Amy Eliza Wong makes what for many people is incomprehensible comprehensible. Embarrassingly so. She asks the simple but essential questions, then from those questions articulates big, beautiful, and wholly knowledgeable ruminations, meditations, even answers. She knows when to leave interpretation up to the reader, then when to reverse and hold your hand if appropriate. It’s never a bait-and-switch, and that in and of itself is something to be commended.
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But to focus solely on that would do a disservice to the entirety of the read that is Ms. Wong’s Living on Purpose: Five Deliberate Choices to Realize Fulfillment and Joy. “You might not be a fast-paced tech executive, and you might not have had to compete with your cousin for your mom’s attention, but regardless of your current circumstances and past experiences, developing and surviving inner opposition is a reality all of us face,” Wong writes with respect to bumps along the road. “…there is absolutely no blame to impart here on anyone…each of us is hardwired to connect and seek belonging—and we’re doing the best we can, inner opposition and all, in every moment. In our young years, we’re navigating life with an undeveloped ability to make sense of all the complexity and nuance that make up our relationships and life situations, while instinctively avoiding rejection like the plague.
Put those facts together and it’s inevitable that we form an inner opposition as we try to make sense of our reality and avoid rejection.” True to aforementioned form, she later elaborates: “To break free of the tangled web—the false paradigm we construct for our safety and ultimately get trapped in—we need to get clear about the lived effects of inner opposition. We need to see with clear eyes the reality our inner opposition VR headset generates. To do this, we have to identify all the survival mechanisms we’ve developed as a way of hiding our core false belief. It’s worth doing the work because this false belief and all the fear it’s based on is the food that keeps our inner opposition alive and operational.”
Wong’s descriptors match the vividness of the read. She has a knack for evoking neat, metaphorical imagery that really sticks in your head. There’s never a sense of things being ambiguous or hard to decipher narratively. She continues this throughout Living on Purpose – making the read never have any lack of (technical) tension, or slack. It’s pretty interesting, as you have to admire objectively the multiple pistons firing here. As a reading experience, it’s sound not just because of ideology, but because of consistent presentational value. It makes passages like the following ring that much more clearly, and that much more true. “As with every state of being, the quality and experience of that state depends upon the relationship we have with ourselves.
The writer Anais Nin is noted for saying ‘We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are’,” Wong writes. “Confidence is a state of being that arises from a knowing of our completeness, where we feel naturally capable of engaging with a given person, situation, or circumstance. When we’re rooted in truth, we feel energized, calm, present, and infinitely resourced. This is power. And it leads to truly empowering conversations and positive impact that lasts.”