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Book Review: Fearless at Work by Michael Carroll

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Michael Carroll’s new book, Fearless at Work: Timeless Teachings for Awakening Confidence, Resilience and Creativity in the Face of Life’s Demands, asks what most of us want from our work life. He writes, “Given the demands and relentless pace of our modern-day workplace, it is little wonder that most of us would like a little stress-free happiness on occasion. Success and fulfillment? A little appreciation for a job well done? Isn’t that what we are all looking for at work?”

Carroll proposes that while everyone wants to be happy and successful at work, what everyone is really hoping for is to be confident. One of the challenges to being confident, according to the book, is rediscovering our natural fearlessness.

The author writes, “Being fearless when losing a job or when facing any of life’s challenges is not about learning to defend ourselves.” Instead fearlessness at work is being instinctively resourceful and at ease when facing tough times.

Carroll offers 38 phrases or “slogans” designed to provide instructions for awakening one’s fearlessness when needed in everyday life. The book is divided into five sections with slogan for each section. The sections include:
1. Five primary slogans
2. Exploring the ironies of cowardice
3. Taming the mind
4. Establishing a fearless presence
5. Living a skillful life

The five primary slogans include:

1. Face the fierce facts of life
2. No delight; no courage
3. Recognize fear
4. Discover the jewel of the fearless abundance
5. Command gracefully

Carroll proposes that work is such an integral part of everyone’s life and yet most seem to struggle or become overwhelmed by the challenges that every workplace produces. In the first of the five primary slogans, Carroll writes about facing the facts of life.

“To live a fearless, confident life and resolve the challenge of cowardice, we must examine the distressing side of our experience: we must face the fierce facts of life.”

A few of those facts include to be human hurts, anything can and does happen, each of us is alone-we are born alone and die alone, we are going to die and when we do 99.99 percent of the world won’t notice. While the book starts off with lots of doom and gloom, the author does get more positive throughout the book.

The last chapter offers slogans for living a skillful life and offers slogans for becoming a flagpole, slowing down, taking the vajra view of aggression and resonating where one feels the burdens and challenges of another person. The author draws on Buddhist philosophy and encourages being fully aware of every moment in life including those we experience at work.

The premise of the one factor we all want from our work life is confidence is unique and offers a startling realization of truth. How many times have you asked yourself why you work where you do or do what you do for work?

This author puts it a simple as it can get. We all want to feel confident and sure at work and that what we are doing for so many hours of our life matters and counts.

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