Organize Your Emotions, Optimize Your Life by Margaret Moore, Edward Phillips, & John Hanc
In ORGANIZE YOUR EMOTIONS, OPTIMIZE YOUR LIFE, the authors explain how nine different parts of your psyche work together. These emotions, or inner "family members," can either be well-balanced and work smoothly together, or they can be unbalanced, leading to lots of stress and unhappiness.
Most of the ideas in the book have been developed through the work of the primary author, "Coach Meg." There are many case studies, with Coach Meg explaining how the ideas have worked in practice. People from all walks of life are used as examples of how they used these ideas to actually THRIVE. I found these case studies to be useful in understanding the concepts.
Sadly, the authors explain, most Americans don't really think they are "thriving." In fact, just about 17% agree they are thriving. Most, are just getting by: "At the other end of the spectrum, about 26 percent are languishing or depressed. And the majority of Americans, 57 percent, are surviving."
The authors stress that monitoring your inner voices isn't like going into some trance, or anything silly like that. It's more of just understanding these inner influences, and how they impact your life every day. They "are close to the surface and speak to you constantly."
A separate chapter is devoted to describing each voice. To help the reader understand each attribute, examples of what the voice "sounds like" and what it "looks like" are given. For example, Autonomy sounds like: “I’m not my parents, and I want to do things my way.” Autonomy looks like "A woman wearing a stylish leather jacket and skinny leather jeans who gets out of a sports car.
My favorite inner voice is the "Curious Adventurer," which sounds like: “I’m tired of eating the same old thing for dinner. Let’s go get Ethiopian tonight." The adventurer looks like a "young woman with a backpack who is on her way to explore a remote mountain for the first time."
I found these "looks like" and "sounds like" examples very helpful to understand what the inner voices are all about. Don't miss the "Executive Manager" voice. You can guess what that voice sounds like: “Let’s check the to-do list for today.” Ha! I could have guessed that one.
Supervising the 9 inner voices is our "Mindful Self." This acts as the executive, evaluating how well our inner family members are working. The Mindful Self is like the conductor of the orchestra, "encouraging teamwork and harmonious interaction. It helps keep one voice from dominating and becoming too overwhelming.
Here's how the ideas work in practice. When faced with a stressful situation, consider each of the nine voices. The authors call this taking a "Roll Call." In the Roll call, you ask 4 simple questions, which reveal the health of this voice. So, for example, in considering the "Curious Adventurer," one would ask:
1. What role does the Curious Adventurer play in my life, and how has it shaped me?
2. What story best captures the Curious Adventurer’s biggest contribution to my life?
3. On a scale of 1–10, how well are the Curious Adventurer’s needs being met today, and how important are those needs to my well-being?
4. What can I do to better meet the needs of the Curious Adventurer?
You repeat the same 4 questions for each of the 9 voices. In evaluating each of your inner voices, you may discover that one voice is being ignored, or one voice is completely dominating. You may need to reach a compromise to "Pull them together as an Inner Family."
All in all, I found ORGANIZE YOUR EMOTIONS, OPTIMIZE YOUR LIFE to be a fascinating book, as well as a practical book. There are lots of fun, exciting ideas in this book. I especially like the case studies, which show how the ideas work in practice. This book is well-written and easy to follow. Plus, I really like that "Curious Adventurer" chap.