This post is a detailed book summary of The Mountain Is You, a self-help masterpiece written by Brianna Wiest.
Abandoning ventures halfway has been a running trend in my life so far.
I’ve tried learning the guitar, writing fiction, and picking up stock trading. I’d make good initial progress, but lose interest after a few weeks.
Each time, it would be somebody else’s fault — be it the government, the economy, or my corporate job. The one thing I never suspected was my own self.
Reading self-help books this past year was a tremendous help. It made me realize that change comes from within. To attain success, I’d have to master myself first.
Brianna Wiest’s Mountain is You was particularly interesting.
A book about defeating self-sabotage and turning it into self-actualization, it teaches you ways of attaining success through self-mastery.
The author compares all your past experiences — your wins, losses, mistakes and trauma — to a mountain.
As the sum of your life experiences, this mountain represents your core identity. It’s also the obstacle you need to overcome to achieve the life you desire and deserve.
In this 5-minute summary, I’m going to dissect four key takeaways that will let you realize your full potential.
Intuition vs. Intrusive Thoughts
The first part of our The Mountain Is You summary is the difference between intuition and intrusive thought.
Your brain is a pattern-matching machine. When you face any stimulus, it looks for similar past experiences. You begin remembering old analysis and conclusions.
This is how gut feelings arise: as a result of your subconscious digging up the past. We call this intuition in formal literature.
Along with the logical reasoning, you’ll also remember the associated emotions. Now these feelings come from your past self, when you were younger, weaker and more naïve. It’s possible you had doubts and misgivings back then.
When these negative emotions come bubbling up, they intrude upon your present. Your past self resurrects itself to hinder the current you.
That’s why it’s important to know how to tell intuition and intrusive thoughts apart.
- An intuition is a piece of cold logic. It is an approximate, instant answer to the problem at hand.
- An intrusive thought is basically a self-sabotaging thought triggered by fear. It can be about anything and it can pop up at any time. It makes you overthink, and it can kill your motivation. Unchecked, it can derail your current endeavor.
To tell the difference, you need to feel your thoughts.
Intuition brings motivation. It makes you curious and prone to action. On the flip side, intrusive thoughts make your emotions spiral out of control. It creates apprehension and self-doubt.
Give yourself a breather when this happens. Focus on the problem, and stop worrying about failure. Let your gut work with your rationale to solve the problem.
This is how you use intuition to get success.
Recommended read: Who Moved My Cheese: Book Summary
Never Be Content With the Status-Quo
Humans are creatures of habit.
Familiarity brings comfort, which becomes the justification for us to not change a thing with our lifestyle.
For example, think of the workaholic that can’t find a date because of her busy schedule.
This person doesn’t want to waste her life as a lonely corporate-cog. But she keeps falling into the vicious cycle of working too much and avoiding dating.
For me, the comfort of my couch prevents me from going to the gym. I’m sure you have a similar story too.
Seeking comfort evolved as a survival trait in humanity’s hunter-gatherer days. It was necessary in the past, but today, it often hinders our growth. It saddles people with bad habits that never yield results.
To break free, you need to realize that all your past habits belonged to your older self. You don’t need those old coping mechanisms to support your newer, better identity.
Never be content with the status-quo.
Seek new opportunities, challenge yourself, and reap the rewards of upskilling yourself.
Set Clear Goals
Another reason why people fail is because they don’t know what they want in life.
Most of us go through our lives with vague goals like “I want to be rich” or “I want to lose weight”.
In the short run, indefinite targets will let you take easy steps like buying a few stocks, or joining a gym.
It’s great for pushing you towards taking the first step forward. But to achieve anything real, you need long-term commitment. And vagueness is nowhere near enough to keep you fighting for any span of time.
You need to set clear, definite goals to realize your full potential. This will simplify decision-making for you.
Let’s go back to the previous examples to contextualize this.
Someone that wants to be rich can start with minimizing expenses. This is an easily actionable desire that will help them resist the urge to splurge, and save money.
You should also back your target by a burning desire to get what you want. That clears the way for your subconscious to take over. It will align your core identity to fit the goal. Your behavioral patterns will adapt, and you’ll begin taking steps towards your target.
The human subconscious is a powerful entity. Clear goal-setting allows one to turn it into a potent tool for success.
Stop Fighting Symptoms, Treat the Disease
Humans never evolved to handle the stresses of modern life.
Today, one needs to think about inflation, politics, pollution and a hundred complicated factors. Though none of this is under anyone’s direct control, we worry about them all the same. It makes us jaded and prone to aggression.
That unaddressed stress affects all aspects of your life.
- In personal life, we often lash out at loved ones after a hectic day. It sours relationships and escalates problems.
- In a professional setting, stress lowers your performance. It keeps you from progressing.
You can fight these negative predilections by opening up to people.
Talk to them, find out why they are unhappy. Offer company and empathy. And while you’re at it, try to come up with a solution together. This will let you address real issues and strengthen your bond.
Remember: only when you help others can you help yourself. After all, humans are social animals.
Oftentimes, a person becomes their own biggest enemy in life. Past failures and misconceptions trigger self-doubt. And they end up sabotaging themselves.
Thought discipline is the best counter to this tendency. You need to train your subconscious to master yourself. This will let you master the world.
Our summary of The Mountain Is You reminds you of several actionable tips to this end:
- Use your intuition to solve problems. At the same time, fend off your intrusive thoughts.
- Don’t be afraid of change. When you overturn the status-quo, new opportunities open up.
- Have a clear idea of what you want in life. This will motivate you to put in effective and focused efforts.
- Talk to people without judgement. This will strengthen your bonds.
I hope this summary will be helpful for you. Do let me know your favorite tip from The Mountain Is You summary.