Taming Your Gremlin: A Guide to Enjoying Yourself


There is a gremlin within you. He is the narrator in your head.

He tells you who you are, and he defines and interprets your every experience. He wants you to feel bad, and he pursues this loathsome task by means of sophisticated maneuvers: just when you feel you've out-argued or overcome him, he changes his disguise and his strategy. He's the sticky sort — grapple with him and you become more enmeshed. What he hates is simply being noticed. ...

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There is a gremlin within you. He is the narrator in your head.

He tells you who you are, and he defines and interprets your every experience. He wants you to feel bad, and he pursues this loathsome task by means of sophisticated maneuvers: just when you feel you've out-argued or overcome him, he changes his disguise and his strategy. He's the sticky sort — grapple with him and you become more enmeshed. What he hates is simply being noticed. That's the first step to his taming.

If you have a low tolerance for self-help books or they haven't worked for you, here is a more creative yet practical approach to solving life's problems. Through the powerful metaphor of the gremlin, presented so imaginatively by Richard Carson's writing and Novle Rogers's artwork, you will find ways to identify and banish the tenacious, self-defeating aspects of your personality.

Through the metaphor of the gremlin, presented in writing and artwork by Novle Rogers, the author demonstrates ways to banish the self-defeating aspects of personality.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060961022
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/1/1990
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 111
  • Product dimensions: 6.75 (w) x 8.97 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

This is Rick Carson's fourth book for HarperCollins. His seminal work, Taming Your Gremlin®, has had a remarkable track record. Translated into several languages, Taming Your Gremlin has been a consistent seller since 1984. For thousands in a cross-section of cultures and circumstances, the Gremlin-Taming Method serves as a foundation for responding to everyday challenges and for living a satisfying life.

For over thirty-five years Rick has been a counselor, personal and executive coach, and trainer for mental health professionals, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. His work is used in the training of psychotherapists, personal and executive coaches, substance abuse specialists, corrections personnel, teachers, corporate executives, clergy, and others. He is a former faculty member at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and a clinical member and approved supervisor for the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Rick is the founder of the Gremlin Taming Institute in Dallas, Texas.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Book, Me, You, and Your Gremlin

The Book

This book is not intended to guide you to enlightenment, to eternal bliss, or to riches. It will, however, help you to enjoy yourself more and more each day. It is simple and practical and I hope that reading it brings you much pleasure.


Over the last 20 or so years a number of people have come to me for counseling. They have come with a variety of "presenting problems" including anxiety (experienced all sorts of ways), strange behavior, and strained relationships. While my service to them could be described in clinical, philosophical, and perhaps even metaphysical terms, the truth is that I have spent most of my time with them simply helping them improve their ability to enjoy themselves. I have had the pleasure of seeing not only individuals, but couples and entire families enhance their potential for day-to-day, moment-to-moment enjoyment, and in the process, for most of them anyway, their "presenting problems" have disappeared. Those who themselves were "helping professionals" such as physicians, teachers, ministers, and psychologists tell me that increasing their ability to enjoy themselves has contributed to an increase in their effectiveness with those whom they serve.

I am no master of the art of self-enjoyment. I am, however, a conscientious student of the process and I am steadily becoming more and more proficient not only at enjoying myself, but at assisting others to do thesame.


Having commented on what this book is and is not, and on who I am and am not, let me say a word about who you are and are not. You probably already know, or at least sense, that you are not your body, your feelings, your thoughts, your personality, or even some complex combination of these variables. Furthermore, you are not the roles you play such as mother, father, wife, friend, up-person, down-person, client, counselor, all-around good person, or lowdown nogoodnik. These are just labels to describe your style of existence at any point in time. The real you is a pure life force and is not limited by your concepts and ideas about who you are. It is the real you that is able to experience and enjoy the body in which you dwell, the external physical world in which you live, and the thoughts, memories and fantasies your brain creates and stores. I do not know all that there is to know about the real you (or the real me, for that matter), but I have experienced enough to know that the real you is beautiful beyond your most creative fantasy, and allowed to do so it will guide the evolvement of your life in a manner that will feel terrific.

The real you feels wonderful all of the time; therefore, the more you are able to allow the real you complete freedom, the more you will enjoy yourself. This may sound simple. That is because it is. But it is not easy. For while you were created capable of complete and constant enjoyment, there is within you a gremlin intent on squelching your very essence and consequentlyyour level of enjoyment.

Your Gremlin

You already have some sense of your gremlin though you may have never focused your awareness on him or labeled him. Your gremlin is the narrator in your head. He has influenced you since you came into this world and he accompanies you throughout this entire existence. He is with you when you wake up in the morning and when you go to sleep at night. He tells you who and how you are, and he defines and interprets your every experience. He wants you to accept his interpretations as reality, and his goal from moment-to-moment, day-to-day, is to squelch the real, vibrant you within. I am not sure of the factors that contributed to the make-up of your particular gremlin. I am sure, however, that he was created, at least in part, by your past experiences.

Your gremlin wants you to feel bad and he carries out this loathsome pursuit via sophisticated maneuvers, which we will discuss later, and by convincing you to waste time reliving the past, worrying about the future, and analyzing the relationships between all sorts of people and things. He wants you to believe that he has your best interest at heart and that his primary purpose is to serve and protect you. His motive is actually much less honorable. He is intent on making you feel lousy. His caution about life and living is inordinate and his methods of control are overzealous. If by chance you are familiar with theories of psychotherapy take note that your gremlin is not the parent ego-state of Eric Berne's transactional analysis, the Top Dog of Fritz Perl's gestalt therapy, or the super-ego of Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory. He is not merely a part of your psychological make-up. He is a GREMLIN and his personality, like his dastardly intention, is all his own. One thing is for certain, as you begin to simply notice your gremlin, you will become acutely sensitive to the fact that you are not your gremlin, but rather his observer. You will see clearly that your gremlin has no real hold on you. As this awareness develops, you will begin to enjoy yourself more and more. It is to you, the observer, that this book is written.

Simply Noticing

The "simply" in "simply noticing" cannot be overstated. Simply noticing has nothing to do with analyzing, understanding, predicting the future, or undoing the past. Simply noticing involves only simply noticing.

Trying and Figuring Out

I hope that you will not try to figure out the gist of what I am saying, for both "trying" and "figuring out" are a waste of time. To try and/or figure out is to invite your gremlin into our relationship. Two is...

Taming Your Gremlin. Copyright © by Richard D. Carson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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