Jim Taylor explores how to harness the four forces that can control our “life-inertia” and propel our lives in the direction of our OWN choosing: values, self-esteem, ownership, and emotions.
Many people think of inertia as an object at rest will stay at rest unless a force is exerted on it, like a boulder in a field. And people can think of their lives in the same way: static and unmoving. But we aren’t “stuck” in one place, as so many express when they are dissatisfied with their lives. Rather, our lives are moving swiftly and inexorably along a path driven by powerful forces—both past and present—that is highly resistant to a change in direction. As a result, small forces, such as a modest insight or a brief “aha!” moment, aren’t enough to catalyze significant change in how we think, what we feel, or how we act on or react to our world. In fact, meaningful change can only occur when forces are applied that are greater than the forces that are already propelling our lives. Seeing our lives from this dynamic perspective is the foundation for understanding what it takes to bring meaningful and long-lasting positive change to our lives.
Jim Taylor explores the four forces (values, self-esteem, ownership, and emotions) that propel our “life-inertia,” which shows itself through the lens with which we view the world, the emotional reactions we have, the actions that we take, and the relationships that we create. He then explains how to harness those to our own benefit, so that we may steer our lives in the direction of our own choosing, rather than allowing our past inertia or outside forces to dictate the direction our lives take. By letting our values guide us, building our self-esteem, taking ownership of our decisions and actions, and using our emotions as positive fuel, we can break free from our past inertia, take control of our lives, and chart a future of meaning, happiness, success, and connection with confidence, commitment, and courage.
Jim Taylor, PhD, is the author of 17 books, the editor of four textbooks, and is a highly sought after speaker and consultant. His blog posts, articles, and columns appear frequently on psychologytoday.com, huffingtonpost.com, saturdayeveningpost.com, and many other websites, and have been read by more than 10-million people. Taylor lives north of San Francisco with his wife and two daughters.
Introduction: Hurtling Uncontrollably Through Life
Part I: Values: The Guidance System That Directs You
Chapter 1: Dark Matter: From NEEDS! to Needs
Chapter 2: Starshine in a Bottle: From Needs to Values
Part II: Self-esteem: The Pilot That Steers You
Chapter 3: Brightest Star in the Galaxy: From False Self to True Self
Chapter 4: Centered in the Universe: From Human Doing to Human Being
Part III: Ownership: The Engine That Drives You
Chapter 5: Starship You: From Dependence to Independence
Chapter 6: The Force is With You: From Enemy to Ally
Part IV: Emotions: The Fuel That Propels You
Chapter 7: Sailing the Solar Winds: From Threat to Challenge
Chapter 8: Seeing the Constellations: From Child to Adult
Part V: Harnessing the Four Forces: Changing Your Life-inertia
Chapter 9: Clearing the Path: From Asteroid Field to Open Space
Chapter 10: Plotting a New Course: From Lost to Foundation
Chapter 11: Changing Trajectory: From Reaction to Action
Afterword: Dancing with the Stars: From Unhappiness to Happiness
About the Author
Sports psychologist Taylor delivers a manifesto for emotional development in this empathetic volume. After classifying readers into two groups—Captains, who are emotionally mature, and Inertials, who deal with situations in an unproductive way—the author explains that well-meaning parents who attempt to instill successful traits in their children often unintentionally teach unhealthy values of perfectionism and contradictory beliefs, such as feeling the need to be thin or beautiful. It can also lead to an unhealthy desire “that disproportionately impact[s] our life inertia,” which can only be satisfied in dysfunctional ways, such as by becoming a “pleaser” to conform to one’s environment, resorting to anger, or closing off in a self-protective shell. The author outlines a strategy for breaking free from these limiting beliefs by rewriting personal rules, redefining success and failure, and learning to set healthy goals. Taylor reinforces these tenets with 12 rules for human beings, such as “learn to forgive yourself” and “confidence is born of proper practice.” Addressing a broad audience of anyone who feels stuck in a rut, he also provides well-considered, practical advice for thinking functionally about change: “make a conscious choice to react differently than you have in the past.” Readers struggling with self-esteem will find a toolkit of solutions for building a confident path forward.
Jim Taylor's Change Your Life's Direction is a cure for life's "inertia." Taylor examines effects of familial and societal pressures and provides readers with a roadmap for becoming healthy human beings as opposed to mere human doings. Readers can learn how to shed the destructive beliefs that fed their inertia and dramatically change their lives' trajectories for the better.
We are so often held back by our past. This read is an empowering guide to let go of what is no longer serving us and create a path that leads to a more authentic and fulfilling life.