An outline of each of The Fix Yourself Handbook's thirty-six chapters is provided below. Each chapter outline is presented with a detailed description of what is covered in the chapter, and the chapter's goals. In addition, to provide a more comprehensive understanding of each
chapter, the functionality sections, which provide the necessary steps to help the reader initiate change, are provided at the end of each
Chapter 1 - Disengaging Life's Unhealthy Routines
"Only you can change the person you are. First, you need to decide who you want to be. Make that your first decision."
Chapter one presents the reader with a look at how our lives tend to take on the flow of their own, removing us from the conscious ability to make decisions. The chapter proceeds by presenting a life on an autopilot way of living which surrenders the direction of life to external forces. When this happens, we become trapped in an uninspired way of life. Further progression in this constrained lifestyle creates intellectual and emotional paralysis, sharply affecting our decision-making capacity. The chapter provides illustrations regarding how to disconnect this robotic guidance system, thus creating the return path to sound decision-making processes. The chapter closes with the necessary steps to not only disconnect autopilot from our lives, but to begin the initial process leading to capable decision-making.
Chapter 2 - A Practical Formula To Fix Your Life
"Stop obsessing! Present the problem honestly. Understand everything about it. Then, fix the problem. It's that simple."
In life, we often succumb to the human tendency to complicate the processes which may lead us toward efficient solutions. It's important for us to understand that there is a viable method to successfully arrive at solutions where we thought none could exist. Chapter four sets the stage for the process way of working which we will be using throughout the entire text. In each chapter, we will present some
problem or concern that needs to be addressed. We will quickly follow that with all the relevant information to help the reader understand why that problem exists, and all peripheral circumstances which relate to the problem. Then, we will present the necessary steps to fix the problem. This section is a straightforward, concise piece which helps remove the intellectual and emotional conflicts which consistently undermine our ability to make positive changes in our lives. The section concludes with a summary of how the approach works, and how to begin to move in a direction which presents a problem, followed by the factual information to help place it in a cohesive perspective, and then the movement toward a solution designed specifically for the problem. The chapter serves as introduction to the approach will be applied to each chapter in the presentation.
Chapter 3 - Brutal Honesty: The Real Test Of Courage
"If we are willing to take an honest look inside ourselves, we might just realize that there is someone special locked up in there; someone who doesn't need all the lies and games. Let them out."
Most of us struggle with the concept of honesty in our lives. Brutal honesty sets the stage for one of the most important processes we will be using our presentation. Here, the discussion centers on the type of honesty we must adjust to, a brutal form of honesty which takes no prisoners. In this format, facts are presented regardless of their emotional impact, setting the stage for the reader's ability to address the conditions of their lives without masks, and the usual rituals which are designed to camouflage uncomfortable information. As the chapter progresses the reader is presented with information to assist in the development of the understanding that even the slightest deviation from honesty alters the path toward reconciliation of dysfunction, thus continuing a form of dishonesty which will continue to grow. The goal of this section is to help the reader understand that honesty is not an enemy, but may evolve to become one of the most important allies in our lives. The chapter concludes with the necessary steps to help the reader make the initial progression into the type of honesty which will be necessary for all the work which will follow.
Chapter 4 - I OVER E - Brain Power Over Emotional Madness
"Intellect Over Emotion; let your power of your brain precede the storm of your emotions."
It is the most difficult balancing act the human brain can encounter. In any situation, in all we do, the human brain must define the problem, examine all relevant information specific to that problem, and finally develop and implement a solution to fix that problem. Along the way, the brain must address the complexities of the information, and the impact of the emotional response to the problem one is experiencing. Learning to process intellectually before infusing emotions into a situation is the focus of this chapter. Here, the reader is presented with the impact emotions can have on information gathering, and problem solving. The mechanism is defined to help the reader understand that, all too often, one of the reasons it becomes difficult to process information efficiently, and move in the direction of a solution, is that our emotions change the way we feel physically and intellectually, which affects our ability to process information factually. The chapter teaches the individual how to reduce the initial impact of our emotions in any situation, while the same time allowing the brain to acquire and assimilate the necessary information to solve our problems. Its theme, as a title suggests, is intellect over emotion. Simply defined, it means that first we learn to intellectually process the information relevant to a situation, and then have the luxury of applying our emotions to that information in a later time
Chapter 5 - Slowing Down Life's Pace To Be Happy
"This life moves swiftly. It robs us of the time to focus on who we are, and what we really need. Slow life's pace. Take time to get back to yourself, and understand what's happening in your life."
