A little over a week ago, I received a request on Twitter to review a book on this blog. Since no one has ever asked me to review a book here (or anywhere else for that matter), I immediately jumped at the opportunity and received my copy of Your Self Sabotage Survival Guide: How to Go From WHY ME? to WHY NOT? in the mail a few days later.
The request was prompted by a post I wrote here titled “Perhaps I’ve Said Too Much,” which discussed how I focus so much on negative things about myself that I often self-sabotage my own efforts to achieve success. My use of the hashtag “#selfsabotage” must have attracted the good folks at Career Press, and they extended the offer for me to review the book. A perfect match, right?
Well, not quite. To be clear, Your Self Sabotage Survival Guide is a finely written book which excellently conveys author Karen Berg’s enthusiasm for helping people rise above various attitudes and behaviors which can hold them back in life. The emphasis of this site, however, deals more with everyday life issues, while Berg’s book focuses more on achieving success in the business world. For example, whereas Berg’s book dedicates an entire chapter to the importance of personal appearance, this blog is much more likely to discuss how depressed people can sometimes have problems getting out of bed to make it to the closet where their shirts are located.
So while I read the book and recognized what an excellent job Berg was doing talking to her target audience, I found myself not really paying a lot of attention to what she had written. While I did not readily identify with many of the behavioral tips she offered, however, I always got a clear sense of where she was coming from: We can often do just as much to hold ourselves back as anyone else can, and sometimes we have to make a conscious effort to change not only how we view ourselves but also how we act. As I mentioned in my last post here, coming to terms with that mindset has been difficult for me, but I think I’m finally starting to get it a little more.
One chapter in Berg’s book did stand out for me, and it had to do with faith. There are no Christian sentiments expressed in the book, but observe what Berg says about the topic of faith:
“Faith is belief. Faith is what makes you know that even without immediate proof, the choices you’ve made and the course you’re on are the right ones.”
For all the talk I’ve done about depression and fear and anxiety and lack of success, I’m not sure I’ve ever been entirely convinced I could be free from any of it. For so long, I’ve looked back on large chunks of my life and felt as if I hadn’t been at such a disadvantage physically or socially or economically I might have succeeded, when in many instances the real truth was that I didn’t think I could succeed no matter what the circumstances. Not smart enough, not handsome enough, not outgoing enough, not talented enough. Other people may have tried to put all those labels on me, but I’m that one that chose to believe them.
Earlier this week, I bought a new watch. I got it at Walmart, and I think it looks nice. Someone at work was asking me about it, and immediately I began to say, “Well, it’s just a Casio from Walmart…” No matter what it cost or where it came from, it’s still a nice-looking watch. Why did I feel the need to downplay anything positive about it? It tells the time just as well as a $200 watch would. It may not have as many bells and whistles as a more expensive watch, but it does the same job just as well.
I’ve written here in the past about how depression is something I’ll have to cope with and adjust for every day, and that is indeed true to a certain extent. I can also choose to believe, however, that my adjusting efforts will be successful and that I can lead a well-balanced life and not have to live in fear of falling of the edge of the precipice all the time. I can stop self-sabotaging my own life.
If you are stuck in a career or life rut and would like to begin redefining yourself, I have no problem suggesting Your Self Sabotage Survival Guide as a fine starting point for your efforts. Again, the book is written by Karen Berg and is published by Career Press. It may not have been exactly what I was looking for, but it may be exactly what you need.