Do One Thing Different: Ten Simple Ways to Change Your Life

Do One Thing Different: Ten Simple Ways to Change Your Life

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by Bill O'hanlon, William Hudson O'Hanlon

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You can move quickly from "stuck" to "smooth sailing" in all aspects of your life using Bill O'Hanlon's ten easy Solution Keys, Humorous, direct, and effective, they help you change how you view and "do" your problems-from difficult relationships to enhancing sexuality and resolving conflicts of all kinds. The next time you have a

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You can move quickly from "stuck" to "smooth sailing" in all aspects of your life using Bill O'Hanlon's ten easy Solution Keys, Humorous, direct, and effective, they help you change how you view and "do" your problems-from difficult relationships to enhancing sexuality and resolving conflicts of all kinds. The next time you have a problem, try one of these solution Keys:

  • Break Problem Patter: Change any one of what you usually do in the problem situation-i.e. do one thing different! Example: If you usually get angry and defensive, sit quietly and listen.
  • Find and Use Solution Pattern: Import solutions from other situations where you felt competent. Examples: what do you know on the golf course that you forget when you get behind the wheel of your car? What do you say to resolve a problem with an angry customer that you don't say to your angry partner?
  • Shift Your Attention: Focus what you would like to have happen rather than on what is happening.

Grounded in therapeutic practice, this bold and funny book will put you back in control of your emotions and your life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Blithely repackaging traditional cognitive-behavioral therapy, certified counselor O'Hanlon (Love Is a Verb, etc.) justifies his "solution-oriented therapy" with numerous self-aggrandizing case examples but no empirical research. He advises readers to look to the past for successful solutions to previous problems and to apply them to the present. Analyzing why a problem is happening is a waste of time, he contends: all that's needed is simple experimentation with one's behavior. For instance, in one example, a couple who argued nightly when the husband returned from work were able to break their pattern by postponing any discussions until after he had showered and changed clothes. All that was needed, suggests O'Hanlon, was this simple adjustment. However, the husband's respite probably allowed him crucial time to relax and get some mental distance from his workday. Some of the apparently ridiculous pattern changes O'Hanlon recommends (if you wish to eat fewer cookies, eat them with your left hand instead of your right) work because they increase awareness of the behavior, as recognized by behavior therapists many decades ago. O'Hanlon has mastered a formula that draws in the reader with entertaining anecdotes, concise summaries and an appealingly simple message, but it verges on the simplistic. Agent, Loretta Barrett. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
O'Hanlon, a certified professional counselor, marriage therapist, and author of 16 self-help books (e.g., Love Is a Verb), here makes an interesting addition to the field. Written in short, lively chapters, his book is divided into three topical parts: changing the doing of the problem, changing the viewing of the problem, and applying solution-oriented therapy. Motivated by his own frustrations with traditional therapies (they didn't work for him as he struggled against suicidal thoughts in college), O'Hanlon devised a new therapeutic philosophy. In place of blaming others or treating people as victims or labels, he advocates a "solution-oriented therapy"--which calls for immeditate, seemingly random action. Each chapter consists of personal narratives, chapter summaries, and exercises for personal growth. Unusual but compelling; recommended for public libraries.--Lisa S. Wise, Broome Cty. P.L., Binghamton, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.50(d)

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ANALYSIS PARALYSIS: From Liabilities to Possibilities

There's an old story about a cop who comes upon a drunk crawling around talking to himself under a streetlight. The cop asks the drunk what he's doing, and the drunk answers in a slurred voice, "I dropped the keys to my house." The cop helps him look around. But after fifteen minutes, when there is still no sign of the keys, the cop suggests, "Let's retrace your steps. Where was he last place you remember having your keys?" "Oh, that's easy," replies the drunk, "I dropped them across the street." "You did!" cries the astonished cop, "Well, then why are we looking over here?" "There's more light here," replies the drunk.

In a similar way, when we have a problem, we often use the light of psychology and psychiatry to look for the key to solving it.Unfortunately, they do not always provide help. Instead, they have us, like the drunk, looking in the wrong place. Explanations often give us an illusion of help by enabling us to understand why we have a problem but not giving us any concrete ways to actually solve it. These systems of explanation can lead to a "victim culture," in which people focus on damage done to them in childhood or in their current relationships. This results in a tendency to blame others and look outside ourselves for solutions-to turn to experts or self-help books and groups. Explanations are a booby prize. When you've got a problem, you want a solution. Psychological explanations, so pervasive in our society, steer people away from solving problems by giving them reasons why the problem has come about or why it is not solvable:

"Jimmy has low self--esteem; that's why he isso angry."

"I'm so shy that I'll never meet anyone. "

"I was sexually abused, so my sex life is bad."

"She has dyslexia--that's why she can't read or write well."

One of my favorite illustrations of this problem of paralysis from over analysis is in the movie Annie Hall. Woody Allen plays Alvey Singer, a neurotic (surprise, surprise). Soon after they meet, Alvey tells his girlfriend Annie that he has been in analysis for thirteen years. He is still clearly a mass of problems. When Annie Hall expresses amazement at how long Alvey has been in therapy without getting any better, he tells her that he knows this, that he intends to give it fifteen years, and that if he has not gotten any results by then, he's going to visit Lourdes. Psychiatry, too, focuses on explanations, but its explanations are biological or genetic. Psychiatric theory--and theory it is--maintains that people's problems are based on biochemistry or even determined by biochemistry or genetics. But although we are born with and influenced by genetic and biochemical factors, not everything about us is determined by these factors. It's more complicated than that. People with biochemical problems can and do have fluctuations in their functioning and sometimes recover altogether from what seems like a neurological or biochemical disorder.

The problem with psychology and psychiatry as strategies for solving problems is that:

  • They give you explanations instead of solutions.
  • They orient you toward what can't be changed: the past or personality characteristics.
  • They encourage you to view yourself as a victim of childhood, your biology or genetics, your family or societal oppression.
  • They sometimes create new problems you didn't know you had before you came into contact with a program or a book.

Some people with dyslexia grow up to be successful writers. Some shy people become actors or public speakers. Some abused people have line sex lives. They haven't let psychology, or ideas about what is wrong with them, dictate the course of their lives. They've taken a solution-oriented approach to life, focusing instead on what they can do to improve the situation.
copyright © by Bill O'Hanlon Do One thing Different. Copyright © by Bill O'hanlon. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

Bill O'Hanlon is a certified professional counselor and a licensed marriage and family therapist. He is the author of sixteen books, including Stop Blaming, Start Loving (formerly entitled Love Is a Verb), he has appeared on Today, and he reaches thousands through his seminars, audiotapes, and Web site. He and his wife live in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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