Syed Rabail Shah
People Don’t Do: a guide to developing mental strength ‘Thirteen Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do is a self-help book written by Amy Morin. Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and mental health trainer. In addition, Amy Morin has been a highly sought-after keynote speaker and columnist of highly prestigious bimonthly magazine: ‘Psychology Today’ –based in the US. Apart from this book, she has written two more books, namely ‘Thirteen things mentally strong parents don’t do’ and ‘Thirteen things mentally strong women dont do’. Furthermore, her TEDx talk, titled The Secrets Of Becoming Mentally Strong, remains one of the widely viewed videos with 14 million views, as of this month. Thirteen things mentally strong people don’t do is a book about increasing mental strength. It comprises thirteen chapters, each one dedicated to a habit that mentally strong people do not fall prey to. Additionally, it contains an introduction, an article on mental strength and a fair conclusion. The writer has included stories from people who have had therapies with her. In the introduction part, the writer describes her own mental condition when her mother passed away as well as her husband three years later. She relates that how their deaths traumatized her and made it difficult for her to lead a normal life. However, with the course of time and help of some friends, she writes, she became able to carry on without her loved ones and settled again after coming across a person, whom she subsequently married. In regard to mental health she writes “I’s not that people are either mentally strong or mentally weak. We all possess some degree of mental strength, but there always a room for improvement.” She says that there are several factors that determine the pace of developing our mental strength. In particular, genetics, personality and experience play a prominent role. Genes play a role in whether or not we may be more prone to mental health issues, such as mood disorders. Further, she goes on, some people have personality traits that help them think more realistically and behave more positively by nature. While describing the role of experience she writes that our life experiences influence our way of thinking about ourselves and other people at large. In the book, the authoress has made efforts remove some misconceptions about mental strength. She says that being mentally strong does not mean that you have to be completely self-reliant. That you need help from someone else, does not render you weak. It suggests that one should be resourceful, for being resourceful adds to one mental strength. She has elaborated on these things with real stories from the people she has met throughout her professional career and had provided some tips at the end of each chapter under the headings ‘Whathelpful and What not helpful’. People who suffered from these habits consequently gave up them after joining her sessions. She has touch upon each topic with greater insight and experience. She has tried to trace the root cause of the problems and analysed the factors responsible for falling prey to such habits. While describing the benefits of mental strength she writes “ A job loss, a natural disaster, an illness in the family or a death of a loved one is sometimes inevitable. When you are mentally strong , you will be more prepared to deal with lifechallenges.” No one is immune to the events described above. Hence, I think, with increased mental strength, one will be more prepared to deal with such complications and setbacks of life effectively. With this book, I believe, one is sure to increase one mental strength and live an effective and successful life. As the blurb of the book reads, through her years of counselling others and her own experiences of personal loss, Amy rightly realized that it is often the bad habits which we cannot break hold us back from true success and happiness. In order to ensure our success, we all need to break these habits as soon as possible. Therefore, I would love to recommend it to everyone interested in achieving success, satisfaction and happiness in life. Moreover, I believe this book will make for a fascinating reading because of the stories of people based on first-hand experience.