24 Priceless Lessons Self-Help Books Taught Me (Part IV)

These are lessons I learned from a self-help book; “Would/Coulda/Shoulda” by “Dr. ArthurFreeman” and “Rose DeWolf”. These lessons helped me understand a lot of things that were a blur and used to confuse me before, and got me aware of other things I subconsciously was trapped and stuck in. It helped me heal my wounds and free myself from barriers and complexes, and I hope it helps you too.

On Change.


“We are all required to be “actors” now and again. Even if you are sure that nothing will come of your efforts, pretend otherwise. Acting the part of a self-confident and cheerful person can actually make you feel more self-confident and cheerful. Making an effort, even when you feel it is forced, can produce meaningful results. When we play a role, part of that role becomes a part of us. That happens because when we play a role, people react differently to us, and that changes how we feel. That change is not phony. It’s real.”


“When you set out to solve a problem, you start with an open mind. That is, you assume, for the sake of argument, that somewhere, somehow, a solution exists. You begin by searching for a specific goal or solution that you can work toward without drawing any conclusions about what will work or won’t work or whether it’s too late.”


“Remember the Chinese saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” If you take a single step and see how that works out, you are on your way, and who knows how many miles you will travel!


“Our tendency to try again and then quit if the try fails, is “a stupid behavior on the part of non-stupid people” because the ultimate result is that you deny yourself what you want. Unfortunately, one of the things you learn from experience is that even with the best will in the world, you may not get what you want the first time. If plan A doesn’t work out, you may have to come with a plan B and C and D… Of course, trying again does not necessarily mean doing the same thing the same way, even if that were possible. We do learn from experience. There is pride to be taken in not giving up, in returning to the fight.”


“The way to cause bad memories to fade is to replace them with good memories, and the way to do that is to do something, to move ahead, to get involved in a project, to investigate possibilities.”


“Some people will do nothing unless they feel that their effort is so perfect it guarantees success. If they believe their effort has even the slightest chance of being unsuccessful, they simply give up and thus lose any chance of being successful. You do the best you can even if it’s not perfect. You try to move your life forward.”


“The guilt we feel about things that we did, or didn’t do, in the past can be such a powerful force that people will cut themselves off from any happiness because they feel they “don’t deserve it”. Some will even kill themselves because they feel the “do not deserve” to live.”


“The fact that something difficult to do is not, by itself, reason not to do it. It’s difficult to quit smoking, but you may decide to try if you are concerned about your health.”


“Living well is the best revenge. If the other side had hoped to make you miserable, what more perfect justice can there be than not be miserable? Living well can mean merely getting on with your life, living well can mean having a life that is not lived in another person’s shadow. The key question to ask is this matter of revenge is, “What’s in it for me?” What do you get? What do you give up? If you get sufficient satisfaction out of making your enemy unhappy, if indeed you can be sure you are making the enemy unhappy, you may not care how much of your own life you sacrifice in the process. It’s your choice, it is for you to decide whether you would prefer to be bitter or whether it would be better to turn your attention to ways and means of improving your own life. It is for you to decide whether the cause is worth it or whether all you are causing is more trouble for yourself.”

On Comparing Yourself to Others.


“When you compare yourself to someone else, his success is good news about him or her and bad news for you. That’s how you feel about it anyway. Not because you have anything against the subject of comparison. Not that you wish him or her any ill. It’s just that seeing that name associated with something big, makes you feel very small. Seeing news of that person’s success makes you feel like a failure. You get a negative effect only from good news about someone with whom, rightly or wrongly, you feel you are in competition. Good news about anyone else is immaterial. You can unabashedly admire the good job that others do and the happiness that others have, when you don’t consider yourself in competition with them, when you weren’t interested in excelling in what they did excel in.”


“The image of each of us of ourselves is our “ego-ideal”. It’s partly reality, part the way we want to be, part the view we intend others to have of us. Anything that rocks our ego-ideal shakes our self-confidence, upsets our equilibrium. Comparing yourself to another with whom you identify in some way can provide a similar kind of rude shock to your ego-ideal, that is, to your sense of who you are and how others see you.”


“A role model, someone who proves that it is possible to succeed, can be a very important source of inspiration. We strive to improve ourselves in order to be compared favorably to others. We strive to do the right thing to avoid being singled out as unworthy. But of course, comparing can be harmful as well as helpful. Not everybody reacts to negative comparison in the same way. If negative comparisons can motivate, they can also reinforce feelings of inferiority.”


