Author Interview: Earl R Smith II, PhD

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Book Title: Self-Sabotage: 12 Nasty Habits

Website URL: http://www.dr-smith.info/self-sabotage-12-nasty-habits/

What is your book about?

This is a book about self-discovery – discovery of self and discovery of the self in others – and the amazing personal growth that understanding can drive. It is an alarm clock – awakening the reader’s capability to understand and helping them along the way. There is, after all, little sense in living a life – occupying space and taking up resources – if you aren’t going to be awake and aware during the experience. And being awake to and aware of those around you and to your own true self is the great pathway to personal enlightenment. All of us have a chance to set foot upon that wondrous highway – but so many of us spend so much time asleep along the side of the road.

Tell us more about that way of thinking.

Sherlock Holmes was fond of telling Dr. Watson, “Don’t just see; observe.” That is the first, and crucial, step. The next one is to act on new understanding.

Knowing needs to be acted upon. Little is gained through understanding that has no impact on your life and prospects.

Self-sabotaging behavior is most often an extended event. Self-sabotaging behaviors are persistent over time. It is not the single event that limits your prospects but the persistent tendencies towards harming yourself and your future.

Behavior occurs in the present not in the past or future. Buddhists refer to this as “being in the present”. By that they mean being alive to all that is happening around you when it is happening around you. You are at your most potent when you are alive in the moment. Try to become more in the present and less one who realizes some days afterwards what happened.

Memory has a role. Once you decide to overcome self-sabotaging behaviors, keep track of your progress. If it takes six weeks to build a habit that will endure, you need to settle in for the long haul and be persistent.

Develop a system to help you remember. I use Microsoft Outlook as a contact manager. Every individual contact file provides a “Notes” text field for entering information. I pull up the file and see my notes on that individual’s self-sabotaging tendencies. Others prefer to use a journal to record their experiences and insights. It is a matter of personal preference. Find the one that is easier for you and use it.

Know Thyself. This book is, above anything else, about a journey of self-discovery. It is your tendencies that are the focus. Self-knowledge is the most potent of all. With it you can say, “This is who I am. Do not confuse me with someone else!” Without it, you are just another brick in the wall.

Nothing Too Much. Moderation in all things; so long as you don’t take that too far. Be kind and understanding to yourself. Foibles are unavoidable unforced human errors. They are not indictments or mortal sins. If you have breath and will, you can overcome them. It is not what you have been, it is what you are now in this moment.

Heal Thyself, It is seductive to try to become the savior of others before you see to saving yourself. It is, after all, easier to criticize than to personally reform. That is particularly true when you are looking in a mirror.

Celebrate your victories quietly and know you are better for them. This book is about the ability to improve a life. Each time someone overcomes a tendency that has been limiting them is a victory.

What inspired you to write your book?

It all started with an event more than a decade back. I suddenly realized that something that I was habitually doing was negatively impacting my relationships. That started me on a journey. First it was one of self-discovery but soon it also became a journey of discovery of others. I learned that I would grow in two ways. First, my life would improve. Second, I would come to know my fellow travelers in deeper and more meaningful ways.

About a decade ago, I began mentoring others with a focus on overcoming  the negative impacts of self-sabotaging behaviors. I had found my mission in life. The work was hard and sometimes disturbing but, with experience, I became better at helping others overcome the tendency to make their own lives and the lives of those they cared for more difficult. Each victory was a celebration of the human ability to overcome and grow.

I began to share my experiences with my network and was warmed by the responses I received. It seemed that I had tapped into something common to all human experience. They shared experiences, war stories and responded to those of others. In a few months, I had received well over five hundred comments. At that point my mission became to put it all down in an organized form so that I could share the insights with others. That’s how Self-Sabotage: 12 Nasty Habits was born.

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