A few days ago I posted about the book I’m reading, Eat That Frog! Mostly, I’ve decided I like it because there are always little bits and pieces of these self-help books that you can take with you, but there are times that I catch myself reading it with an extremely skeptical eye. Actually, maybe skeptical is the wrong word. I think that it’s more a book for anyone in a salaried corporate world job than, say, someone in retail or ‘blue collar’ jobs. Not that they couldn’t take bits and pieces from it, but more that it just doesn’t logically apply to such a world. Anyone that’s worked in retail will tell you it’s much more like being in elementary school than anything else, what with the way the workers are often treated.
Anyway, here are more bits that I took away from the book as I continued through:
“Learn to Say…No!”
This is something that I feel I’m not half bad at, but it got me wondering about other people I know and how difficult it is for them to say no. The author tells the reader to say no to anything that is not of high-value to your time and your life. So, this can apply to both personal and work life. For someone like me, saying no is kind of easy (admittedly, not always, but when it’s important I feel I do what’s necessary). What I dislike about this section is that he offers very little on how to actually go about saying “no”. Of course you want to do it politely, but what about those of us that were raised with Catholic (or Jewish) guilt? I’m not trying to stereotype here, but I have both Catholic and Jewish friends that have stated numerous times that the guilt is a thing. It happens and it’s almost a phenomenon. The Guilt is strong with these ones. (See what I did there?) Then there’s just the nice people that can’t say no because they’re nice, it’s what they do. It’s great and all, that you want us to say no when something does not provide value, but at least back it up with something. List some sources to go to for help on this matter, for goodness sake! As I read through this section I could almost feel at least half of the people that had read this book setting it down and not bothering to continue from there because it feels like the author doesn’t come from a place of understanding what it’s like to struggle with saying no.
“What one skill, if I developed and did it in an excellent fashion, would have the greatest positive impact on my career?”
This is a question you’re supposed to ask yourself to find what skills are necessary to be the best and most efficient at your job. The author posits that all business skills are learnable. I agree with this, but I also found myself reading and re-reading the question and just felt a sort of lack of enthusiasm in general. I think that’s just where I’m at in life right now. That’s not to say that I don’t want to do well at my job, but I just don’t feel much drive to care at the moment. I think, perhaps, because I would rather that my career be writing, and so I turned the question to that. What can I develop that would have the greatest positive impact on my career? My writing, which is what I’m doing. This part also made me think of fellow friends in retail and how they might react to such a question, but then I realized that they could apply this the same way I did. It doesn’t have to be what skill they have at their current place of work that would have the greatest impact – it could be a skill outside of that, that would allow them to get a better job, for instance.
“The way you develop the courage you need is to act as if you already had the courage and behave accordingly.”
Or, fake it ’til you make it! I was a huge fan of this section. It was basically all about going for your goals, your dreams. It featured a lot of known inspirational quotes about taking that first step forward, taking everything one bite, one step at a time, etc. I love these reminders because it is often what I struggle with the most. The author reminds the reader not to expect perfection the first time through (something that I still haven’t figured out how to do), and to be prepared to fail. Many times. It’s so hard to remember to use failure as a tool for what not to do next time as opposed to letting it beat you down into the idea that you can never succeed.
This leads perfectly into the next chapter, which is all about upgrading your skills.
“A major reason for procrastination is a feeling of inadequacy, a lack of confidence, or an inability in a key area of a task. Feeling weak or deficient in a single area is enough to discourage you from starting the job at all.”
Does this sound familiar to anyone else? When I read those sentences, I immediately applied them to myself and my writing. The rest of that chapter goes on to remind the reader that everything can be learned. He says, “What others have learned, you can learn as well.” This kind of made me nod. Yeah!, I thought. Yeah, I can learn whatever I want to make myself the most awesome! Again, nothing new, but good to be reminded of. He used a personal example of when he first started writing, he could only type with the hunt-and-peck method, so he bought a computer program that taught him how to type. It’s a simple example, but it does the job. It got my brain thinking that the only way to improve plots (what I struggle with the most when I write), is to keep writing, keep plotting. They’ll get better with practice. Then he wraps it up with, “…there is no limit to how far or how fast you can advance except for the limits you place on your own imagination.”
I have several other sections flagged, but I think this is a good place to wrap up for the morning.
Share your thoughts in the comments!
- Are you a person that struggles with saying no? If you’re not, what advice would you give others that do struggle with it?
- What situations have you been in where you’ve needed to fake the courage to get through?
- Are you procrastinating because of a lack of confidence or a feeling of inadequacy? What do you think is the root of this problem? If you feel comfortable, share it with me here. Maybe we can get some others to chime in with ideas on how to take that first step! (Remember, this is a safe space, and any derogatory or rude comments will be deleted.)
- In what ways might you be limiting yourself and your own imagination?