Book Review by Taylor Berrett
Every day, our lives are filled with conversations. These conversations define our lives, from the interactions we have with strangers to the connections we share with our closest friends, loved ones, and family members. But the person we actually talk to the most, every hour of every day, is ourselves. While we may not speak to ourselves out loud (at least, not all the time), we’re constantly interacting with the internal monologue that dashes through our head at a fast-paced clip. It shouldn’t be surprising that the things we tell ourselves through our thoughts will eventually come to define who we are and how we see ourselves and the world around us.
Jon Acuff is a motivational speaker and bestselling author, as well as a brand storytelling expert who’s worked with the likes of Home Depot, Bose, Staples, and Dave Ramsey. His books have covered everything from the art of starting over to the art of quitting. His most recent book, Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking, tackles a widespread problem— the way our interior monologue can derail our personal and career progress.
More Than a Harmless Flaw
While many of us see overthinking as nothing more than an irritating personality trait, Acuff says that it’s actually a dangerous form of fear that can take hold of our lives and steal away our time, creativity, and eventually our goals. It costs us productivity, keeps us from reaching our goals, and becomes a drain on our relationships in both our personal lives and our careers. Every year, overthinking costs companies millions of dollars in lost profits.
In a study conducted by Acuff, 10,000 people were asked if they struggled with overthinking. The result? Over 99% of them replied, “Yes.”
So if the danger of overthinking is so clear, then what are the benefits of controlling our thoughts and reigning in our overthinking?
Creating Your Personal Soundtrack
According to Acuff, the solution is adjusting our ‘soundtrack’— the thoughts we allow into our heads that serve as the background music to our life. By doing that, we’ll be able to make our thoughts our best friends that can propel us towards our goals. As Acuff says: “If you can worry, you can wonder. If you can doubt, you can dominate. If you can spin, you can soar.”
Basically, the solution to overthinking isn’t to stop thinking altogether— it’s to turn our thoughts into the types of thoughts that will help us rather than hurt us. Acuff makes this point in an inspiring way, even if he’s not breaking much new ground or offering scientifically backed insights. More a motivational tool than a deep dive into the science of thought, Soundtracks is still a worthwhile read for anyone who wants to make their internal monologue work for them, rather than against them.
Taylor Berrett is a Contributing Writer at Soundview. He is also a freelance writer, editor, and host of the podcast Alone in a Room. His other book reviews can be found here.