There is no time in the history of mankind, as we are aware of it, that our world has moved as quickly as it does today. The flow of life moves at such an accelerated pace, that we rarely have enough time to understand where we are going, and how we are getting there. This chapter focuses on the torrid pace which we have consciously chosen to incorporate into our lives. The accelerated pace causes us to experience dysfunction intellectually, physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. It reduces our clarity of thought, and has us traveling as fast as we can, going nowhere. It disrupts both our circadian and daily rhythms, and has us becoming addicted to artificial stimulants, and other unhealthy habits to keep up with the pace of life which has become debilitating, and addictive. Though we have become a slave to this pace in our lives, we actively and enthusiastically do what we can to keep it constant. The goal of the chapter is to help us understand how important it is slow down enough to provide us the time we need to efficiently apply the thought which we need to address the conditions of our lives. The chapter closes with the steps that can help us begin the process of deceleration, and opens the door for a more rational way to approach life.
Chapter 6 - Trust The Process And Learn To Trust Yourself
"Life is a process a natural phenomenon marked by gradual changes that lead toward a desired result. As we learn to understand the process of living, we come to understand who we are, and how to manage our lives."
All of life is a process. All movements within life are governed by process. There is nothing that we do, large or small, that is not governed by some sort of process. In this chapter, we presented a detailed elucidation of what processes are. The Fix Yourself Handbook is a process guide, so it's imperative that the reader understand what the processes are, how we will be using them, and how to begin to apply them. The goal of the chapter is to help the reader become trusting of the approach we are using, and to understand that processes guide each, and every thought and action in our lives, so becoming proficient regarding their application dramatically enhances our ability to apply them, and to use them correctly to help us achieve our goals. The chapter concludes with a simple presentation of those processes, and the steps we can use to begin to incorporate these processes in our lives, while at the same time opening the readers mind to enjoy the journey that the process way of living creates.
Chapter 7 - Life Is A Journey: Love Yours
"There are only two ways of living. Some of us choose to be happy day by day, as our life journey unfolds. Others are only happy when they arrive at exciting destinations. If we can't be happy along the way, we will not be when we arrive at the destination either."
Regardless of how we interpret life, it is a journey that begins at birth, and concludes when we take our last breath. It's what we do, between those two life points that defines who we are. This chapter contains one of our central issues in the process way of life. It examines the relationship between journey-oriented people and their destination-oriented counterparts. While destination-oriented people seek pleasure from external sources, and rely on the glitter which they realize at grandiose destinations, journey-oriented people love and appreciate every precious moment of their lives. The goal of the chapter is to help the reader understand that while it's advantageous to include goals in our lives, it's more important to be happy in all the days of our lives, as we are living them. The chapter presents a prescriptive methodology to connect these seemingly polar opposite ways of living, and concludes with the steps necessary to understand the importance of enjoying the moment we are living in without sacrificing our goals.
Chapter 8 - Living In The Moment: The Practical Application
"Say goodbye to your past, and plan for your future, but understand that you only have control of the moment you are actually living in. Focus your energies there."
If we are going to make the advances in our lives which we hope for, it is important that we summon all our energy, and apply it to the tasks we are addressing in our daily lives. In this chapter, we are examining the concept of living in the moment, but our goal here is to become practical and provide the reader with actual steps that can be taken to remove themselves from the debilitating issues of their past, and the apprehension of an unpredictable future. Our focus will be on operational ways to make this happen. Whereas, it makes sense to mentally focus on what is occurring in the moment you are living in, the chapter uses methods such as controlled breathing, intellectual coaching, emotional marking and enhancing, and meditation to help the reader move beyond the simple presentation of living in the moment, and into a practical application, which makes this ambiguous task a well-defined practicum. The chapter closes with a summary of those steps, and simple ways to apply the information which has been presented.
Chapter 9 - The Backward Forward Principle
"The past is dead, and the future does not yet exist. We have to stop breathing life into frames of time which we cannot control."
Being functional and efficient in the moment we are living in requires the concentration of energy designed to achieve our goals while we are performing the tasks that they require. This chapter delves deeper into chapter five's dialogue, and moves into an explanation of how the past which may haunt us, and the future, which is unknown, will continually make appearance is in our daily lives. It discusses this as a normal phenomenon, but its goal is to help the reader understand how to redirect energy away from those two lifeless periods, and back into the alive version of our lives which exists in the present. The text presents an understanding of how we provide life in the moment to periods of our lives which do not exist in the moment; how this life-stealing process pilfers the energy we need to be efficient in the moment, and what we can do to minimize that drain on our energy resources. It further discusses how we move back and forth between these two life-time-frames, and how this movement depletes the energy we need to function in the day in which we are living. The chapter concludes with the steps that are necessary to keep this way of living from becoming a generalized way of life, and helps us to understand what we must do to keep our energy resources operating at their maximum potential in the moment where they are required.
