By Engr. Carlos V. Cornejo
Here’s a summary of the great book entitled “Reinventing Yourself: How to Become the Person You’ve Always Wanted” from a newly discovered author (at least by me), Steven Chandler. Steven is a former alcoholic and has turned around his life. His down-to-earth and commonsensical message will endear you to him. It gives you convincing reasons why you should change for the better because it will translate into a better, successful and happier you.
Here are his 5 big ideas:
Be an Owner not a Victim
Victims have a habitually lonely and pessimistic way of viewing and describing the world and its people. They always blame others and situations for whatever is badly happening to them. They would claim they are a victim of circumstances, that they are born poor, born unintelligent, lacking talents and skills and all other kinds of excuses they can think of that hinders them from being successful in life. The owner minded on the contrary will say, “What do I want in life?” and “What do I need to do?” Owners feel they are in control of their lives and would reckon that obstacles can be overcome even if you lack money, knowledge and skills. No excuses. Hard work can make you obtain all those things that you think you lack. Owners are action oriented. Owners have goals, projects and challenges, whereas victims have problems, hassles and nightmares. Owners say they are busy, victims say they are bored and overwhelmed with problems. Owners would plan things, whereas victims would just wish them.
Styrofoam vs. Weights
Victims would do work outs but they would lift Styrofoam instead of weights. Meaning they would work or study a bit but just to fulfill the minimum. If they are students, they would just be contented with barely passing grades and would even reason out, “What do you need a higher grade for? You can still graduate in the end.” Or if they are workers, they are happy to remain a rank-and-file worker for the rest of their lives and have no aspirations to go up higher in position and earn a better income.
Why do victims have this kind of thinking? Because they see problems with horror and would rather spend their time relaxing and enjoying rather than tackling problems. It’s a lazy attitude towards life. The sad thing is the same energy that could be spent in problem-solving, is used by victims for problem-avoidance. Brazilian sage Carlos Castaneda says, “We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”
‘Yes’ Lives in the Land of ‘No’
Victims hate rejections too. They try to avoid it as much as they can. The author says, “An owner is not afraid to make a request. That’s why owners do so well in sales and courtship.
Victims fear the word ‘no’ and will do amazing things to avoid ever hearing it. To a victim, ‘no’ means rejection, total, devastating rejection. ‘No’ doesn’t just sound like ‘no’ to the victim, it sounds like, ‘No, no, no, you are NOT WORTH ANYTHING!’
But to an owner, ‘no’ is simply the other side of ‘yes.’ ‘No’ and ‘yes’ live together. Every human being has a perfect right to say either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and this does not bother an owner. An owner honors that right. Therefore, when owners hear ‘no,’ they don’t think something is wrong with the universe. They don’t conclude that life is unfair. They move right on to their next request.
Victims are crippled by fear. They would not take action on something until they muster enough courage to do it. The author says, “Action generates courage.” Courage does not mean not feeling any fear but taking action in spite of the fear. Heroes are not fearless people but people who don’t let fear stop them from doing the right thing. The same applies to our feelings. We should not wait for good feelings to come to us before we carry out our duties and responsibilities. Good feelings will just follow when we start doing them. The author recommends listing down 10 things that you would do in your life if you did not have any fear. The things that will help you reinvent yourself will be these 10 things. Pick one of them and start doing it.
Lighting the Human’s Spirit Campfire
When you light a campfire overnight the following morning it’s out. You will need to start a new campfire in the evening to warm yourself. You don’t complain that a campfire goes out, that’s just how it works. The same thing with life, we can’t wish the good mood we create today just burns forever. You have to remake it every single day. The author says, “The human spirit, like campfire, must be lit again each day.” We all have to work every day, accomplish things every day, and respond to life’s challenges every day because success and satisfaction comes only from the warmth of the fire of the human spirit that is lit up every day.