Professional development coach Thinking Space
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‘Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right’ – a review of ‘Clarity’ by Jamie Smart

26th May 2016
Professional development coach Thinking Space
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“If a pond is clouded with mud, there’s nothing you can do to make the water clear. But when you allow the mud to settle, it will clear on its own, because clarity is the water’s natural state …

Clarity is your mind’s natural state”

The introduction to 'Clarity' by Jamie Smart tells me that it ‘is designed to effortlessly activate your innate capacity for clarity'. Rather than acting like I understood how my mind and my life really work, I would catch that understanding, just like catching a cold, as I read the book. Sounds good, doesn't it?

Smart suggests that we clutter our minds when we allow them to be dominated by ‘superstitious thinking’. This is generated by ‘outside-in misunderstanding’ which in turn arises from the influence of external circumstances and experiences on our minds.

Throughout the book, he leads us through his theories of how our mind works so that we can gain the clarity we need in order to raise our performance and our experience of life.

How we think about what we think confuses us

In a similar way to Michael Neill’s TEDx talk 'Why aren’t we awesomer?', Smart suggests that it’s thinking about our thinking rather than the thoughts themselves which cause the problems. To return to his pond analogy, when we stir up our thoughts and overthink, we muddy the water of our mind. Although mindfulness isn’t mentioned in the book’s 270 pages, it’s the one practice which kept occurring to me as I read.

Throughout the chapters, Jamie Smart intersperses the text with ‘reality checks’ and ‘thought experiments’ and encourages readers to interact with each other online: I didn’t personally find the online experience added anything useful.

Clarity book

If you are looking for a book which will give you a series of steps to follow in order to achieve clarity, this is not the book for you. If you have a curious mind and would like to think about thinking, then it’s probably worth a read, although you may find as much value in watching the aforementioned TEDx talk by Michael Neill and downloading the Headspace app.

Henry Ford said 'Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right’: in that case, if you believe that reading this book will bring you clarity, then it will.


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