Chapter 10 - Life On Life's Terms, and the Natural Flow
"Life is a simple series of natural changes. We need to stop resisting them. Nothing is guaranteed, and trying to force our will against the natural progression of things only creates sorrow. We need to more efficiently embrace life's natural flows."
Our free will tells us that we can have whatever we want if we are willing to work for it. Often, however, though our goals may be reasonable, they may either violate or challenge the natural flow of our lives. This can cause undue confusion and conflict, and we might see our goal being realized more efficiently if we understand life's natural flow. This chapter discusses human beings as natural organisms, and as such, how important it is to maintain a flow of life that is consistent with nature's natural flow. Unfortunately, our desires often violate nature's natural flows, resulting in pain and confusion, when a simpler approach would have been more efficient. The chapter stresses the difference between being big picture people, and focusing on the small picture, one that inevitably lacks the necessary information which is the precursor to sound decision making capabilities. The chapter provides examples to help illustrate the central theme, and closes with the necessary steps to move the reader from small picture thinking, and in the direction of assimilating information to address big picture thinking which is in tune with the natural flow of our lives.
Chapter 11 - Change, and the Route To Growth
"We live and die by the choices we make. All too often, it is our unwillingness to part with the comfort of the prisons which define us that becomes our undoing."
The natural human movement is to progress toward conditions of comfort and safety. Unfortunately, those places can become uncomfortable, dysfunctional, and unfulfilling. This chapter illustrates just how willing the human mind is to create and maintain comfort zones, many of which become intellectual and emotional ruts, holding us prisoner, and preventing us from reaching our goals and becoming fulfilled human beings. The chapter defines the brain's capacity to not only search for pleasure, but to maintain pleasurable states, even to the point that they become addictive and dysfunctional. It discusses how our comfort zones become generalized to the point that they become priorities, and remove us from our own abilities to understand ourselves, and to grow. The chapter further discusses our willingness to defend these comfort zones to the point that we become prisoners inside of them. The chapter closes with the steps, which are necessary to both understand how comfort zones develop, and a functional plan to maintain healthy comfort in our lives, without compromising our ability to grow and become fulfilled.
Chapter 12 - Redefining Your Life Through Forgiveness
"Forgiveness is a process that requires soul searching, honesty, and courage. Facing the demons inside of us can be self-debilitating, or self- empowering. The choices we make set the stage for the course our lives will take."
Self-forgiveness is often written in self-help books and other practical approaches as a product of pardon, absolution, exoneration, clemency, and mercy. The more traditional methods of arriving at self-forgiveness include understanding that we all make mistakes, letting go of the past, and making sure that you don't commit the act again. This chapter presents self-forgiveness in an entirely different light. It stresses the need for a process to forgive one's self, which is consistent with the process way of living. The goal of this section is to help the reader understand that forgiving oneself is possible, and necessary to move forward in a healthy life, but there are, in fact, steps which need to be taken before that can happen. The chapter outlines the features of the process way to address accountability, and subsequently, our movement toward internal forgiveness. It closes with the steps which are necessary to create the process for forgiveness, and the methods necessary to execute those steps.
Chapter 13 - The Fear Factor
"Fear can cause emotional and intellectual paralysis. Challenge yourself with something you think you could never do, and you will find that you can
overcome almost anything."
Nothing can cause intellectual and emotional paralysis like fear. In this chapter, fear is not only defined as an emotion which can seriously affect our lives, but one which can drastically alter it permanently if we don't learn to address it. The chapter both defines the physiological correlates of fear, moving into a discussion of rational and irrational fears. The important feature of the chapter is the identification of the masks that we use to cover our fear, and continue to function in our daily lives. Those masks include the safe face, the victim face, the paranoid face, and the attack face. The goal of the chapter is to help the reader understand not only how fear develops, and the rational and irrational way it presents itself, but also to understand the masks that we use to avoid facing our fears. These masks may hide fear from us, but they instigate dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors on many other levels. The chapter concludes with the steps which are necessary to address each face of fear, with the more specific objective of helping
to enhance the reader's ability to address emotionally difficult situations like those which cause us to become afraid.
