[July 1, 2021] I’ve been reading my notes from 2003 to 2005 on my first combat tour in the Iraq War. Mostly these five notebooks are filled with to-do lists, but they also have poignant messages to me about what I saw and what I thought and felt. Despite this, I am humble enough to know that those experiences pale beside others who fought in World War II or similar wars. The common foot soldier faced the Nazi or Japanese threat, knowing that their life could very quickly end at any moment. It was real. Today, I’ll be reviewing a book by a Holocaust survivor and her 12 lessons. It’s not a book so much about the horrors she witnessed but about how to save your own life. Below, I list a summary of them, but her book goes into what it takes to implement her guide to saving your own life.
The Gift: 12 Lessons to Save Your Life, Edith Eger, 2020.
Dr. Edith Eger is a strong woman. I can tell by reading the book; otherwise, how could she have survived the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Others have written about her describing how her emotional strength gave them the motivation to pull themselves up to be better people and get out of the dangerous cycle of victimhood. Dr. Eger answered her own question of “Why me?” Her answer deserves the full quote:
“Perhaps I survived so I can choose what to do with what happened and how to be here now. So I can show others how to choose life, so my parents and all the innocents didn’t die in vain. So I can turn all the lessons I learned in hell into a gift I offer you now: the opportunity to decide what kind of life you want to have, to discover the untapped potential lying in the shadows, to reveal and reclaim who you really are.”
For someone like me or anyone else alive today, it would be impossible to imagine the tragedy and sorrow that Dr. Eger experienced as a young teenager. She watched her parents sent to their deaths, forced to dance before Josef Mengele, and endured abuse at the hands of the Nazi guards. Thus, I was particularly taken by the chapter titled “The Nazi in You.” Dr. Jordan Peterson speaks about this as well. Interestingly, both Dr. Eger and Peterson are clinical psychologists.
Here are a few of her lessons to save our life:
- Our worse experiences can be our best teachers.
- It’s not what happens to us that matters most; it’s what we do with our experiences.
- The most damaging prison is in our minds, and the key is in our pockets.
- Suffering is universal; victimhood is optional.
- What comes out of you doesn’t make you sick; what stays in there does.
- You can’t heal what you don’t feel.
- When is enough, enough?
- May you be more and more you every day.
- Time doesn’t heal. It’s what you do with the time.
- Love isn’t what you feel. It’s what you do.
- We’re all victims of victims. How far back do you want to go, searching for the source? It’s better to start with yourself.
- We’re born to love. We learn to hate. It’s up to us what we reach for.
This book is highly recommended.
To go to the complete Professional Reading list, click on this direct link: www.theleadermaker.com/reading-list/
Side Note: Please remember and take a look at Tom Copeland’s reading blog. His website, which I highly recommend, can be found here: https://militaryreadinglists.com/map