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The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Selfby Alex Lickerman
Synopses & Reviews
Legions of self-help authors rightly urge personal development as the key to happiness, but they typically fail to focus on its most important objective: hardiness. Though that which doesn't kill us can make us stronger, as Nietzsche tells us, few authors today offer any insight into just how to springboard from adversity to strength.
It doesn't just happen automatically, and it takes practice. New scientific research suggests that resilience isn't something with which only a fortunate few of us have been born, but rather something we can all take specific action to develop. To build strength out of adversity, we need a catalyst. What we need, according to Dr. Alex Lickerman, is wisdom--wisdom that adversity has the potential to teach us.
Lickerman's underlying premise is that our ability to control what happens to us in life may be limited, but we have the ability to establish a life-state to surmount the suffering life brings us. The Undefeated Mind distills the wisdom we need to create true resilience into nine core principles, including:
--A new definition of victory and its relevance to happiness
--The concept of the changing of poison into medicine
--A way to view prayer as a vow we make to ourselves.
--A method of setting expectations that enhances our ability to endure disappointment and minimizes the likelihood of quitting
--An approach to taking personal responsibility and moral action that enhances resilience
--A process to managing pain--both physical and emotional--that enables us to push through obstacles that might otherwise prevent us from attaining out goals
--A method of leveraging our relationships with others that helps us manifest our strongest selves
Through stories of patients who have used these principles to overcome suffering caused by unemployment, unwanted weight gain, addiction, rejection, chronic pain, retirement, illness, loss, and even death, Dr. Lickerman shows how we too can make these principles function within our own lives, enabling us to develop for ourselves the resilience we need to achieve indestructible happiness. At its core, The Undefeated Mind urges us to stop hoping for easy lives and focus instead on cultivating the inner strength we need to enjoy the difficult lives we all have.
"When life brings adversity such as profound loss or illness, we may sometimes feel defeated and powerless to change either the circumstance or our emotional response. Physician and blogger Lickerman tells us that things are only as bleak as they seem, and, using actual conversations with his patients, reveals the process of achieving an 'inner life state' that mitigates suffering. More than presenting just a good theory or interesting stories, he interweaves compelling scientific research and core tenets of Nichiren Buddhism to flesh out this inner life state: nine central principles that moderate physical and emotional pain. The point of easing suffering is 'not for solving problems but for establishing a life state that makes all problems solvable.' The interplay of dialogue, narrative, science, and faith flows effortlessly, interrupted only by thought-provoking observations such as 'research suggests that the more we use our willpower, the weaker it becomes,' and 'our expectations profoundly influence our responses to our experiences.' The principles are well constructed and the book well written; the author not only describes an undefeated mind but also teaches the thinking that yields one. Agent: Stephany Evans. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Alex Lickerman, MD, is a physician and former director of primary care at one of the world's most prestigious universities, the University of Chicago. He is also a practicing Nichiren Buddhist and leader in the Nichiren Buddhist lay organization, the Soka Gakkai International, USA (SGI-USA). Dr. Lickerman is a prolific writer, having written for medical textbooks, national trade publications, and even for Hollywood with an adaptation of Milton's Paradise Lost. He has extensive speaking experience, having given lectures at high schools, colleges, and medical conferences, and was recently selected by the Consumers' Research Council of America as one of America's top physicians in their publication Guide to America's Top Physicians. Dr. Lickerman's blog "Happiness in this World" is syndicated on the website of Psychology Today
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