Book Review: Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop

As the title may indicate, Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life is a self-help book that isn’t worried about your feelings. Gary John Bishop’s opening words reinforce this idea: “This is a conversational slap from the universe to wake you up to your true potential, to unfuck yourself, and get spectacularly into your life.”

Because of the tough, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, message, this book may not be for everyone, particularly those in the midst of a battle with mental illness. Bishop does attempt to address those who are overcoming trauma by writing that what happened in the past is unforgivable but as adults we need to take control of our own lives, stop feeling like victims, and live the life we want.

I agree, in theory, but it would have been nice for him to acknowledge that the first step to “unfucking” yourself for many may be visiting a trained professional to process past trauma. It is implied in various sections, but a specific call to action would have acknowledged that some need more help than repeating a mantra to themselves.

Even with this criticism, I can recommend this book for most. Bishop uses a comedic, easy-to-read style, and his seven assertions are an effective way of answering the negative thoughts that creep into our minds that stop us from living fully self-actualized lives.

The seven assertions are:

  1. I am willing (which he says you can flip to “I am unwilling,” which I find much more powerful).
  2. I am wired to win.
  3. I got this.
  4. I embrace uncertainty.
  5. I am not my thoughts; I am what I do.
  6. I am relentless.
  7. I expect nothing and accept everything.

For each assertion, he provides an explanation of the meaning behind the mantra and some details about how the lesson can be applied towards reaching your goals.

For example, in Chapter 1, Bishop writes, “If you’re not willing to take the actions to change your situation–in other words, if you’re willing to put up with your situation–then whether you like it or not, that is the life you have chosen.” He then details how, no matter what led you to this current situation, it is your willingness or unwillingness to change it that will dictate whether you reach your true potential or remain stuck. If you are not willing to go to the gym every day, you are not going to lose weight. If you are willing to put up with a job you hate (and unwilling to look for a new one), you will be stuck there for life.

I read this book a couple months ago and find myself turning back to it after a trying time. As I struggle, I remind myself that I am unwilling to let others treat me badly; I am unwilling to settle; I am unwilling to live a life of quiet desperation. On days when I consider returning to past situations, the simple act of saying, “I am unwilling” is enough of a reminder to keep me on the path I want to travel.

This is the sort of book that is a great addition to your self-help shelf. Each section seems relevant for different struggles and for different eras of your life. As I said, I find myself returning to the first section now, but when I first read the book, I found “I embrace uncertainty” most powerful. If you can tolerate the tough love tone, you can find sound advice for unfucking yourself.

Has anyone else read this book? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts, so comment below!

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