A motivational book that offers tools to tackle the challenges that life throws our way – both big and small – using the life lessons and skills we knew as a child. With over 120 lessons ranging from holding your tongue – literally – when angry to making time to play with your friends, Swing High will help you to tackle the challenges of daily life, face your fears and feel confident in yourself. The author combines famous quotes from international thought leaders with his own inspirational lessons, and highlights ways we can integrate these ideas into our lives.
Anthony Gunn is a psychologist specialising in treating fears and phobias. He regularly speaks to sporting and social clubs, schools and professional institutions about fear and how to deal with it. He has previously published Fear is Power, Raising Confident Happy Children and Walk Tall, and recently completed a PhD on social anxiety treatments for people who stutter. He lives in Sydney with his family.
Swing High: Life Lessons From Childhood
Hardie Grant Books
Author: Anthony Gunn
Question: What inspired you to write Swing High: Life Lessons From Childhood?
Anthony Gunn: I have studied as a psychologist for many years to know how to teach people to face challenges in life. Yet I watched my 2 young children face different challenges, and they were using the same strategies, if not better, than what I'd learned. That's when I had to question what I knew, put my pride in my pocket, and simply watch and learn from my kids. It was a humbling experience.
Question: What types of challenges does Swing High help readers with?
Anthony Gunn: Stepping out of everyday comfort zones such as learning to say no, how to deal with procrastination, how to control emotions such as fear and anger, and spotting possible signs that people are not being totally honest. However, regardless of the challenge, probably the greatest tool for success is understanding how the f word, FUN, is the key to our brains learning a new task quickly. This is something that children have mastered, which is one reason why they learn so well.
Question: What are your top tips for tackling our fears?
Anthony Gunn: Face a fear in the same way you'd teach a child how to swim. There are 3 options, but I recommend the last:
(1) If you try confronting your fear head-on, such as throwing the child in the deep end of the pool to teach them to swim, then it's likely you'll make the fear worse.
(2) You can avoid the fear altogether by making sure the child never goes near a pool, though this will severely limit the child's life.
(3) Finally, you can face the fear in gradual steps by having the child sit on the edge of the pool. Once mastered have them stand in the shallow end, and then gradually move toward the deep end, but always going at the child's pace.
Question: Why was it important that you incorporated inspiring quotes in the book?
Anthony Gunn: I don't think I'm alone in saying that inspiring quotes have a positive and motivating impact. It's always amazed me how one single sentence that is both wise and well written can have a life changing effect. The inspiring quote that will have the greatest impact will vary depending on where a person is at in their life. However, I guarantee you'll know it when you read it because the feeling is up there with eating chocolate.
Question: Who did you write Swing High: Life Lessons From Childhood for?
Anthony Gunn: I wrote it for the busy person who may not necessarily have time or the motivation to sit down and read a self-help book from cover to cover, but still feel they want to achieve more in life. Swing High is designed so a person can open to any page and hopefully take something away that will help them get past that point in their life where they feel stuck.
Interview by Brooke Hunter