When I look for self-help books I want someone who speaks to me with down to earth ideas that I can relate to and implement immediately. I found that in Beyond Positive Thinking by Dr. Robert Anthony. Here is my review of the book.
Being, Doing, Having
One of the most important nuggets I grabbed from this book was that most of us are confused about what it takes to be satisfied in life.
We believe of having, doing then being, so in other words we think that we have to have money/fame/success/material things first in order to finally be happy.
But if that were the truth, why are there so many unhappy, miserable people who have plenty of stuff?
America is one of the wealthiest countries in the world but is nowhere near the top of the happiness list.
Dr. Anthony instead says that we have to look at satisfaction in a different way: being, then doing and then having.
First you have to BE happy in order to be inspired to do something with your life that will ultimately lead to having everything you want.
Many of us complain about what we don’t have instead of being thankful for what we already do have: shelter, food, clean water, love from a family member or friend.
Our Lives Are Shaped by Our Beliefs
Another important point that Dr. Anthony makes in the book is that we act out our lives in accordance with our beliefs about ourselves. In many cases our beliefs about ourselves are formed because of what others have told us about ourselves — and we accepted it.
A young man who has always been told he is “stupid” accepts that characterization of himself and goes on to act out being “stupid” throughout his life. A girl who has always been told she is beautiful (even if she doesn’t meet society’s ideal of that) will live out her life as a beautiful woman as long as she accepts that belief.
So we have to accept better beliefs about ourselves first in order to change the course of our lives for the better.
Unhappiness Comes from Comparison
In the book Dr. Anthony says says that comparison is the root cause of unhappiness. When we constantly compare ourselves to others and think that we’re falling short, we become sad and depressed about our current lives.
I believe that one of the reasons why Americans are so unhappy as a nation is that we are obsessed with celebrity culture. We’re constantly inundated with messages, pictures and stories of people who we believe are doing so much better than us at life. The irony is that most of them are only creating an image for others to look at — they’re just as unhappy.
One More Good Point
Have you ever wondered how two children can grow up in the same home and turn out completely different? Well Dr. Anthony offers a theory that makes a lot of sense.
He says that the difference is due to each child’s interpretation of what is going on in his surroundings throughout his young life. So even in an abusive household one child might grow up and become abusive himself because he interprets that as normal behavior. Another child sees the side of the victim of the abuse, interprets it as wrong behavior and resolves to never put someone through that ever.
I really enjoyed Dr. Robert Anthony’s book Beyond Positive Thinking and highly recommend it for anyone looking for solid, clear-cut advice on how to break through to a more satisfying life.
Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a self-help guide entitled Survive, Live or Thrive? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.