Book Review: 17 Lies That Are Holding You Back And The Truth That Will Set You Free

by Ron Haynes

Steve Chandler has written a powerful motivational book, 17 Lies That Are Holding You Back and the Truth That Will Set You Free. This is a book that I personally found to be life-changing and it’s power lies in how it changes your perspective on what words I speak to myself. The book’s main purpose is to skewer the societal and personal lies that “hold people back.” What might be holding YOU back? The lies you tell yourself. All through the book, Chandler uses personal and anecdotal evidences to explaining the subtle life-denying power of these lies.

When we were growing up, we had so many dreams and ambitions. Those dreams pulled us forward into making decisions. But for some of us, those dreams never get fulfilled and those decisions never get made because of the lies we tell ourselves.

Every lie we tell ourselves is based on fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the fresh and the beautiful. Fear of that daring plunge into unknown beauty. Fear of uncertainty. Fear of being courageous, evolving, and creative. Fear of risking being a total fool. Fear of taking a stand for greatness.

Those fears inspire lies. The lies give us an easier, softer way to go every time. They remove us from daring action and huge commitments, from inventing a future in the face of total uncertainty.

Chandler says that there are “white lies” we tell others to spare their feelings. There are public lies told by public figures. There are lies that we tell to make ourselves look better or get out of work.

Then there are lies to our souls. Those are the lies that we tell ourselves to convince us we have no power. Chandler says that we always have power. There is ALWAYS some positive action we can take.

Here are the lies and the truths about them:

  1. It’s who you know – it’s really how you use who you know and the actions you take.
  2. There’s something wrong with me – failing AT something doesn’t mean YOU’RE a failure.
  3. I’m too old for that – there’s no time like the present!
  4. I can’t because I’m afraid – courage is revealed in action.
  5. I’d love to do that, but I don’t have the time – there’s always time to do what’s important to you.
  6. There’s nothing I can do – there’s always something I can do.
  7. I worry because I care – stop worrying and take action!
  8. I’m sadder now, but wiser – happiness comes from wisdom, not sadness.
  9. The longer I have a habit, the harder it is to break – you can break any habit you WANT to break.
  10. People really upset me – you allow people to upset you.
  11. Winning the lottery would solve everything – money only magnifies problems, it doesn’t solve them.
  12. They’re too beautiful for this world – will is the way to nirvana, laziness is the way of death.
  13. You hurt my self esteem – self esteem comes from action, not other people.
  14. It’s a shame we didn’t catch that on video – focus on the present and the future, not the past.
  15. That’s just the way I am – you can change anytime you want.
  16. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger – don’t drug your soul.
  17. I am helpless – you are powerful, powerful enough to seize the day and make it the way you want.

Some readers might discount a few of these lies as not being applicable to them, or just plain not true. But if you’re willing to accept the challenge, you will discover, as I did, that your own mind has accepted some of these lies.

The overweight person might disagree when Chandler knocks Lie #9 (“The longer I have a habit, the harder it is to break.”) off its pedestal. They might point to medical evidence that “proves” the addictive nature of food (or cigarettes, or alcohol, or drugs). Satisfied that they have proven him wrong, they may not feel motivated to simply decide not to pick up the next greasy burger. But the truth is, you can break any habit you want when you decide to break it. The real question is: do you want, really, really want to break it? Are you willing to change those aspects of your life necessary to break it?

Chandler says that many people subconsciously or unwittingly are lying to themselves. The lies, regardless of which one it is, share a common denominator: they are crutches that simply make people’s lives easier, or really just easier to live. The real question is why do we want an easy life when self-esteem, joy, fun, vibrancy, fullness of life and inner strength often come from doing what is difficult? Could it be simple laziness? Chandler is a motivator and by definition, an optimist. His writing is honest, direct and often very personal. But don’t worry, Chandler is not a judgmental or harsh author as he gently skewers these popular excuses and crutches.

17 Lies That Are Holding You Back & the Truth That Will Set You Free, is a quick read with only 237 pages, but the book is full of life-changing insights that will give the motivated and unmotivated alike food for thought. I found myself arguing with Chandler at every turn, but because his insights are so well-reasoned, I found myself coming around to his way of thinking before the end of each chapter.

Buy or don’t buy?

This is a book that every person needs to read. I wholeheartedly recommend the book, especially for those who are graduating and about to embark on a life of new friends, new work, and new opportunities. They probably haven’t ingrained the lies too deeply into their souls and there is still a pliability to their natures that will allow them to pursue those dreams and opportunities.

If you liked this review, you’ll love the book.

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 988 articles on The Wisdom Journal.

The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.