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01/04/2020 The magazine by Communication Science students of the UvA

Becoming Your Own Life Coach – Living an Enriched Life

The series of Becoming Your Own Life Coach reaches its second chapter. Andrada reflects on the applied knowledge of the first book of the series and reviews a second one.


With February rolling up, most of our New Year resolutions are already in the dumpster, and that was expected. If I can’t change my life in any other month, why would January be so special? Let’s take another journey through the lands of self-help books and see whether we can truly become our very own life coaches. I am here to report that despite my life has not transformed into a Garden of  Eden after reading one self-help book, I am genuinely happier than before. Apart from the occasional ‘I don’t know what I’m doing with my life and nothing makes any sense to me anymore’ mild-breakdown, I am perfectly fine. 

Having read The Good Psychopath’s Guide to Success has truly helped me take charge of my life, as I am now writing from outside the Netherlands, where I moved at the beginning of February, on my own – a very scary thing for December me. 

Self-boasting aside, reading and writing about the book of last month’s edition of this series has strengthened my self-confidence and my belief that no matter what, I will be just fine.

How have thou changed?
One aspect in which I saw a significant change was socializing. I am a certified introvert, I have a very weak social battery and I enjoy being by myself. All that being said, I was surprised to see that after my giant move across nations I became very talkative and never sick of people. I even interviewed people, and get that enjoyed it! I know – CRAZY!

In spite of all that stress, I never considered failure to be a likely outcome

Another aspect is my self-confidence. In the last month, I’ve been through multiple interviews, doing assignments for possible future internships and studying for my exams. In spite of all that stress, I never considered failure to be a likely outcome. Before every interview, I would tell myself ‘You are competent, you are strong, you are smart, you are getting this job’. Obviously, I didn’t get them all, but oh boy, would that have been a can of worms to struggle with. This weird mantra was recited for the most minuscule of tasks as well ‘You can wash all those dishes, pack all of your belongings and still meet friends!’.  Still on the topic of confidence, I have spoken out on my ideas more regularly. Oftentimes I realised just as the words were coming out of my mouth how stupid my idea was, but I’m glad that looking stupid doesn’t deter me anymore. It gives me such an opportunity to learn and improve, especially because I’m surrounded by kind, understanding people who want me to grow and succeed.

The last change that I could observe was the fact that I might be less dramatic than I used to. Some of the judges are on the fence on whether I am still a drama queen or not. A sip of scalding coffee isn’t enough to ruin my day anymore. No, no! Now it also takes stepping in a puddle and almost losing my keys. Quite the improvement, if I say so myself.

New me, new city, new book.
Although I have not gotten around Bucharest much so far, February has been coloured by the light of discovery. And the book that I had the horror of reading for this wonderful piece of opinion was Living an Enriched Life by the one and only Dale Carnegie.

Don’t get me wrong, How to Win Friends and Influence People is the epitome of self-help books and I bow before it.  But this book acts as nothing more but a worshipper to the old glory of its famous writer.

It feels cheap, dirty – a cash-grab. Every other page is two-thirds filled with quotes and not any quotes, quotes of Dale Carnegie.

What is not quotes is not quotable either. The same idea over and over, expressed through examples of your average Joe, your rich, successful and famous Joe or the occasional Josephine and then repeated in a checklist for good measure.

I’m not sure whether this book is a failed attempt at brainwashing, a misguided tribute to the author, the world’s largest collection of cliches, or a shameless propaganda tool for the Dale Carnegie personality cult.

But all well that ends well and the silver lining is that this book ends… not well, but you can close it and you’re done. But you don’t even have to read it. Actually, by all means, read it if you are not convinced by my spiteful review, or if you don’t trust me.

For those who choose not to defy my precious words of wisdom, there is a reward: the bulk of knowledge worth knowing from the upper mentioned book. Warning, the following sentences are excerpts from the book that are at risk of making you say ‘no shit, Sherlock’

  1. Fundamentals for not being worried.
    • Think only about what you have to do today.
    • How to handle being worried:
      • Ask yourself “What’s the worst that can happen?”
      • Prepare to accept the worst.
      • Try to improve your worst-case scenario.
    • Remind yourself of the high price your health would pay if you worry.

       2. Base techniques for analysing your worries.

    • Examine all the information at your disposal.
    • Weigh the situation and make a decision.
    • After making your decision, apply it. 
    • Write down and answer to the following question.
      • What is the problem?
      • What are its causes?
      • What are the possible solutions?
      • Which one of those is the best?
  1. Give up the habit of getting worried before you are overwhelmed by worry.
    • Always find things to occupy your mind.
    • Don’t stress out over every little thing.
    • Use the probability law to expel your worries.
    • Accept the inevitable.
    • Decide how much is reasonable to worry about something and don’t cross that line.
    • Don’t dwell on the past.
  1. Embrace a mental attitude that would bring you peace and love.
    • Fill up your mind with thoughts of peace, courage, health and hope.
    • Don’t be vengeful.
    • Expect a lack of gratitude from others.
    • Enjoy the things you are grateful for and don’t focus on the negative.
    • Don’t mimic others.
    • Try to take advantage of your losses.
    • Bring happiness to others.

If that didn’t make you think twice before reading the book, then I don’t know. Go ahead and read it. I won’t stop you, I’ll just be a little bit disappointed.

Cover: Patrick Tomasso

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