I was definitely that kid who read plenty and for fun. This changed during my college years because time for fun reading was limited and I convinced myself I was not a writer anyway. If I was no writer, I was no reader. Like most, I resorted to watching TV and going to the movies weekly to substitute.
I tried many times over the years to get back to reading a book a month. I always failed. I typically got through a book or two a year for the past decade. Damn, that’s crazy when I write it figuratively out loud. I’m writing more, so perhaps it’s time to read more, too.
I’m not on some 2020 read more road trip. My hands are always full of my baby to commit to reading anything lengthy aside from a few articles and posts here and there. I got to “reading” it because Cheeno suggested the Audible trial and he said I might fancy this book.
Listen to a book, duh! Why didn’t I think about that? I literally have an ebook with an audiobook for people who would rather listen (“Jamaican Accent” plug). My blog posts, including this one, are in audio form. Big, capslock, bold and underlined DUH.
This, “Unfu*k Yourself” by Gary John Bishop, is my first finished audio read for the year and here’s what I thought.
Overall, I enjoyed “Unfu*k Yourself”. Each chapter delivered a punch in the face that swiveled the head in the right direction.
Bishop also does the audio for his book. Not gonna lie, initially his Scottish accent reminded me of someone whose English was washed in the mouth of a life hardened teenager who didn’t care about his speech. The more he spoke of ways to have a better life, the less it mattered how the message was delivered. I ended up liking it, but that might be because I also love accents.
I favored three chapters:
I Am Not My Thoughts, I Am What I Do
At first, this didn’t hit me until I heard it a second time with an example. Damn.
I’ve always thought I was my thoughts, but then I understood there was no way this could be true. I’ve had too many thoughts about too many things, very contradicting, ludicrous, disgusting, and beautiful things. I couldn’t possibly be all of that.
Some thoughts weren’t even my own. I’d pick it up from people or media and it’d loop into my subconsciousness until I thought it was mine. I didn’t want to be damned if for a moment I wanted someone dead, had an orgy fantasy, or even bargained to be the modern Jesus type martyr to save everyone. I was no sum of these dark, gray, or light thoughts with questionable origins.
I am more so the sum of my actions, good, bad, and well intended gone array. I’ve always contended with portraying goodness. One wrong action as a kid made me feel like breaking my good streak made me wholly bad, which then refueled my desire to push a goodness image. To this day I have an unhealthy relationship with perfectionism.
Yang has a little ying and ying a little yang. Even Netflix is delving into “this person we’re all sure is bad has good” trope in series like 13 Reasons Why (see Bryce) and You (see Joe – most people hate Beck, the love interest, more than the actual killer Joe). Are the lines as blurred as Netflix suggests? Are there actual redemptive qualities to people we despise?
I don’t know about you, but I’m not as obsessed with seeming good. It’ll take some time to pull and cut the root of it out, but I just want to focus instead on doing what feels good to me rather than what looks good to receive people’s approval.
I Am Willing
In my life I’ve wanted and had to do many things, some I didn’t want to do. I’ve not truly incorporated “willingness” into my being. I’ve said “I want to”, “I need to”, “I have to” and even “I have no other choice but to…”.
We, humans, love the concept of free will, but we exercise it very poorly for insta pleasures rather than willing ourselves to do the work to become our individual ideals of greatness. Guilty. I guess we just love the idea of free will being an option that lives forgotten in our back pocket like lost change in case we remember it’s there and decide to spend it on something great.
“You have the life you’re willing to put up with… by defending your circumstances, you’re making a case for being where you are.”
This quote stood out to me the most. I flipped through the scenes of my life and realized I was willing to put up with a lot of things I didn’t agree with. Instead of using my will to get out, I stayed in a lot of unfit situations. Apparently, my threshold was far too vast for a lot of wrong things, but #noregrets because at least I got some lessons out of it. Regardless, I’d rather move forward with actions more aligned with my will that’ll serve me.
I Am Wired To Win
Bishop points out that whatever life you’re living, you’re winning at it. “That’s crazy ’cause what if I was living a life I didn’t love?” I asked only to realize any life I thought I didn’t love I was willing to keep living, so would I actually hate it that much?
You can hate doing something that makes you feel “good” (re safe, comfortable, etc). I don’t believe humans do things they don’t get something out of. Not knowing what that something is can be the problem… or ignorance is bliss. Cypher (aka the traitor in The Matrix) deciphered (oh puns) the truth but preferred the lie.
I remember hating feeling sad, but sadness allowed me to ignore a lot of things I didn’t want to cope with. There was a lot I was winning at I didn’t love like playing the victim and making excuses. I still win at it sometimes, but behaviors like these don’t get me anywhere I truly want to be.
I concur with Bishop that whether we want to believe it or not, the universe is conspiring to give us what we want. The universe wants us to win. The question becomes: what kind of life do we want to win at?
I believe any reader will find some new or reinforced perspective in this book to progress their life. Self-help books are really cool in audio form because it’s like I have a coach in my ear, but there’s a perk to physically reading it, too: you hear it in your own mental voice. You’re the coach.
There’s no point in reviewing points that didn’t stick. I love these three chapters because they added helpful insights to what I was already working on in my life.
Because I am my actions, I have to be willing to win at doing more of what feels good.