Secrets to Shine Through the Noise by Akasha Garnier
Sit Down and Read
One Line Summary
Take control of your life and shine
Secrets to Shine Through the Noise has been one of my favorite books I’ve been asked to review by an author since this blog started. It’s a combination of a self-help book along with the tale of the incredible journey Garnier has been on.
The book starts off with discussing how it is that we’ve gotten in a situation where a person might not know what they want to do with their life. From there, she gives you exercises to complete and eventually dishes out what she calls The Playbook.
Why it’s Awesome
I talk a lot about social conditioning on this blog. And that’s because it truly is one of the topics that can’t be stressed enough. Beliefs, whether scientific or religious or whatever, get planted in our head just by the very act of functioning in the world. It can’t be helped. Sometimes these beliefs are useful, and sometimes they are not.
Garnier understands this. Perhaps the most important part of the book from a self-development standpoint can be found in the beginning of the book. She explains that people need to label you in order for them and society to function. You’re either “a writer” or “an athlete” or whatever. But notice that these labels simply reflect a decision you made at one point about yourself. They’re not divine, immutable characteristics.
What this means is that people can make a decision about who they are very early and fall into the trap of believing they have to keep living up to this label throughout their life.
As young children, you’re allowed to be formless. You can want to be an astronaut one day and a painter the next and no one will bat an eye. But at some point this ends. The world comes to you and says, “Enough fooling around, it’s time to get serious and pick something”. Some people choose well, and others don’t. But it still was at some point a choice.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with having a label. It’s seems almost impossible to function without one. The question is, how much do you really believe it? Do you really believe so badly that you’re not artistic that you’ll throw away a dream job at being a musician? Do you really believe you’re a doctor so badly that you’ll continue working even though you hate it?
All labels are just LABELS. They don’t really represent the reality of the actual thing itself.
The reality is that you are formless. Beyond labels and interpretations. Emerson says that the only person you’re destined to become is the person you decide to be.
I give credit to Garnier for pointing this out because this is a deep spiritual truth that often gets misunderstood. Your intense identification with your label is what causes someone to lose 10 years of their life without them hardly even knowing it because they’ve just been so stuck in the grind. They don’t see the mechanicalness in which they’re acting. They don’t see that their actions are driven by preserving their label and not higher purposes like joy, fulfillment and contribution.
The next thing I love about this book is that it’s not just about intellectualizing. After providing some theory, Garnier hits you with exercise after exercise for you to complete. She asks you to do everything from answer important questions about yourself to writing and coloring. By the end, you’ll already feel like you’ve accomplished a great deal just by finishing the book.
Even though this book requires some work and soul searching, it’s not without its light moments. Garnier is very honest about her life journey and the current situation she’s in. She’s not someone who necessarily has it all figured out. And I don’t imagine she wants to. What’s a journey that suddenly has no more conflict?
But even though she has human problems like the rest of us, she approaches these problems and her life in a very inspiring way. You get a sense that nothing could ever really turn this woman away from ultimately believing in herself, even if she has moments of doubts. That full self-trust, that full FAITH, when necessary is invaluable.
Why Does It Suck
A minor complaint I have about the book is that it can be all over the place. One minute Garnier is talking about one thing, and another moment she is talking about something else. It doesn’t quite have that nice flow that you’d expect from a well edited book. It could use some tightening and some revisions to make everything come together better.
The Wrap Up
Secrets to Shine Through the Noise is a great beginner’s book for self-development. It will motivate, teach and entertain you. It also hints at some more advanced concepts that I’ve highlighted in this review because they’re of more interest to me. Buy this book and you won’t be disappointed.