John Assaraf’s Innercise Defines the Difference Between ‘Interested’ and ‘Committed’

 

John Assaraf’s Innercise Defines the Difference Between ‘Interested’ and ‘Committed’

by staff writer Victoria Davis

Brain blocks are a part of everyday life. It might come in the form of procrastination, where an assignment or project just seems too daunting to even begin. It could also look like depression, giving up on goals due to previous failures, or even the mere thought of failing. Whether it’s a physical, mental or emotional block, New York Times bestselling author and entrepreneur John Assaraf believes it can all be overcome with this question: “Are you ‘interested’ or are you ‘committed?’ This is the foundation of Assaraf’s latest book, Innercise: The New Science to Unlock Your Brain’s Hidden Power. 

Having started as a high school drop-out with patchy—and not entirely law abiding—minimum wage work experience, Assaraf says in the intro of his book that he had a “shallow” understanding of success. Even after receiving life-changing guidance from a successful business tycoon, building five multi-million-dollar companies and appearing on shows like Larry King and Ellen, Assaraf says this “life in the fast lane” cost him his health, his family and his sanity. What makes Innercise unique, is it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme or a book of brain games. It’s an honest and scientific approach about living life to the fullest. 

The book begins with a quote by Napoleon Hill, reading, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” This sets the tone for the rest of Assaraf’s work, constantly driving home the point that our brains are masterpieces of engineering at our ambition’s disposal. We can do whatever we set our minds to, using the same mind-over-matter exercises used by pro athletes, Navy SEALS, CEOs and astronauts. But there is another point Assaraf aims for audiences to understand—there must be a balance between “success” and “survival.” 

There are three parts to Assaraf’s book: “Know Thy Brain,” “Master Your Thoughts and Emotions” and “Master Your Behavior.” The first part of the book dives into the nooks and crannies of our brains, where thousands upon thousands of neurons are firing away to make the system function. We are “goal setting machines,” according to Assaraf, but our brain’s primary purpose is to ensure our survival, not our success. However, by using the tools our bodies were born with, there can be a balance between our health and our happiness. This, in turn, allows us to fully and sanely commit to our ambitions, rather than harboring a mere interest, only following through with what is convenient. 

Not only is Innercise a book that helps unlock the secrets to success but is refreshing in the way Assaraf illustrates how to thrive in business, relationships and personal health. Though it relies heavily on professional research, the chapters are not crowded with scientific jargon. Rather, it draws audiences in with common thoughts, feelings and emotions the average dreamer wrestles with. This not only makes the book easier to understand, but also makes it more relatable, helping readers to understand what it means to fully “commit” to the life you imagined for yourself.

Protogenesis

By Victoria Davis, staff writer & journalist

Bestselling author, Alysia Helming’s cultural fantasy novel is this generation’s The Silver Crown. While Helming has likened her book to other fantasies like that of Twilight, Protogenesis: Before the Beginning carries a more coming-of-age likeness to Robert C. O’Brien’s imaginative 1968 science fiction children’s story. Both tales begin with a mysterious fire which kills the parents of the protagonists, who (unbeknownst to these strong female leads) carry a strong, redeemer call on their destinies. Likewise, both stories center around a valuable object such as a silver crown or, in Protogenesis’ case, a sacred Cyprus tree medallion.

Though the parallels are strong between both highly successful novels, which were published nearly five decades apart, O’Brien’s much darker narrative is plagued with harsh truths of the real world and the corrupt use of technology, while Protogenesisis a book filled with immense color and light, centering around Greek myths and legends and also shedding light on a tainted government. This tale spirals the reader into rich swirls of mythological mystery, hope and romance while educating them on the stories that live and breathe in the hearts of Greek families around the world.

Coming-of-age stories can be tricky as most authors have to walk a fine line between their teen characters being relatable and, at the same time, not stereotypical or “cheesy.” Helming seems to have found that balance with 17-year-old Helen who carries all the characteristics of a bookworm girl awkward in love and yet continues to surprise in each chapter with her determination to find the other half of her soul: her mother, Diana. Though it is likely no coincidence, the name “Helen” is Greek for “Shining Light,” and the character is true to her title as she is an ever-present symbol for hope throughout the book and, ironically enough, seems to cause every significant object she encounters on her adventures to glow, like the cats-eye stone in her godfather’s apartment.

Tales of Greek mythology are interwoven perfectly throughout Helen’s journey, never taking readers fully out of reality, but still boldly captivating them with bursts of suspended, fantastical fantasies like Helen’s daydreams of lightning storms over desert sand dunes and larger-than-life mountain lions, gliding over shimmering volcanos. But not only does Protogenesisbreath life into these ancient stories of Greece, showing how real these legends are to the people, but also touches on the very tangible economic and social crises happening now in the nation state, such as organized crime and the vast financial struggle for the middle and lower classes.

Regardless of their differences and similarities, the hope for Protogenesis is that its message, like The Silver Crown, reverberates through the minds of readers for years to come. Perhaps it will be used as a tool to teach young adults about the complexities of Greek myths or the importance of experiencing other cultures. Whatever the future holds for Helming’s novel, it can be certain that this book serves as a much-needed escape from the current world of politics and social unrest to a world of heroic courage and magical mystery where the fairytales of our dreams kick down the doors of atrophied minds.

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