Re Inventing Yourself – Steve Chandler

This is easily one of the better motivation books that I have read in a long time.It is about 200 pages long. Your spirits start lifting the moment you begin reading this book. This is a book of  action. Be warned there is no new age mysticism here. Several powerful concepts are laid out in a manner that even a corpse would get it.It is uncanny how he anticipates the reader’s next question and how well he answers it. Heck he asks tougher questions of his teachings than I could even think up of.Several  authors out there rush to put out whatever it is that they want to say and leave it at that. Steve is different. It appears that he wants his readers to get it.

Below are the important concepts that I summarized from the book and my personal experiences with some of them.

You are not a constant

The basic premise of the book is that you are not a rigid and permanent personality but instead you are shifting patterns of thought. This is an important insight because if you are nothing but patterns of thought then you can change ‘you’ by changing your patterns of thought. I can vouch for this with my own story. Years ago when I first started my career in IT I was a geek’s geek. I spent my spare hours surfing the web and catching up on the latest code examples and other technical articles. I was perfectly happy banging away at my keyboard in a solitary cube writing code that was to me as important as poetry. You will not catch me dead doing that now.

Instead you are a spirit

Your highest life form is pure spirit. He talks about an espisode with his daughter who was practising a song for a school performance. He showed her the video of Janis Joplin singing a song that she fully owned in spirit. Inspired by the video his daughter goes on to give a heart rending performance that has the whole audience standing on their feet by the time she is done. Reading this gave me the goosebumps because this was exactly my experience with what happens when you put your spirit into your tasks. Last year I prepared hard for a Toastmasters (an organization dedicated to public speaking) competition. I did not do too well at the club level but managed to go to the next level. What happened next took me by surprise. While delivering my speech at the area level contest I found a new level of passion and spirit with which to render it. I was on fire and ended up ranking far better than expected.

Owner and a victim

Jumping right out of the pages is the distinction he draws between an owner and victim mindset. You hear this from almost all self help books but here is a striking paragraph from the book that explains it all in a crystal clear fashion.”To own something is to declare that it belongs to you. To claim it. To make it a part of what you value and will defend. It can be a marriage, a friendship, a skill, a venture, a success, a mistake. We can own our values by declaring them. We can own our values instead of pretending they belong to fate”.

Steve then gets into how changing your vocabulary can change your life. It is here I start getting a little fidgety. Every self respecting author since Tony Robbins wrote “Awaken The Giant Within” has got have a passage on this subject. But Steve is different and so is his message. He suggests we perform two word swaps to change from victim to owner mindset. Replace “I Should” with “I Want To” and replace “Swamped” with “I am focussed”. He gives pretty convincing reasons why they work. Here is one more from me. It works! I say this from my personal experience. Try it out yourself.

Effort is good

The author harks back to some very old fashioned values. He extols the virtues of effort and will power. In fact he states that the one thing we all look for, happiness, is a by product of effort. In fact he asks us to work harder not smarter.

Even Amoeba (tiny one celled organisms) thrive on effort and challenge. I cannot stop thinking about an experiment that Steve quoted occurred in California where Amoeba were divided into two groups. In one group the temperature of the environment swung violently from one end to the other and food was scarce. In the other environment every possible effort was made to keep it as comfortable as possible. Unbelievably it was the Amoeba in the environment with adverse conditions that thrived and grew faster and stronger than those in the comfortable environment!

The ladder of selves

A key concept especially for relationship building is the ladder of selves first outlined by British philosopher Colin Wilson. It gives concrete idea to our intuitive understanding of what it means to soar and what it means to be in the dumps. The lower rungs of the ladder is pure physical. There is minimal consciousness and wakefulness here. Above these are the emotional rungs. These take more consciousness on your part. Hey you are reacting emotionally are you not. Higher up on the latter are thoughtfulness, mindfulness and imagination. It is on these rungs that great relationships are built. The highest rung on the ladder is pure spirit, not our personality but pure spirit.

It took me a while to get it. Relationships are not built from the heart but from your mind!

Give and Take

This one was new and astonished me by its insightfulness. No this is not about what everyone is harking: give , give…

From his research on high performing sales people Steve concluded that an attitude of giving is one of the distinguishing elements of great sales people. Look we all know how it feels when we take. The more we ask for something the smaller and less worthy we feel. Imagine approaching your colleague and asking for help in solving a challenging problem. Now imagine being on the other end, what an increase in self esteem you would feel when you are the one being approached.

Sales people who genuinely believe they are offering a valuable service or product have the mindset that they are giving a great service. They have the mindset of the giver. They have high self esteem and are relaxed and more confident.

Be More Than You Feel

This one is one of my favorites. In this insight Steve draws an analogy between physical pain and emotional pain and how we instinctively differ in our reactions to them. Most of the time when we suffer from physcial pain such as a sore knee or chronic back pain we tend to isolate the pain to the specific location of our body and move on with our normal routines.

He urges us to do the same with emotional hurts. When we get angry he asks us to realize that we are more than anger. We are more than boredom. We are more than feeling intimidated.

In summary this is a great book and what makes it impressive is that it is free of self help cliches such as the vision thing, RAS (reticular activation system) and the red car (why does it always have to be a red car) and gushing testimonials from fellow self help authors and not gasp people who actually benefited from reading the book.

No this book is different.

Buy It Here 


Image of Reinventing Yourself: How To Become The Person You've Always Wanted To Be

No related posts.


#1 Daniel R. Murphy on 12.14.09 at 10:23 am

This sounds like a good book, Naveen. Thanks for posting this. It appears the author hits on some very essential success principles here. I will check it out.

Like your blog by the way.

#2 Naveen Thalanki on 12.14.09 at 10:48 am

Thanks Dan. Good to hear from after a long gap.
- Naveen

#3 Julie on 12.14.09 at 8:18 pm

Awesome post and amazing insights! Steve Chandler’s work has been a huge catalyst for transformation for me because he works to shift your mind and take ownership of creating your life from the inside out. Excellent post.

#4 Naveen Thalanki on 12.14.09 at 9:56 pm

Thanks Julie :)

#5 Carnival of Positive Thinking : Widows Quest - Redefine Yourself and Rediscover Life after a Loss on 12.27.09 at 10:25 am

[...] presents Re Inventing Yourself ? Steve Chandler posted at Things That Teach Us, saying, “I distil the essence of a very .practical book on re [...]

#6 From Jock to Quant.Wayne Chrebet's amazing reinvention. on 12.20.10 at 10:46 pm

[...] about recently one is Steve Chandler’s very persuasive take on why we humans are amenable to reinvention. The other is Geoff Colvin’s summary on three decades of peak performance research. Share [...]

Leave a Comment