3 out of 4 stars
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With the captivating title, If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your But’s: A No-Nonsense Guide to Happiness and Success, author Mark L. Wdowiak embarks on a simple-to-follow process toward common pursuits of happiness and success. Mr. Wdowiak’s advice is that personal or professional prosperity is achievable by taking charge of your own life.
Mr. Wdowiak laid out his strategy in three steps: the crawling stage, the walking stage, and the running stage. This idea is a metaphor for human life; as we grow and learn how to crawl, to walk and run similarly, we can learn how to take charge of our own lives. Symbolically speaking, when we learn how to crawl we try to get a better grasp on our decision-making process. Helpful to this process is shifting the focus from our “perceived weaknesses” to our own strengths instead. Recognizing your unique strengths and talents is the first step to help you take the responsibility for your life and carry out the crawling stage.
I like the author’s intent to encourage the reader to reach beyond his mere potential. It is true that in our present-day educational system, a definition of success is the fulfillment of standardized test requirements which often reduces the person’s ability for creativity. In Mr. Wdowiak’s opinion, an inability to leave the unhappy present state of mind is due to fear of the unknown, inability to reach out of the box. To achieve happiness, he recommends to the reader to take control of his own thoughts (walking stage) and after taking an action upon them (running stage). Although I agree that positive thinking and acting upon it can be very helpful, I do not believe that this formula can be a remedy to everyone’s unhappiness.
Let me explain. The three stages of a life-changing process are only workable if there are available opportunities. For example, if you work as a construction worker but dream to become a developer, chances are that this is not going to be a small feat. First, you will spend your long days under the sun, as required by the building protocols. It may also be important that you reach a daily quota, which will put you in the position of needing to nail a lot more boards together per hour than you normally would have. After a working day, how much time will you have to research steps needed to take to become a developer? How much money will you be able to save to get a down payment on your business? The very situation that we find ourselves in is often constraining and it is hard to imagine how positive thoughts could break those limitations.
This work is written in an upbeat and supportive manner, using a direct speech, and addressing the reader throughout the book. The author gives the reader an opportunity to engage and make a commitment to change by writing their initials on each of the chapters. That style produces a hands-on guide to self-improvement. Interestingly, this work heavily relies on the ideas of other self-help authors like Dr. Richard Carlson and Dr. Wayne Dyer, resulting in a missed opportunity for originality. For this reason, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The targeted audience for this book are students and young professionals who are considering a change in their career focus.
If life stinks get your head outta your buts
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