Chapter 14 - Lies, Defenses, and How Truth Cures
"We live our lives defending ourselves against any, and all perceived attacks when we could just as easily find peace by learning to be comfortable with
Our lives are governed by one of the world's most complicated and clever machines. Our brains are capable of devising sound defenses that can keep others at bay, while at the same time convincing us that nothing is wrong in our lives. In this chapter, we explore the role defense mechanisms play as we routinely conduct our lives. Defenses such as denial, rationalization, and intellectualization are designed to keep us comfortable by preventing the truth from entering our conscious thoughts. When this happens, instead of facing the truth, we use our defenses to create dishonest alternate representations of a situation. As a result, we never arrive at the real meaning of what is happening around us, and subsequently, we don't make the changes we need for growth to occur. The chapter also allows for an understanding of how defenses develop, and provides an illustration to help the reader understand this insidious defense system. The chapter closes with the steps necessary to begin the process of deemphasizing defense mechanisms in our lives, and moving to a more truthful representation of what is happening around us.
Chapter 15- The Enemy Within
"Envy is the mind's most efficient way of telling us that we don't measure up, to ourselves."
Believing that others have more, or are more than we are is one of the surest ways to come face-to-face with our own emotional destruction. This chapter exposes envy as an insecure internal mechanism, as opposed to external jealousy. If further discusses the fruitless attempts we use to fix internal problems through external means. Although altering the external landscape does, for a short time, and glitter to our lives, the glitter soon fades, and we return to our insecure feelings about ourselves. We may medicate our internal condition with external events and resources, but we never alleviate the insecurities. The goal of the chapter is to help us understand that envy emanates from the inside. It is a mirror which has us looking at ourselves, not liking what we see, and feeling that we are at a disadvantage as we compare ourselves to others. If we are willing to focus inside ourselves and stop looking for external fixes for our envy, we create the opportunities for healthy internal change. The chapter closes the steps necessary to help alleviate envy in our lives, and sets the stage for the next chapter.
Chapter 16 - Confronting Others Peacefully
"Confrontations should have little to do with agitated displays of anger and frustration. When we learn to express them with warmth, they can alter the course of our lives."
The repeated process of understanding that a situation needs to be addressed, unsuccessfully resolving the internal conflict inherent in a potential confrontation process, and then not resolving the issue, only to pretend that things are better, and then, repeating the process, is something we refer to as the up and down syndrome. This causes us to experience emotional highs and lows that create continued anxiety and emotional distress for us. This chapter discusses the difficult time which we all have with confrontation, the traditional fears that are associated with it, and what happens to us when we need to confront something painful or fearful, but fail to do so. The chapter emphasizes warm and factual communication, moving the reader away from fear and anger, which so often interfere with the confrontation process. It also defines confrontations as mere information exchanges with do not have to be emotional. The chapter closes with steps the reader can use to enhance the communicative process, and to understand warm communication instead of angry confrontation.
Chapter 17 - Understanding The Value of Warm Conflict Resolution
"Conflict is not the monster we make it out to be. It is an intellectual gift. It helps us to organize our world, and tells us how intelligent we can be. We need to stop fearing it."
We fear conflict because we learned to do so. We can also learn to confront conflicting situations with intelligent communication. This chapter focuses on the topic of conflict resolution. It redefines conflict as an intellectual state that occurs when two opposing energy sources concurrently occupy the same cognitive space. The chapter continues as it presents the magnificence of the human brain and its understanding that a conflict is nothing more than the presentation of benign segments of information. We fear conflicts because we infuse them with our emotions. Unemotional fact gathering is essential, and a conflict is nothing more than the presentation of two different information-based energy sources, which, if communicated efficiently, help us arrive at a new congruent and productive solution. The chapter closes with the steps necessary to address conflicts so that that they inevitably make way to a solution.
Chapter 18 - Anger Games
"Since we only live once, it is essential that we live right. Live without anger, and learn to love."
All of us can become angry. It can be a reaction to fear, stress, frustration, or deprivation. As we become more educated about the development of anger, and how it is expressed, we can become more efficient in our attempts to control it. This chapter focuses on the evolution of anger and how it affects the human brain. It concentrates on four types of anger; rapid anger, anger for profit, paranoid anger, and passive-aggressive anger. The chapter also discusses how anger to can develop into an addictive process that alters brain chemistry. This chapter departs from the usual presentation style. As opposed to providing the steps to deal with anger only at the end of the chapter, advice is prescribed at the end of each individual presentation of anger. This departure reflects the need for the reader to understand what to do with each type of anger, individually. The chapter also stresses the need to identify where the anger is coming from, and the importance of getting assistance to address existing problems which may lead to anger, and angry outbursts. The usual prescriptive section is also provided at the end of the discussion