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Your Erroneous Zones: Step-by-Step Advice for Escaping the Trap of Negative Thinking and Taking Control of Your Life Paperback – August 21, 2001
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'An inspiring book on self-esteem' - NEW WOMAN 'Light, humorous and enlightening' - PUBLISHERS WEEKLY --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
From the author of the multimillion-copy bestseller Pulling Your Own Strings, positive and practical advice for breaking free from the trap of negative thinking and enjoying life to the fullest.
- If you're plagued by guilt or worry and find yourself unwittingly falling into the same old self-destructive patterns, then you have "erroneous zones"--whole facets of your approach to life that act as barriers to your success and happiness.
- If you believe that you have no control over your feelings and reactions, you give up the many choices that are available to you. Dyer shows how you can take charge of yourself and manage how much you will let difficult times--and people--affect you.
- If you spend more time worrying what others think than working on what you want and need, you will always be disappointed. Dyer shows that only you can make yourself happy and points the way to true self-reliance.
- If you are still caught up in old labels for yourself and an out-of-date self-image, you cancel out your present potential. Dyer shows how you can break out of the patterns of the post to become fulfilled in the present.
- If you depend upon others for your well-being, you lose yourself. Dyer shows how to take control of your own needs and learn to give and receive love without limits.
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• Blame is what people use to evade self-responsibility. Blame does not change the blamer, but it keeps the focus off the only person who can change his or her level of happiness or frustration.
• Healthy people have a sense of humor and don’t take themselves too seriously. Choosing to be amused, rather than frustrated and angry, fills one with happiness instead of misery.
• Trying something new, instead of always doing the same things the same way, expands potential and allows for learning. Boredom is debilitating and psychologically unhealthy; while being fearful of the unknown quashes curiosity and growth.
• “Not one moment of worry will make things any better,” writes Dyer. Here he agrees with the New Testament: ”Do not worry about your life…who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matt 6: 25, 27)
• “Complaining to others accomplishes nothing,” assuming the others are powerless to do anything about the problem. “It encourages self-pity and immobilizes you.” Don’t permit others to abuse you with their litany of complaints. Complaining is wasteful behavior, and it puts negativity on the listener.
• Regretting, wishing and hoping are “the most common and dangerous tactics for evading the present.”
• We can control our feelings, instead of allowing others or events to do so. His syllogism is this: Since I can control my thoughts, and my feelings spring from my thoughts, ergo, I can control my feelings. Controlling feelings is consistent with St. Paul who wrote he is content regardless of the circumstances.
• We have to love ourselves first before we can love others, writes Dyer. Fortunately, Dyer distinguishes between healthy self-love and narcissism. If not, then Donald Trump would be the healthiest person in America.
On the other hand, it is hard to fully accept some of his assertions. Dyer claims, for example, that our culture undermines independence and promotes dependence upon the opinions of others. Yet Americans have fewer close friends than people in other cultures and a weaker sense of community. If Americans are too other-oriented, Dyer must think the Asian cultures breed insanity.
Dyer disapproves of approval-seeking behavior when it becomes a need and places responsibility for how one feels in the hands of others. It’s true approval-seeking can be taken to an extreme. Those who “eradicate” approval seeking behavior, however, may find themselves out of a job, since a boss’ approval is necessary for employment.
“Failure does not exist,” Dyer asserts. “Failure is simply someone else’s opinion of how a certain act should have been completed.” But we live in communities, not in isolation, and the opinion of others matters, whether we like it or not.
Dyer makes sense when he urges readers to eliminate chronic apologizing for things one isn’t really sorry for. He goes too far, however, in asserting that “apologizing is a waste of time…all apologies are approval-seeking.” When we cause harm or offense to someone, perhaps inadvertently, it seems a mature thing to do is to accept responsibility and offer a sincere apology. The alternative is to refuse to apologize when one has done something he regrets. Someone who never admits being wrong can be just as obnoxious as someone who is always apologetic when there is no need to be.
Dyer teaches that we should eschew guilt. Feeling guilty, he writes, does not lead to exoneration for misbehavior. Actually, it is a tenet of religion that repentance leads to forgiveness. It is also a proven way to reconcile broken relationships when someone expresses sincere regret for wrongdoing. Finally, judges often take into account the offender’s repentance, or lack thereof, in setting sentences.
“There is no such thing as human nature,” Dyer asserts. Human beings certainly have strong tendencies, however, such as our powerful confirmation bias to justify what we do.
It’s a dream world to expect fairness and to compare ourselves to others, Dyer writes. We should eliminate external references of comparison. On the other hand, human beings are social animals, and poverty and affluence are always defined relative to others within a community. In addition, social comparison may be inborn. Research with monkeys suggests they also have a sense of unfairness. When monkeys in adjacent cages perform some behavior for a reward, they are happy until their counterpart receives a more desirable reward for the same performance, at which point they reject the inferior reward that had previously been sufficient.
Dyer claims there is no need to reciprocate when others extend invitations or give gifts. We should only respond if and when we feel like it. Free riders apparently don’t bother Dyer, though most human beings have a different perspective.
“The hallmark of effective marriage is minimal fusion and optimal autonomy and self-reliance.” Really? “Optimal autonomy and self-reliance” are found in being single, not married. If maximum autonomy and independence are the most important values, then why seek marriage in the first place? On the other hand, Dyer is right that dominance and submission are part of some marriages.
Perhaps my disagreements come from not completely understanding Dyer’s points. But there is much to agree with in Your Erroneous Zones and readers will find it helpful. ###
“Not to succeed in a particular endeavor is not to fail as a person. It is simply not being successful with that particular trial at that particular present moment.”
~ Dr. Wayne W. Dyer from Your Erroneous Zones
Your Erroneous Zones was Wayne Dyer’s first book and I love the stories he tells about how hard he worked to help make it a best-seller (over six millions copies sold!). It’s a no-nonsense, straight to point, how to quit letting negative thinking dominate your life kinda book. Just the kind I love. :)
If you’ve read any of Wayne Dyer’s books, you know that one of his primary messages is: “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”
If we intend to take charge of ourselves and change our lives by changing the way we look at things, we can’t do so casually.
We can’t just try on some new thoughts for size. We’ve gotta have the determination to be happy and then “challenge and destroy each and every thought that creates self-mobilizing unhappiness” for us.
So, what thoughts do you KNOW aren’t serving you? Now a good time to destroy ‘em?
Let’s have some fun exploring some of my favorite Big Ideas:
1. Taking Charge - Of yourself.
2. Self-Reliance - A veritable religion.
3. Self-worth - vs. Other-worth.
4. There Is Nothing - To worry about!
5. Guilt - Is useless.
What would you be doing if you had six months to live? If you’re not currently doing that, what’re you waiting for?
More goodness— including PhilosophersNotes on 300+ books in our *OPTIMIZE* membership program. Find out more at brianjohnson . me.