Unf*ck Yourself
Gary John Bishop
Contributed by Micheal Celestin
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Context

Introduction

Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life by Gary John Bishop is a straightforward book that provides the reader with tools as well as advice required to demolish the slag weighing him or her down, and turn into a truly unfu*ked version of themselves. The straightforward advice offered by the author emphasizes the need for an individual to get tough on themselves, and avoid repeating the same destructive behaviors over and over. According to the author, it is neither the people that are standing on your way nor your circumstances that are blocking your ability to thrive; instead, it is yourself and the negative self-talk that you keep telling yourself.

Unfu*k Yourself is broken up into nine chapters, seven of which focus on a specific set of personal assertions. The first chapter of the book is an introductory chapter which serves as a primer on what the reader should expect in the book. The final chapter offers some suggestions on the manner in which one can implement these assertions in their life. Every one of the other seven chapters focuses on a single assertion, emphasizing interesting as well as thought-provoking arguments in favor of the said assertion.

Numerous self-help and self-development articles and books concentrate on changing your thought patterns to change actions. In numerous ways, however, Unfu*k Yourself advocates taking the opposite. The tagline line in the book’s front cover that states, “Get out of Your Head and Into Your Life” says it all. The overall theme of the book, therefore, is turning one’s actions into thoughts, contrary to the usual actions into thoughts – Bishop’s teachings are centered on less thinking, more doing. 

Context

Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life was released in October 2016 and published in August 2017 by HarperOne. It is a NY Times Bestselling book. Even though Unfu*k Yourself is categorized as a self-help book, some feel that placing the book in the self-help category is selling it short. Instead, it belongs in the self-help/inspiration/motivation/success/comedy/personal and development section of the store. While this section of the bookstore might probably not exist, this viewpoint clearly shows that the book is rich in content, and comprises a lot of valuable lessons that one can apply in their daily lives to improve themselves. As Bishop’s candid title suggests, when you unfu*k yourself, you can go after anything that you want, achieve your dreams and ultimately wake up each morning with a desire to seize the day.

Bishop’s focus is on providing the reader with the best way of living the best life and also help them find everything they ever wanted and one that is residing within them like a potential, waiting to be expressed. In Unfu*k Yourself, Bishop differentiates assertive talk, and affirmation or narrative self-talk, such as do not say to yourself “You are not going to be great, rather tell yourself you are great.” Bishop also notes that self-actualization greatly impacts self-perception, and advises the reader to take control and be the captain of their ship. To succeed, it is vital for one to prove the firmly held (negative) beliefs wrong. To Gary, every problem is solvable.

As with any self-help book, Unfu*k Yourself comprises a fair share of inspiring quotations. Interestingly, a lot of these are provided by the fathers of Stoicism. For instance, Seneca, Aurelius, and Epictetus all have their say, and non-Stoics such as Socrates and Aristotle have also graciously lent their wisdom to the book. Stoics firmly believed that one’s thoughts have more impact on their perception of an event than the actual event itself. According to them, the manner in which an individual perceives an event is a crucial determinant of the action they will take after the event. Even though Unfu*k Yourself is not a modern Stoic text in the manner that The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday is, a lot of the lessons in the book borrow heavily from the book. Some of these include embracing uncertainty, favoring action over inaction and even acceptance of circumstance (UYP para. 5).

Bishop often says, “Your life only changes in one paradigm, the paradigm of action.”  In other words, he is trying to say that wanting to change is bullshit; effecting change is effective. This is not a new concept as it was employed a long time ago by Aristotle. Bishop happens to have found the best approach of delivering a timeless message to those who are alive today. During the 4th century BCE, Aristotle dropped the same knowledge to his people utilizing the words: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit” (John para. 9).

About the author

Gary John Bishop is one of the world’s leading personal development coaches and a New York Times Bestselling Author of Unfu*k Yourself. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He moved to the United States in 1994, where he toured as a musician, meeting numerous famous people as well as his wife.

Later, Bishop gave up music and got into construction. He was asked to undertake a personal development course but refused. To him, this looked like foo-foo stuff. Eventually, however, he ended up taking the course, something that blew his mind. At his young age, Bishop was forced to get uncomfortable and face his life, coming out with life-altering insights.  The grit and wit of his early life significantly contributed to his tough-love, in-your-face approach to coaching.

Bishop got fascinated by the personal development world and eventually became the senior program director in one of the leading personal development companies in the world. He realized that he was wrong about himself, and was not the solid person he thought he was. For this reason, he began questioning his thoughts, behaviors, and emotions, as well as how all these were affecting his life decisions. Bishop listened to the dialogue he kept with himself and started exploring as well as changing it. Currently, he has his own coaching business, a series of courses and a book as well. (Wojciechowski para. 3-6).

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