A debut manual offers advice on reprogramming inner attitudes about succeeding in life.
Joyette’s slim handbook starts with an appealingly functional premise: that people approach the world’s challenges in ways largely determined by their early upbringings and personal “programming.” The author maintains that individuals can change this programming if they work at it (and, of course, consider the thoughts and guidelines laid out in this volume). Joyette wants his readers to ask themselves some disarmingly simple questions: What explanations do you have for the way your life currently is, and if it isn’t to your liking, why is that? What are the factors that have gone into making your life and personality the way they are? The central contention of these pages is that most of the answers to such questions lie inside individuals—and are under their control if they’ll only free themselves from negative, self-limiting thinking. “It is incredible,” Joyette sarcastically notes, “how expert we become at ‘knowing’ what we can and cannot do.” The essence of this inspirational book’s teachings—presented in clear, highly kinetic prose—is that such expertise is often a self-fulfilling prophecy, the product of letting all of life’s negative stimuli pile up and harden into a crust of self-defeat. The author’s advice examines many personal improvement topics, always distinguishing between inner and outer enhancements—and emphasizing that the former is more important. On the subject of physical appearance, for instance, he advises modifying it in positive ways. But he stresses that the crucial second step is to “internalize positive beliefs” about appearance rather than tying self-esteem directly to it (“If you attach your self-worth in any way to how you look, and you aren’t satisfied with what you look like, you’re setting yourself up to be miserable”). Joyette includes a particularly blunt and enlightening chapter on how to apply these self-image improvement techniques when one is black in America—a subset frequently plagued with its own challenges, which the author addresses with plainspoken sensitivity.
A lean but surprisingly comprehensive guide that skillfully tells readers how to analyze and take control of their self-images.