I have been reading various books, searching for advice on how to make the most of my upcoming retirement. One gets into a routine, working five days a week – forty nine weeks of the year – for decades . Building a new routine that will keep my mind sharp, my body healthy and my emotions upbeat, in an unstructured environment, is going to take some effort.

A few days ago I started reading “The Alter Ego” by Todd Herman. The first few chapters were a bit difficult to get into. This book seemed a little clinical and academic to me and probably not what I was looking for, as motivation goes. I was also fairly dubious that Mr. Herman was going to get me to a place where I could believe I had this alter ego, super hero, in me. To be honest, I am not there yet – or to the point in the book where Mr. Herman explains how to find or create one’s own super hero.

I have however gotten to the chapter where Mr. Herman explains how to deal with negative inner dialogue. That is an issue I have struggled with for years. “I am not smart enough – strong enough – graceful enough” “what if I fail – what if, what if, what if “. I have read enough self help books to know this type of inner dialogue is not helpful. Knowing that and ridding myself of it, has been another story. But Mr. Herman offered a unique approach.

Mr. Herman identifies this negative inner dialogue as coming from ‘the enemy within’. He explains how giving this enemy a name, a personality and a physical appearance, gives you the power to vanquish it. This was an ‘aha’ moment for me. Out of the blue, I thought “Elmo, F…. off”. I’m not the type to be crude, so that was rather shocking and I have no idea why Elmo, but it worked. All of the ‘not enough’s and ‘what if’s’ vanished and I am hopeful that if, or when, they return I will have the power to silence them.

Obviously, I am going to finish this book and maybe I will even find my alter ego. Honestly I am happy just enjoying my newfound confidence and peace of mind with Elmo and his chatter gone.

If you are trying to get a handle on a situation in your life, I would recommend this book – “The Alter Ego” by Todd Herman. Actually, I would recommend Elmo, too. He’s always been a favourite with my children (when they were children) and their children.


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