Harsh voices from your past and present will eat you alive.
Doesn't matter if you are achieving as much or more as you imagined.
Doesn't matter if you are living a fulfilled and happy life.
That person who has said repeatedly, "You are a loser!" is the loudest voice in your head, drowning out what you know to be true about your accomplishments.
Today's email is about identifying and reprogramming the soundtracks in your head, using takeaways from one of my favorite authors, Jon Acuff.
Not only does Acuff work with a Ph.D. researcher for every book he writes, Acuff is incredibly funny. Takes the edge off some of the serious stuff.
Let's talk about the Soundtracks in your heads, shall we?
Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking
Author: Jon Acuff
Expertise: Researching and providing frameworks for remedying exasperating human behavior
Book summary: Overarching Principles
- Keep your negative soundtracks or build new soundtracks. Your choice.
- Action neutralizes overthinking.
- Not all your thoughts are true.
How to recognize overthinking:
Acuff employs a researcher who helps quantify the severity of the problems he writes about. The two of them test several potential solutions. Acuff's books are filled with actions the data say are helpful.
Acuff and Mike Peasley, Ph.D., surveyed more than 10,000 humans in their research.
When asked how overthinking made them feel, 73% of those surveyed said negative soundtracks made them feel "inadequate." When asked if the tapes in their heads made them feel drained, 52% said yes.
These findings weighed heavily in the three questions to help you identify overthinking.
- Is what you're thinking true? As in for reals?
- Are these thoughts helping you?
- Are your thoughts kind?
3 research-backed tools for shushing overthinking:
Acuff provides fifty techniques for turning down the nasty soundtracks in your head.
These are the list's top 3, adapted for brevity. Also not nearly as funny as the entire list.
- Go for a long drive, windows down, and music up!
- Embrace the ritual that is brewing coffee or tea.
- Create order from chaos. Clean a drawer. Declutter. Make a list.
How to support someone else
From my own experience with listening to hundreds of people who struggle with the nasty tapes in their heads--all too often put there by years of verbal and physical abuse--here are three ways to help someone.
- Share the positive qualities you see in them.
- Don't argue or raise your voice in frustration. Listen.
- Ask them to write down the three questions from How to recognize overthinking.
- Encourage them to return to these questions regularly.
- Kindness, love, and patience are compounding gifts.
- "I love you" or "I'm proud of you" are like gold when appropriately sprinkled through conversations.
Why you should read this book:
I hope this overview has helped you even if you choose not to read further.
Here's why I think you consider reading this book.
Years before Soundtracks was published, I participated in a 30-day challenge with Jon Acuff and a thousand or more other volunteers.
We agreed to read a pre-written Daily Anthem twice a day for 30 days. I achieved noticeable results.
Soundtracks is packed with useful lists, questions, and action items. The most valuable, in my opinion, is in Chapter 8: Put the New Anthem on Repeat.
I know you will experience tangible results when you construct your anthem and recite it multiple times each week.
Do you plan to take action on something you learned from this book summary?
Please @me. I'll be so excited to hear from you!
Next Week: Tiny Habits: The Small Habits That Change Everything/BJ Fogg
BJ Fogg is a Stanford professor who conducts behavioral research centering on habits.
While Atomic Habits by James Clear was published first and continues its reign near or at the top of best-seller lists, an author I interviewed years ago told me Clear's book was based on studies conducted by BJ Fogg.
Tiny Habits is my favorite of the two. Fogg explains his behavioral model in detail with charts, graphs, and good stories. The genius of Tiny Habits is Fogg's "Habit Recipe" system.
You will learn about Fogg's habit framework next week.
Thanks to all of you who offered feedback about this series. I already have a new book to read between now and the next time we focus on book summaries.
If you liked this book review format, please let me know. Your response will help me decide whether or not to do more of these as we close in on 2023.**
Back-to-School Book Club Series
Week 2: Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking, Jon Acuff
Week 3: Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything, BJ Fogg
Week 4: Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results, James Clear