OK, let’s start from:
Shallow How-To Sections
This is the only con I found in this book, but it’s quite debilitating nonetheless. Many advice resembles the standard self-help clichés: discover your beliefs, change your beliefs, change your thoughts, and so on.
I would rather simplify it further, get rid of how to parts entirely, or expand it into the part equal to the memoir sections.
“When my level of “miserable” was no longer bearable, I went ‘all in’ on improving my life. I was sick of feeling like shit, being the victim and complaining about everything I didn’t have. To be completely honest, I didn’t even really believe I could break free from my negative habits.”
Can you relate to the above quote? If you are more on the “ordinary” spectrum of the population, you definitely can. And this is the power of this book.
Julia doesn’t pretend to be a superhuman from a shiny Instagram feed. She is very vulnerable and reveals plenty of mistakes she committed. And she committed a load of them and they weren’t small.
She was a mess. Her life was a mess.
Which is what makes the whole story even more powerful! I was never as stupid as Julia. I never passed out after alcohol or drugs. So, if she could do it, why not me?
Julia’s story is relatable, that’s why it is so inspiring. I couldn’t have identified myself with a Superman in a shiny armor who never made a mistake. A loser with crappy self-talk? Yeah, it sounds more like me!
Julia went through some trauma in childhood and made plenty of wrong choices. It also sounds more like the “ordinary” spectrum of the population. Yet, she didn’t stay there. She was able to turn around her life and this is really inspiring.
We need role models who stumble and fail, just like us.
3. Common life pieces.
There is so many elements in Julia’s life story that are common nowadays: neglecting her health, dedicating zero time for reflection, chasing entertainment to numb the existential vacuum, quiet desperation. All of that, and ignoring the advice of wiser than her on top.
Emotional turmoil. We are SO hopeless about managing our emotions!
Poor parent-children relationship lying at the core of many other problems. It’s so common and come from the same reasons as in Julie’s story – parents are so exhausted by the daily grind that they have very little time and attention for their kids. Kids are left on their own and they draw faulty conclusions learning life from celebrity figures (shiny Instagram posts!) and other kids as lost as they are.
4. Uncommon pieces.
Julia has an incredible mentor in her life. Bernard has never given up on her despite her obvious flaws and idiotic decisions.
When Julia put herself together from pieces after her father’s death, she had a supportive partner.
Such good luck is not the fate of many. Yet, there is always something good in each story. Those good pieces can be your stepping stones.
5. Working on yourself.
Sometimes, to move ahead, you need to cut off old bonds. You need to stop attaching yourself to someone else instead of paving your own path.
If this attachment to a person is your choice, that’s OK too. Viktor Frankl, the author of “Man’s Search for Meaning” said that one of the sources of purposefulness in life is love. There were a zillion of incredible stories in the history of humankind with the sacrifice for others at the center.
But if you stay with someone because you are afraid you will never be good enough for someone else, it will never make a good story.
Julia moved forward, and she did that with a gracious style. It was so different than the arrogant “ditch the losers” self-help cliché.
6. Self-help advice.
Hey, the how-to sections after each chapter weren’t very strong. Still, there were some gems hidden there. An idea to write down 210 reasons for your goals/dreams?! C’mon! I need to test that one!
And I learned the most from Julia’s story:
“You are as worthy as you think.”
“Sometimes you need a really good fail to see where you stand.”
“Whether out loud or in my head, I couldn’t admit my carelessness. My pride and ego was much too large.”
“Always measure it based off how you feel after doing it, not before.”
Do you need to read another self-help book, with the tips you already know by heart to improve your life? Not necessarily.
Could you use a pinch of inspiration in your everyday struggle? Who couldn’t?!
And you can find a lot of inspiration from this straightforward story of a gal who is not so different than you.
I always say that the best teacher is someone who is just a few steps ahead of you. So, if you have a million followers on social media, go and grab the latest Anthony Robbins’ book.
But if you struggle with self-esteem, drugs, health issues, alcohol, traumatic childhood, or with your weight, you’d better read Best LIFE-ing.
You can relate to this story so much better. And it has a happy ending. Which may be yours, if you follow Julia’s steps.