I love books that provoke me to think, and Your Personal Truth was certainly one of them.
Also, I consider myself an expert on the self-discovery subject; I even wrote a book about it. Yet, I still learned a ton from reading Your Personal Truth and found the questions and exercises recommended by the author extremely helpful and insightful. This is a very good book.
But it’s not without some CONS, and traditionally, I’ll start from them.
1. Truth Is Simple and Easy.
The book starts from a few chapters full of the philosophical ruminations about truth and how we perceive it.
I found them confusing. They made me feel uneasy about the author’s intentions. Seriously, if not for the fact I read some books of Issac Robledo before, I would have stopped right there and never finished the book. But I pushed through, and I enjoyed the rest of the book much more.
The uneasy part was how the author repeated that truth is elusive, almost impossible to define, prone to interpretation from different points of views, etc. It smelled like relativism from a mile away. I felt at my gut level it wasn’t true (pun intended). And I was right. The truth is very easy to define. The dictionary definition says it is:
that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.
Truth is reality. Is it difficult to determine if the fire is hot or water wet? Nope. Reality is very easy to verify.
What Issac had in mind was exactly the interpretation of reality, which happens in the human mind. That’s what he refers to as Your Personal Truth. I think the more apt name for the book and the concept would be “your personal belief system.” I call it, after Jim Rohn, a personal philosophy.
Beliefs are very elusive. Mostly because we are so hopeless at detecting and dissecting them. Self-discovery is almost a forgotten art in the Western culture. We tend to accept our beliefs as THE reality, and we don’t question our personal philosophy at all.
For the author’s defense, he admits in those initial chapters he wants readers to explore the concept of truth on their own instead of providing easily digestible definitions.
Yet, toward the end of the book I found this quote, his own words:
“Truth is what is there. Falseness is what is not.”
I think the book could benefit a lot from separating at the very start the question of truth in general and our personal beliefs, which often distort reality (and truth).
2. Rambling and Repetitive.
Issac’s writing style doesn’t suit me well. As much as I’m a fan of repetitions (“Repetition is the mother of learning.”), too much is too much. Some things require to be told just once. And it’s tiring for a reader to go through the multitude of words when just a few would do.
This caused me to speed read through the book to get to the next talking point. I read Your Personal Truth very quickly, and I’m pretty sure I missed a lot of good stuff because of the speed.
This may be as much a benefit as a CON. My impression from the whole lecture was that this is half the philosophical treatise and half the self-discovery workbook. This is a very unusual composition.
This book, like any philosophical treaty, should have been read slowly. You need to absorb what the author tried to say, and you need to figure out your own position in this discourse. I missed quite a lot of this aspect of the book speed reading through it.
Would it have been better if it was just a philosophical work? I don’t think so. Do the self-help parts get into the way? Nope, I found them very helpful. Should the book be a typical self-help how to? Absolutely not. It would make it shallow.
So, I don’t even know what I’m nitpicking about. 😀
As I said, Your Personal Truth is an excellent book. The CONS are real (at least in my mind), but the PROS are as real, more numerous and bigger. Let’s go over them.
1. It Made Me Think.
Issac explores the subject of self-discovery from many different angles, and some of them I never thought about. Other points he articulated so aptly that I found myself nodding vigorously.
Here comes a few of the “thinking points”:
Our truths provide meaning.”
It is my belief system, not circumstances, which dictates for me what my purpose is. Some people will experience hardships and abuse, and they will resolve to fight those hardships and abuse in the lives of others to help them raise above those experiences. Others will shape beliefs that life is unfair, the world is a wild, cruel place and will only protect themselves, often for the price of hurting others.
On the personal level, it means that if I don’t follow through with doing something good, there is probably some underlying belief I need to detect and dismantle.
But as humans, we can test our truths. Testing them will not kill us, even if it may feel unpleasant.”
This is right on spot. According to my knowledge, we are the only creatures who can test our personal philosophy, our ‘operating system.’ Yes, it’s very unsettling. My whole ego is based on my belief system. My sanity is based on it. If I challenge too many ‘personal truths,’ who would I become?
On the other hand, what is worth a belief system that holds me sad, depressed, and apathetic for the most of my life? Such personal philosophy cries out loud for testing and changing.
Also, Robledo provided some advice to test my beliefs, which has never crossed my mind:
The second way to test your truth is to assume that you are right and push yourself to live by that truth more fully.”
