This review has been shared anonymously with the consent of the reviewer. This review has been edited for clarity.
The thing I valued most about your writing was how true you were to your goal of sharing experience rather than giving advice. I think that whether or not people are conscious of it (myself certainly included) they do not want to be told what to do. Your book gives people the chance to hear the valuable pieces of information and understand how they were relevant to your journey thus far, leaving it open ended for them to make the connections to their own situations.
My single biggest takeaway was the idea of “good thing, bad thing, who knows.” I am very very very (very) bad at thinking like this. When I read this section and realized how bad I was at this I did not have any trouble thinking of examples where making this exact mistake cost me a lot of time and happiness. I spent the first half of my first semester at Binghamton being bummed that I had been rejected from Cornell, and then after transferring to Cornell for my sophomore year, I spent my first semester there worried that I had made the wrong decision in transferring. With a full year since graduation under my belt, I now know that I wouldn’t trade my first year at Binghamton for another year at Cornell, nor would I trade my years at Cornell for more years at Binghamton. I am looking forward to improving my thinking in this area, and I am glad that the solution now has a name in my mind.
My favorite thing included in the book was the exercise … in which you asked people what they thought you were good at. I did a similar exercise in April and found it to be extraordinarily helpful and heartwarming. For several years I have been collecting letters, emails, notes, or other words that made me feel loved, valuable, or otherwise happy. I think having these has helped me when a very bad day inevitably comes. I have been encouraging all of my friends to do similar exercises.
Additionally I felt that your book gave me some positive reinforcement in areas where I needed it. I felt this most strongly in your writing about the importance of leaving your comfort zone. The thing I have done that I am the most proud of (not even close) is going to teach English in Thailand. This was out of my comfort zone not only because I was moving to Asia by myself, but also because all of my friends that I graduated with immediately got jobs and started to work. It took me a lot of time before I finally decided I was going to choose a path entirely different from anyone that I knew. This was definitely a 10 on my out of comfort zone scale and I think if I did not go I would have regretted it for the rest of my life. I continued my commitment to getting outside of my comfort zone by performing my first ever set of stand of comedy on Tuesday night.
To continue, I have been practicing “Playing the part” in the last year as well. I once read that bravery is the only emotion where faking it and being genuine are the same. I feel the same way when approaching the problem of caring what people think about you. I have always cared very deeply what people think of me. I want to be well liked. Since graduating and not taking the “traditional” job route, I have encountered people who are very supportive and also people who think I am making life ruining mistakes. I enjoy the acting theme of playing the part, because not caring about what people think and acting as though you do not care what people think are effectively the same. I have also been trying to do my best to not care so much what “people” in the abstract sense think, but consider the thoughts and feelings from those “people” who I know care for me and are on my team.
Lastly, I really enjoyed getting a more in depth look into your journey of where you are today. It is very difficult to be introspective enough to take responsibility for your role in situations that did not turn out as you hoped they would. I found these instances particularly helpful and interesting, and I think it is likely others have as well. I also wanted to thank you for the inscription you wrote in the copy of the book you gave to me. It says “You are asking all the right questions. Keep pushing forward.” I am a big believer that you cannot get the correct answer if you are asking the wrong question, I am glad you think I am asking the correct ones.