I’ll do here is rank chapters in the book for how useful and/or inspiring I found them and briefly tell you why.
Best chapters were
Chapter 1: What are you afraid of and why? I had forgotten one of the main messages of this book is that anxiety feeds off your fear that you “can’t handle it”. Basically, she is saying (well this is how I interpret it), is that often it’s not the initial anxiety that is the problem, but that you tell yourself that if it happens you won’t be able to deal with it or handle it.
Chapter 4: Whether you want it or not….. it’s yours. Although this chapter could seem overly simplistic, I really liked being reminded by the author that I have more control that I sometimes realise with how I spend my day and what choices I make, what decisions I make. I would add that this could partly depend on your life circumstances (for example, I live alone, so some things are easier for me as I have more control of my time).
Chapter 5: Pollyanna rides again. The author acknowledges that positive thinking and trying to be positive generally doesn’t just happen with a click of the fingers. She writes that it takes practice and it can be compared to a skill in that if you don’t practice it, you lose it. I don’t have a problem with her positive thinking angle. I do not believe she is saying that if people are not positive or not able to engage in any positive thinking are ‘unskilled’ in some way.
Chapter 8: How whole is your ‘whole life’. This is the chapter all those years ago that massively helped me. It’s a beautifully simple technique/philosophy. She writes about how hard it can be for someone when a relationship fails and that if this person has made that relationship the whole of their life it can be devastating. She recommends (and I actually took out pencil and paper when I read this all them years back!) to draw a square and divide it into 9 mini squares. So three rows (high and wide) of three squares. You then select 9 areas of life that are relevant/important to you. Not only can this focus you on setting goals or area’s for development in these areas, but if one area or even two area’s goes wrong, it will equate to either an 11% problem or a 22% problem. So instead of having a square with just one important area (relationship), you help to add balance to your life with the 9 squares. With only 1 square, if it goes wrong, then it’s a 100% problem. I know for some, this will be a bit of a nonsense and not helpful. I love it. For me it’s bang on.
These chapters had some decent parts but were not as good as the chapter’s above
Chapter 2: Can’t you make it go away. I like the way she makes us question how we compare ourselves to others.
Chapter 3: From pain to power. She advocates taking a risk a day.
Chapter 10: Choosing love and trust. She encourages you to think about both positive and negative people in your life and ask yourself what you have learned and/or could be grateful for.
Chapter 12: There is plenty of time. I love her statement of ‘patience means knowing it will happen and giving it time to happen’.
These chapters contained nothing useful for me
Chapter 6 – When “they” don’t want you to grow
Chapter 7 – How to make a no-lose decision
Chapter 9 – Just nod your head – say “Yes!”
Chapter 11 – Filling the inner void