There are some beliefs, which I fully tested in my life, and that’s why they are the pillars of my personal philosophy. But there are others into which I didn’t put enough resolve. I haven’t tried to live them more fully, so even though I intellectually know they are good, my heart is not there (yet?).
I’ll surely pick some of those and test them.
The only way to know everything about yourself would be to have had every possible experience, which of course, is not possible.”
I cannot ever know myself fully. This is one of the very few impossible things in the universe. The author is so right! The only way to know absolutely everything about myself would be to have every possible experience. Which makes another thought even more impactful:
Don’t be overconfident — there is always more to discover about yourself.”
I fell into this trap. I spend insane amounts of time (comparing to modern standards) on self-discovery. I journal, track my behaviors and activities, and self-reflect for about an hour a day.
I convinced myself that I already know myself. I bought my own lie. I got overconfident.
But there are still many instances when my own emotions and actions puzzle me to no end. Procrastination over important work. Steering away from cultivating relationships. Activating mindless entertainment when I should work. And so on.
Thanks to the author, I can become humble about self-discovery and avoid overconfidence. I can fully embrace the fact that I’ll never know myself to the fullest. I can make it my personal truth.
2. It Is Personal.
This is what I always love in self-publishing done the right way. What I hate are bland traditionally-published books toned down to the political correctness level. Your Personal Truth is not such a book.
Issac shares plenty of personal stories, some of them truly vulnerable, to illustrate his points. Despite his wordy manner of writing, those stories emphasize the lessons and make them memorable.
3. The Most Valuable Part.
Or rather “parts.” Each chapter ends with a handful of insightful questions and exercises to uncover your beliefs, test them, or double down on them.
This is the part of the book which makes it a workbook. This is the reason you should go back to Your Personal Truth many times after you read it.
Those questions and exercises are so good that I’ll refer readers of my own self-discovery books to Your Personal Truth as the additional resource.
I’m extremely lazy when it goes to updating my old books. Yet, I will go over the hurdle and update a couple of them to include Your Personal Truth in the “Recommended Readings” section. This is how great of a self-discovery book it is.
4. Awesome quotes.
I highlighted six pages of notes from this book! To make a comparison, I have about four pages from “Who Not How” written by Benjamin Hardy, who is a heck of a writer.
Here are some snippets of fragments which were eye-opening or aptly articulating something I already knew.
We can easily find 100 books on virtually any topic, with a bit of research. But there is no book about you.”
While there is very little space for “self” in self-help, self-discovery is a solo act. Your friends or mentors can help, but if you don’t do the heavy lifting, no external resources will do you much good.
The first step toward growth is always to become aware that a problem exists.”
That’s why I’m a big proponent of self-awareness practices. Yet, I never before connected growth with awareness of problems. This is so obvious! If you can’t notice a problem, complacency immediately sets in. And where complacency rules, there is no reason for me to seek growth.
When we don’t know who we are, money is a powerful motivator.”
Of course it is. Money is a universal means of exchange. It contains in itself everything and anything — time, respect, love, recognition, security and everything between. Or rather, money substitutes for all those things. But they are NOT them, so chasing after money will bring you emptiness.
When you figure out Your Personal Truth, you free up brain space to pay more attention to the people around you, and you see what they are going through.”
That has been my experience. When I wasn’t clear about my own mission, values and purpose, I was preoccupied with myself. But when I started pursuing my dreams, I got out of the social shell I created around me. I made many new friendships and connections, and I got more empathetic.
When someone pokes holes in your truth, it feels like they are poking holes in your spirit.”
This is so well said! You most likely noticed this on others — people defend their point of view with fanatic zeal, even if they are totally wrong and you can support the opposite point of few with facts and data. Just look around and recognize how each debate became a political debate. Black Lives Matter. Wearing masks. COVID vaccination. The list is endless.
Poking holes in my spirit? That HURTS! No wonder people react to challenging opinions like hurt animals.
This is just a sample from those pages of highlights. Your Personal Truth is truly thought-provoking.
I ruminated with myself if I should give Your Personal Truth four or five stars. In the end, I decided to go for four. The CONS of the book are real; however, I think the PROS outweigh them by a huge margin. My main motivation with this rating is to give the book some love. People usually skim over the 5-star reviews and are looking for ‘the holes in the spirit.’
I hope they will be drawn to this review and appreciate how good Your Personal Truth is. I recommend it for everyone seriously interested in self-discovery.