Achieving peace of mind as we face the unknown
Author: Susan Jeffers PhD; Publisher: Hodder Mobius
Embracing Uncertainty is a book about sleeping better at night…about easing the pain in our brain that comes from trying to control the uncontrollable…about making life more of an enriching adventure than a continuous worry. It is about providing that ‘something enduring to hold close, something that won’t wash away in the furious tides of change’. Page 3
Susan Jeffers is a well know author and self help authority who has 18 books in all. Embracing Uncertainty is written in a very easy to read style. However don’t let the easy reading style fool you. From the outset Susan Jeffers throws down the gauntlet to the reader by challenging how do you choose to live? In her first chapter she sets out her stall by stating for her the truth about living an abundant life. ‘Nowhere has it been proven that a rich, joyous, abundant life cannot exist in the presence of uncertainty’. This concept is important for the reader to take in for it is the basis on which she offers ways to deal with the uncertainty.
Underpinning this book are three realities which she invites the reader to read a number of times so that the reader can be on a stronger footing o begin to embrace the grand adventure of it all. The three realities are
- The only certainty in life is uncertain
- Once you surrender to the fact that you are unable to control the uncertainty, you will, at last, be able to breathe a sigh of relief
- A ‘deep’ acceptance that life is uncertain opens the door to a powerful way of living.
She underpins these realities with experiences from her own life which help to explain how she started to access the great power that lay within her. She introduces forty two exercises to help the reader get rid of their soul destroying ways of thinking and being in the world. Her skill in her writing is the way in which she invites the reader on an adventure of the most exciting kind.
While this review is too short to go into all the exercises it is fair to say that the exercises are very much based on focussing on the positive and about looking at each experience with a view to seeing what one can learn from it. From a coaching perspective it is very useful in helping to highlight the importance of reframing in a positive way and the use of affirmations to support oneself going forward. An excellent example of this reframing comes in the first chapter with use of the ‘I wonder’ exercise. Susan explains that a ‘hoping’ life can to lead to a state of unhappiness if those hopes are dashed and in so doing create a fear of uncertainty. Wondering on the other hand doesn’t result in unhappiness as there are no hopes to be shattered. And with the magic of wondering fear of the uncertain is replaced with curiosity. While it sounded corny I tried the exercise and I must admit I did find a change in my attitude and it did heighten my curiosity as to what the day or situation was going to bring.
One of the challenges with any self help book is the discipline required to get to the end having done every exercise or test. This can be off putting and many a self help book is put down after the first couple of chapters. Susan’s book can be a little daunting in relation to the forty two exercises to be done. However if one works on the basis of dipping in and out of the book and not worry too much about completing all the exercises it can provide a great support to those who want to change their lives in some way.
For with an interest in self help or indeed coaching this is a book with plenty of exercises to support people in their self development. And while it may seem clippie happy, when you get into the exercises, particularly those relating to finding your meaning and purpose then you get to see the real benefit. It won’t be for everyone but for people wishing to take some control back into their life it can be a useful stepping stone. Likewise in coaching it can be a useful introduction to the use of affirmations and different forms of exercise that a client may use to improve their self awareness.
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