Your Ultimate Life Plan, by Dr. Jennifer Howard (softcover, 2012)|
(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you
want a hardcopy)
Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
This book is predicated upon the idea that the reader, and everyone else,
needs to change. I think it's easy to misunderstand this. So first, I'll explain
how I see it. I just want to clarify that I don't think this book is solely for
the person who has never been able to have any real meaning in life or is just
plain miserable. I think it provides a toolkit that anyone can use.
Some people, perhaps most people, really are stuck in a rut. Maybe it's a
toxic relationship, a job they hate, persistent negativity, or a seeming
lack of discipline to get where you want to be. Some people aren't so much
stuck in a rut as having a very hard time crawling out of it with any sort
of speed. Still others aren't in a rut at all. They're on level ground but
would like to reach a higher plane.
Some folks are continually adapting and handling whatever life throws at
them. They learn from the past and plan for the future, but live in the now.
I see myself as being in this category. I have been in the other categories,
and it took several stages of transformation through several levels of
maturity for me to get to the point where I choose to control how I feel
rather than surrendering that to external forces. I can see other levels of
maturity ahead of me, though.
I noticed that the book refers to Dr. Jennifer instead of Dr. Howard. As
her surname is a common first name, someone reading "Dr. Howard" might
wonder "Dr. Howard who?" this makes sense to me. So I'm going with that in
Pick up any book about personal change, and it's almost certain the
author is prescribing a particular methodology derived from a particular
school of thought or a particular theme. Sometimes, you get a blending in of
bits of a few other methodologies with the result being the stew has a
slightly different flavor than straight up Method A, B, or C.
Dr. Jennifer's approach is quite different. She draws from several schools of
thought and presents options that the reader can choose from depending upon that
reader's needs and comfort level. Instead of saying, "Your problem is X, so the
solution is Y," she provides the reader with some insight to the problem and
then suggests ways for you to find your own best answer to your particular
problem. Mostly, she does this by suggesting a particular meditation or by
listing though exercises for you to work through.
Something I've discovered
during my own travels and interactions with people is that people usually
want the quick fix answer to whatever troubles them. Sadly, this is not to
be. Life just does not work that way. And "work" is a word Dr. Jennifer uses
repeatedly. You have to work at emotional healing and spiritual growth.
Fitness-oriented people know, by comparison, that you must work at losing
fat and building muscle. You don't get a lean, strong body by popping a few
pills or paying for a gym membership and new gym clothes. Only by knowing
what you're doing and consistently working to a plan can you reach your
physical fitness goals.
The same is true in the emotional and spiritual
arenas. There is no shortcut. You need a plan, and you need to commit to
working that plan on a regular basis. Gee, what's the title of this book
This book does not prescribe a simple paint by numbers system. With
her training and experience, Dr. Jennifer has exactly the expertise needed
to guide the reader through this process of developing (or maybe updating)
your life plan and working through exercises to achieve the goals of that
For many people, this book will be too "deep" upon first reading.
It's not that you were defective or the book was too deep, it was that you
haven't flexed those mental muscles before. Just think of how the second
reading is going to be so much better. And when you come back to the book as
you do your healing work, you'll be grateful for the guidance provided.
This book consists of 13 chapters in 231 pages. It also has a foreword,
introduction, recommended reading list, backnotes, extensive bibliography,