Self help – book 2

Well I learned a few things yesterday. 

Firstly supercoat (TM) was a superb purchase. When worn in the freezing cold with driving rain there’s no better place to be. It’s warm and it’s dry and I love it

Secondly Porche and transit van drivers speed up when they see you passing large puddles. They are reprehensible human beings who deserve to listen to James Blunt’s ‘You’re Beautiful’ on a loop until the end of time whilst strapped to a bed of nails. 

Thirdly my trousers and underpants are NOT waterproof, and this is worth bearing in mind given the waterfall like run off of moisture that supercoat’s rain proof exterior creates and the waves produced by idiots in 911’s. 

Fourthly I am an unexpected convert to the power of goal setting and self help books. This (given my previous feelings on these subjects) is probably the most revelatory of the four points, but comes last because the first three are way more amusing.  

When I arrived (rather waterlogged) at my destination yesterday I had 25% of ‘Own it: regain control and live life on your terms’ by Sandra Webber (link) left to read – and I was unexpectedly looking forward to it. 

I like the title ‘Own it‘. 

Taking responsibility for your past and present actions in life and being honest with yourself is really important to me – and this consequently hits the right note. 

I read the remainder of it whilst munching my way through the salad bar – which is definitely worth £3.99 and the 6.5 mile round trip walk required to eat it (driving there is for the weak). 

(Note – in the spirit of full disclosure this plate may not represent the author’s only visit to the salad bar…)

As I munched away (and my clothes dried on the radiator next to my table) I realised that I’d firmly decided that this book has been WAY better than the previous one. As I seem to have already mastered the art of saying ‘f*** it’ (which was the book’s primary message) it ultimately will have limited use. 

This one has made me think a lot more about what I really want from life, how to achieve it – and the strategies I might use to obtain it. 

Oddly – despite the author of this book being a seriously goal oriented person (something I never used to consider myself to be) it’s made me realise that I may be more like her than I originally thought. 

She bases her life and the book around an acronym.

G.A.M.E. – which stands for:

  • Goal clarity – high performing people are clear about what they want from life and are motivated by goals. They may have lots of smaller goals rather than one large one but this characteristic unites them. (I have goals in life that I’m working towards – but no fully formed ones yet that are career related)
  • Act daily – are you executing on your plans every day and following through with them? This is all about remaining focused and not getting sidetracked (This is something I need to work on. I get distracted easily. Ooooh I got a text!). 
  • Momentum – related to persistence, continual progression and physical fitness. Are you agile mentally and physically? (This is traditionally an area I’ve also been very weak in, even though the physical side is now coming along nicely)
  • Enjoy and Evaluate – the whole point of changing your life is creating one that you will enjoy. You need to be able to step back and ask whether this is the case, and if not understand why. (I’m fully able to both enjoy and evaluate things. I score one out of four! Yay!)

Now – as I stated in a previous post I’ve never liked this kind of thing in the past. Naturally I find I distrust anything that provides a formula for success. My rationale for this is ‘if it was that simple then everyone would be doing it.’

However – I’m beginning to think instead that maybe (just maybe) it really IS possible to quantify the steps you need to take in order to succeed in life. 

Maybe the reason everyone isn’t successful is that very few people are willing (and I count some elements of current self and all of my old self amongst them) to take the time and invest the effort to do what it takes to truly make transformative change. 

There were a lot of exercises after each chapter (most of which I haven’t completed fully just yet) that really made me think about not only about what motivates me and makes me happy, but also the type of person I am. They have however left me (in a good way) with more questions than answers. There are a lot of things I need to consider over a longer period. 

One of the more sobering aspects of the book though is the author’s categorisation of personality types. These (she suggests) fit neatly into three groups. 

  • Rays of sunshine
  • Cloudy skies
  • Dark storms

Honestly, after reading this I can see (at different times in my life) I’ve sat in all three camps. 

Around the time of 1999/2000 I’d definitely become a dark storm. I felt that I was a failure in work and romance, that life was consequently a waste of time and that despite what I felt I deserved the worst would always happen. This was an inevitable FACT.

When people suggested otherwise or tried to put a positive spin on my doom laden view of the world I knew that I was quite capable of draining their will to live and capably convincing them that my negative evaluation of life was the absolute truth

For a time I’m sure people avoided me for this reason – but I viewed it (incorrectly) as realism. All of the happy people were merely deluded fools that were yet to learn how crap life was. 

Occasionally since then I’ve slipped back into this way of thinking. I know this because I consciously tried to change after I’d been made to realise how people saw me. Due to this I was hyper aware about appearing to others as a negative person and usually recognised quickly when I did. 

For the most part because of this (since 2001) I know I was the second personality type – cloudy skies

This version of me was in a phase of his life where he felt sometimes positive and capable of being a motivator – but he was still regularly in danger of returning to negative ways of thinking. He regularly swung in both directions.

A cloudy skies person will not necessarily like the job they’re in but they will tolerate their situation because their wages may fund the lifestyle they are used to. Organisations in particular love these types of people because they’re steady, usually reliable and they rarely leave employment or make drastic changes in life. 

The expanded description of cloudy skies in the book is unnervingly accurate in describing me as I was up until a year or so ago – and I found myself constantly shaking my head with annoyance as I read page after page of what was basically a version of me that I really didn’t like, and honestly would rather forget. 

This brings me to the final personality type – Ray of Sunshine

The characteristics of these people are that you feel better after spending time with them, they’re high energy but not hyper, they’re warm and friendly, they’re generous, they’re healthy and vibrant and take care of themselves, they are self aware, and are real and authentic. They help and motivate others. 

This is the type of person that I aspire to be

I canvassed a few friends (those that I knew who were willing to give me both barrels if needed) to see which camp they thought I was currently in and sent them the full lists from the book. 

Some of these traits I think I have – and some feel I need to work towards – which also appeared to be the consensus in my (not very scientific) friend poll too. Although at the moment I display a lot of traits from this group but occasionally (they said) I revert to ‘cloudy skies’ – which I totally agree with. 

Guilty as charged. 

It’s nice though to think that lately I fall more into the ‘Ray of sunshine’ camp than the other two, because a year ago I’m pretty certain people would have given me very different answers. 

It’s also nice to quantify these characteristics and be mindful about which ones form the lion’s share of your personality. Actually putting names to them will (I think) will help me remain focused on being the one that I want to be. 

The book was also full of little thought provoking quotes – and one that really drew my attention was a sentence by Frederick Nietzsche (the German philosopher) in a section of the book about goal clarity. It was:

‘He who has a why can endure any how.’

This hit me like a brick – and I immediately sent it on to a friend who’s been having a tough week. 

It pretty much encapsulated all of my efforts to lose weight. In this respect – unlike most other aspects of my life, I have a big overriding goal – to be as healthy and as fit as I possibly can and never go back to the way I used to be. 

I can endure any pain along the way if it means that ultimately I get what I want. 

I don’t think I’ve shirked any part of this process – and it made me realise that in this area of my life I’m everything that I also want to be in other aspects of my life. 

In this area (even though I still have a long way to go) I’m a success. 

I have goal clarity, I act daily, I have momentum and I continually enjoy and evaluate how I’m doing. So – now ‘all’ I need to do is figure out what else is important enough to me to spark the same behaviour in my career. 

I still have to figure out though internet, what that career will be…

I recommend the book though. It’s also free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited on Amazon – or have a 30 day free trial like me! 😉


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s