Building a life that is rich, fulfilling and fun – Joe Oliver on “ACTivate Your Life”

rulebookJoe Oliver, co-author of ACTivate Your Life, was recently interviewed on the Open Forwards podcast. The interview was hosted by Jim Lucas (founder and managing director of Open Forwards, a consultancy based in Birmingham, UK).

In the interview Joe talks about what attracted him to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as a model: the empirical development, an international community of like-minded people, and the usefulness of the ACT skills in his own life:

…the thing that stood out to me is , it was in the word acceptance which is a really unusual word, it is catchy, it is provocative  and it is hard to grapple with. The thing that unfolds for me is was this peace. It was kind of like, offering this suggestion maybe that the struggle wasn’t always necessary. And that was just a revolutionary idea for me personally. And perhaps noticing the times of my life where I was struggling against stuff, I was fighting things. Just a suggestion maybe that there is another way to approach this  stuff, It was really fascinating.

In the interview Joe outlines how the skills of being open, aware and active may help when we get stuck in life’s problems.

In ACTivate Your Life we describe how these skills are already present… but may be underused, as we get caught up in our mind’s messages and struggles.

Joe also describes the process of how we tackled writing the book, with the goal of creating an accessible ACT self-help guide.

Working as a trio to develop our ideas and find a consistent style was an important part of the process:

Joe:  It is not only important to have the right ideas but have a way to tell these ideas in a consistent voice. It is important to kind of get across as well. For example Eric and myself, we come from kind of an academic background, writing academic papers. We might come out as a little dry and dusty. For example Jon [Hill: our co-author], he has done tons of writing. He is definitely a wordsmith, he is I think the world’s…as far as I know only video game poet, which gives you an indication of his writing abilities. Bring that all together, different styles, getting a consistent voice was important,

Jim Lucas:  It is a good measure of a book where you can’t tell the writers apart through the chapters, because the writing style is so similar.

Of course, we also made sure that the book had great illustrations, and references to zombies, disaster movies, and Frank Zappa (!).

I encourage you to listen to the podcast, it is a fun conversation, and available here.

Thanks to Jim Lucas and Open Forwards for this great interview!

If you’d like to check out the first chapter of ACTivate Your Life, it is available here.

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