“We tend to compare ourselves to those who have more, rather than to those who have less. Most of us take what we have for granted. It isn’t that we aren’t exposed to the idea of being grateful for what we have. “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet” is a much-quoted moral lesson. A teenager might say “I cried because I didn’t have the trendy shoes even though I know others have none”. What is true of the teenager is true of most of us.”


“When comparing, we tend to compare only the gains, omitting the loses or costs. We tend to measure only those portions of the other’s life we cover, and ignore everything else. While it’s true that some people have breaks handed to them, most people have to make choices, giving up one thing to get another. Just because we don’t know the price another has paid to attain the success we see doesn’t prove there was none.”


“When you compare yourself to others, you establish a timeline for events, you probably are not comparing yourself to couples who fall in love for the first time in the Old Age Home. You are probably comparing yourself to people who are younger than you are who are accomplishing the goals you seek in a shorter period of time. But which is really more important? When you get something, or whether you get it?”


On Failed Relationship.


“The hurt we feel seems doubled, tripled, when an intimate relationship, or the hope of one, dissolves. It is no wonder, then, that love gone wrong is so hard to forget. When all you can think about is what might have been done differently to win someone’s heart, to prevent a breakup, to avoid the terrible pain of rejection, it is all too easy to fall into a pattern of behavior hat, in effect, places your heart behind an impenetrable barrier.”


“We human seem to have developed an infinite variety of ways to allow past heartbreak to govern our present and future. You may not realize you have erected barriers to love. The walls have gone up around you, but you may not be aware that they are there.”


“Love, like any enterprise, has to be helped along. It rarely just happens. It rarely comes to people who are sitting all alone thinking about love lost and chances missed. That means thinking clearly about love as a project. When you are upset about love gone wrong or a wrong lover, you are very likely to fall into the habit of thinking negatively about your possibilities.”


“All-or-nothing thinking says that I must meet the right person right away. If the person I meet is not perfect in every way, there is no point is pursuing a relationship. All-or-nothing thinkers reject anyone who has a known flaw, and they therefore never find out whether that flawed person had dozens of attributes that will make that flaw pale into insignificance.”


“The perfectionist assumes that to be loved, he or she must not be flawed, like saying “I need to lose weight, have a new wardrobe, a better job… before I meet someone”. But no one is ever perfect. And to wait for perfection is to wait a long time. While you wait, millions of non-perfect people are finding each other.”


“Some people take a few negative experiences and says they indicate how things will always be. They will stop looking, although even if you have to meet one hundred people to find one to love, one is all you need. Or they will settle for someone they don’t love. They attribute the opinion of one man to all men. They do not credit men with being as infinitely varied as all human are.”


“The person who selectively edits sees only part of another’s personality and behavior. This can mean that you are so focused on one positive quality that person offers, such as wealth or sexual attraction, that you ignore everything else, a harsh manner, a lack of mutual interests… This can mean also that you are so focused on a single negative quality that you overlook all the positives. When looking for love, it is necessary to look at the whole picture.

Selective editing often enters the picture when, six weeks after breaking up with someone, you haven’t met anyone else. Suddenly, you begin remembering that someone’s virtues, while forgetting the flaws that made breaking up such a good idea. You feel you’ve lost someone whom, if you considered the whole picture, you would really prefer not to find.”


“Single people sometimes allow themselves to feel inadequate simply by virtue of being single. They believe that “you are nobody until somebody loves you”, even though all you need to do is to look around to spot independent, productive, and contented single people. They might welcome the “addition” of love, but they do not count themselves as losers because they don’t have it. And they do not assume that not having love now means that love is never possible.”


“It is said that only fools fall in love, because love means taking a risk, indeed, it may mean a series of risks. A romantic action plan may require the same attitude that works for an insurance salesman, twenty leads may result in only one sale. You can’t take every rejection personally. You may have to be alone before you can find the right person to keep you company.

No doubt about it, love is the biggest risk we take in life. We have to be open to love, and being open means being vulnerable. But if love is what you want, then that is the choice you make.”


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Read more:

The Book: 

“Would/Coulda/Shoulda” by “Dr. Arthur Freeman” and “Rose DeWolf”

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda : Overcoming Regrets, Mistakes, and Missed ...

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