Self-Improvement Books Summary 2017

I like to read books, especially self-improvement ones. Here are the most important books I’ve read in 2017, summarized here so you don’t have to read them!

  1. The Sedona Method

Emotions are great, but sometimes they can hold you back. For instance, if you feel nervous before a job interview or a date, or if you’re just feeling down in the dumps, or you’re afraid you can’t achieve something. For instance, sometimes the more desperately we want something, the more it eludes us. The key to letting go of unwanted emotions and living more freely is to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What am I feeling?
  2. Does that feeling come from wanting love/approval, control, safety/security, or oneness(feeling a part of something bigger)?
  3. Could I let that feeling go?
  4. Would I let that feeling go? Would I rather hold onto that feeling of wanting _____, or would I rather be free?
  5. When?

This method also really helps for setting goals.

2. The Relationship Cure

I have to admit, this one was so boring I couldn’t even make it one third of the way through. But before I put it back on my shelf, I learned a few valuable things:

There are three ways to handle conflict in a relationship.

  1. Ignore it. Any time your friend/partner/family does something that hurts or upsets you, just sweep it under the rug in the name of keeping the peace.
  2. Yell at people when they hurt you. #1 often leads to this, as resentment builds up and then explodes.
  3. When someone hurts or offends you, state how it made you feel, but without emotion. “What you just said really hurt my feelings.” This is assertiveness, making your needs known without compromising the other person’s rights. It’s much more effective than the other two as well.

3. The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem

Self-esteem means you believe yourself to be worthy of happiness, and you believe you can handle life’s challenges. Some people don’t believe they deserve to be happy, and being happy actually makes them so uncomfortable that they remove themselves from happy situations. For instance, the man who leaves a happy relationship and keeps finding women who will beat him down.

Self-esteem has nothing to do with how you have been treated in the past, but it has everything to do with how you behave and think in the present. In order to build self-esteem every day, ask yourself these questions every morning and write out the answers:

  1. If I bring 5% more awareness to my day today…
  2. If I am 5% more accepting of myself and my life today…
  3. If I take full responsibility for myself and my actions today…
  4. If I live more purposefully today…

(I haven’t completed the book so I don’t know what the fourth and sixth pillars are)

4. Give And Take

The world can be divided up into 4 types of people: Selfless Givers, Takers, Matchers, and Otherish Givers. Selfless Givers are least successful, while Takers and tit-for-tat Matchers are in the middle. Otherish Givers are by far the most successful: they have zero competition because they earn good will by giving to others, but they are also assertive enough to ask for help, to ask for what they deserve, and to limit their exposure to takers.

Adam Grant has advice for Takers and Matchers: find ways to give to others without expecting anything in return. Every person you meet, try and think of a way to help them. It can be as easy as sending them an article they would like to read, or connecting them to someone else who can help them. It’s actually really fun and challenging to get out of your own head for a while, and work on someone else’s problems. Don’t keep score, don’t demand favors in return. Just give and then move on.

The author’s advice for Selfless Givers: be more assertive. Ask people for help. If you feel you deserve more, ask for that too. If you feel you work harder and provide more value than that other guy who got a promotion, bring that to your boss’s attention. And limit your time spent on Takers. These people will ask for more and more of your time and energy and resources and never give anything back. Once you discover that someone is a Taker, adopt a tit-for-tat policy with them, where you will only give to them after they have given to you.

Also, generosity is rewarded. For every $1 you donate, you receive $3.75 in additional income.

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