The next time you find yourself asking the question “What’s my purpose?” or feeling like others are to blame for your circumstances in life you may want to consider reading Choices and Illusions – How Did I Get Where I Am, and How Do I Get Where I Want to Be? by Eldon Taylor.
This isn’t just another self-help book. It is a weave of one man’s journey, an introduction to the science of the mind and a common sense approach to self-improvement. Written from a first person point of view, Taylor creates a personal connection between himself and the reader. He manages to draw attention to various scientific studies along with spiritual research, hypnosis, subliminal messaging and other psychological references to illustrate the choice and illusion concept.
For those that don’t just want to read about how to tap into their potential, Mr. Taylor has also provided multiple interactive exercises that can produce “Wow!” moments. Though some readers may have been exposed to mind manipulation or visual illusion exercises it never gets old being reminded of the brain’s ability to process more than we give it credit for. Eldon Taylor uses his study of the mind, his education in psychology and metaphysics along with his background as a criminalist to provide solid takeaways.
It would be hard for a reader not to turn down the corners of several pages. Take, for instance, the following two chapters: What We Perceive And Fail To Perceive (chapter five) and Psychological Defense Mechanisms (chapter six). Many of you may have heard of or tried the visual illusion(s) in which you stare at dots in the middle of a picture that doesn’t look like much at all. Then when you look away and stare at a blank surface you see a face, a bird or something else that was not previous visible. Taylor makes a good point, “The important thing here for you to realize is that if your senses can trick you in that way, what can you really trust? He goes on to say, “…then it becomes more conceivable that many other things that you hold to be true may in fact not be so and your journey to finding yourself can actually begin.” (page 37)
Another interesting piece of wisdom came in Chapter 9: A Simple Model of Mind and Behavior. It begins with the line, “When I have spoken to inmates, they all have stories and persons or events on which to blame their life errors.” (page 85) There isn’t a person out there that can’t say either they or someone they know tells similar stories of blame. Part way through Taylor reminds us that “As long as we blame, we effectively rob ourselves of our own empowerment.” (page 86) Then there was this, “…There are essentially two ways to be tied up in the world. Someone can physically bind you or you can hold on to some thread and refuse to pull it hard enough to break it, and you are just tethered as if you were actually tied. Holding on to blame is the same as being tied up. Until it is released, there is nothing you can do about anything, because, after all, it’s not your fault.” (page 93)
Many interesting aspects of our consciousness are explored along with hive consciousness and media’s control over us. In Chapter 14: The Courage to Challenge Yourself we are reminded about the impact of the information highway that consumes our life. I loved the reference made to the power of a “media-ocracy.” “The media engineers our ambitions, our habits, and our wants.” (page 153)
Mr. Taylor also provides extensive credits to others with constant references to their work or quotes that are relevant to the concepts he is addressing. Further resources and his Unlimited Personal Power CD are also included. With this approach you get the sense he isn’t just spouting advice but rather sharing a field of study.
Having said that I also believe that much of what you read in the self-help genre has been said hundreds of times. The quotes become familiar, the feel good stories and cheerleading titles are expected. After a person’s initial commitment to change comes the inevitable return to old beliefs and habits.
I won’t lie and say Choices and Illusions doesn’t have what I have just described. However, I will say it holds a lot more in the form of introducing readers to the vast array of research that supports one’s ability to see their world differently. In my quest to be fair to readers I will offer a couple of criticisms of the book:
1. Some of Mr. Taylor’s stories took over. I felt I was being strung along from chapter to chapter waiting for the conclusion. By the time that came I had forgotten the original point.
2. His constant references to his other books was distracting. Mr. Taylor stated in the preface that this was done to benefit those who wish to explore certain areas in great depth but it came across like a sales job.
In the end this book opens a reader to a personal journey in which Eldon Taylor offers examples from his own life and professional experience. He illustrates the choices we make, the illusions we live under and the consequences of both. You get a sense of his passion for exploring the mind and how that passion translated into a successful career. Choices and Illusions – How Did I Get Where I Am, and How Do I Get Where I Want to Be? gives the reader the potential to understand that change is possible if you tap into your masterful mind and to accept that your power really does lie within.
Choices and Illusions – How Did I Get Where I Am, and How Do I Get Where I Want to Be?
United States: Hay House, Inc. 2013