Every once in a while, and I am sure you experience this too, you read a book you find so amazing that you have to share it. Today I am sharing one of those books: Emotional Agility by Susan David
This is a non-fiction book found in the personal growth section of your local bookstore. I don't discriminate amazing books to fiction, non-fiction or any time of genre - so you will find me all over the place on this topic.
So why. Why is this book so amazing?
I found the book amazing based on this one little phrase that has stuck with me since I read this in August of 2017 and that phrase is
Who is in charge - the thinker or the thought?
The book is 288 pages so there is clearly more to what she is writing than that. But if you read it and you only get one thing out of it I hope its that idea. The concept that your thoughts are not real. They are just thoughts and you could just as easily have a different thought, which is proof they aren't real. So if they aren't real - then they aren't in charge. You are in charge.
There are thoughts running through your head every day all day
"I don't belong here" - not real
"I am a failure" - not real
"I am amazing" - also not real (it goes both ways)
So if those thoughts aren't real, especially the negative ones, what does that mean for us (for me as I read this book).
It meant I could re-write the narrative of my life that was running through my head. If the thoughts weren't real then I had the power to choose a different thought. If neither were going to be real I might as well choose the one that serves me best.
I choose "I belong here" over "I don't belong here" because choosing the thought that I belong grounds me in this world and enables me to do the work I want to do.
I choose "My work is good" over "My work is not good enough" because choosing that through keeps me going in the work I want to do.
It also means you can re-write the negative narratives in your brain as well. You can choose different thoughts and in choosing those different thoughts you can have a different outcome. Believing in your work, your art, your creativity will keep you going. And in the creation of work, whatever that may be, keeping going is the only metric of success.
Just keep going. It's in the work where you find the answers.
With art or any work we choose to undertake, most of what you have to do is show up.
So if you find yourself with a narrative you aren't happy with I encourage you to try this book. In addition to the mantra I mentioned above you will find some other gems!
If you are interested in more on the book here is the official book summary and some places you can learn more.
Summary: The way we navigate our inner world – our everyday thoughts, emotions, and self-stories – is the single most important determinant of our life success. It drives our actions, careers, relationships, happiness, health; everything. For example: Do we let our self-doubts, failings, shame, fear, or anger hold us back? Can we be determined, persevering toward key life goals, but just as importantly, have the insight and courage to recognize when these goals are not serving us, and adapt?
You can hear her on NPR here: http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2017/03/17/susan-david-emotional-agility
And a quick video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcUkmzQTBhE
Here is the book website: http://www.susandavid.com/new-index/