Book Reviews and Links

Carson, Rick,Taming Your Gremlin, 2003.

Each of us has a constant repetitive voice in our head, commenting, warning and judging. Sometimes the voice gets stuck in the past, perhaps returning us to moments that could have gone better. If the voice is preoccupied with things that could go wrong in the future, we call that “worrying.”

“Your gremlin,” is what Carson calls this narrator in your head. And your gremlin, he says, uses some of your past experiences to hypnotize you into living your life according to self-limiting and even frightening generalizations about you and your potential. Your gremlin wants you to feel bad, and it manipulates you to cause you misery.

The first step in taming your gremlin occurs as you start to notice its recurring negative messages. What happens is that you realize that you are not your gremlin. Rather, you are your gremlin’s observer.

Carson suggests that one way to tame your gremlin is to visualize it. He provides text descriptions and lavish cartoons of gremlins that he has known, either from his own head or through discussions with clients.

In experimenting with Carson’s approach, I’ve discovered that I have not just one gremlin, but rather a whole cast of characters. Lately I’ve spent a lot of time observing the one I dubbed “Lola”. She looks like a voluptuous retired show girl, she spends a lot of time lolling around in bed, and in the morning she tries to talk me out of starting the day with a round of exercise.

This book has become a classic and it’s a useful – and even fun – place to begin, if you want to quiet that annoying voice in your mind.

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