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Book Review: The Mountain is You by Brianna Wiest

“What you believe about your life is what you will make true about your life.”

The Mountain is You is a book about self-sabotage, exploring the reasons behind it, the circumstances in which it occurs, and effective strategies for putting an end to this self-destructive behavior once and for all. 

Self-sabotage often arises from the coexistence of conflicting needs within us, leading us to resist change even when it seems futile. However, by gaining valuable insights from our most harmful habits, enhancing our emotional intelligence by gaining a deeper understanding of our minds and bodies, releasing past traumas on a cellular level, and learning to embody our highest potential future selves, we can remove the obstacles we've created for ourselves and unlock our true potential.

Historically, mountains have served as a powerful metaphor for the formidable challenges we encounter, especially those that initially appear insurmountable. The book suggests the biggest mountain to our fulfillment and a life of pursuing true potential lies without ourselves. We are almost always our own worst enemies. 

To conquer these metaphorical mountains in our lives, we must engage in profound inner work, addressing past traumas, building resilience, and altering our approach to tackling these challenges. Ultimately, it's not the mountain itself that we conquer but rather our own internal limitations and obstacles.

“Your mountain requires you to reconcile two parts of you, the conscious and the unconscious, the part of you that is aware of what you want and the part of you that is not aware of why you are still holding yourself back.” 

Here are some key insights from the book. I hope you’ll enjoy the review as I enjoyed reading the book. 


Self-sabotage is a complex and often subconscious pattern of behavior where individuals undermine their own goals, success, or well-being. It can manifest in various aspects of life, including relationships, career, health, and personal development. Understanding self-sabotage is essential for personal growth and overcoming obstacles that hinder progress. 

Here are some of the main signs that you are probably in a cycle of self-sabotage- 

  • Change, even when it leads to positive outcomes, can trigger fear and resistance. Self-sabotage can be a defense mechanism to maintain the status quo, even if it's undesirable because it's familiar.

“Your new life is going to cost you your old one. It’s going to cost you your comfort zone and your sense of direction. It’s going to cost you being liked and understood. You’re going to build a new comfort zone around the things that actually move you forward. Instead of being liked, you’re going to be loved. Instead of being understood, you’re going to be seen. All you’re going to lose is what was built for a person you no longer are.”

  • The pursuit of perfection can lead to self-sabotage. When individuals set unrealistically high standards for themselves, they may procrastinate, avoid taking risks, or become immobilized by the fear of not meeting these standards.

“Don’t worry about doing it, just do it.”

  • A harsh inner critic can contribute to self-sabotage. Constant self-criticism can erode self-esteem and create a self-fulfilling prophecy where individuals believe they will fail, leading to behaviors that ensure failure.

“To have a mountain in front of you does not mean you are fundamentally broken in some way. Everything in nature is imperfect, and it is because of that imperfection that growth is possible. The fact that you are imperfect is not a sign that you have failed; it is a sign that you are human, and more importantly, it is a sign that you still have more potential within you.”

  • Overthinking and dwelling on past mistakes or perceived shortcomings can lead to paralysis and self-sabotage. This habit of rumination prevents individuals from taking action and moving forward.

“Being successful can make you less liked. Finding love can make you more vulnerable. Making yourself less attractive can guard you. Playing small allows you to avoid scrutiny. Procrastinating puts you back in a place of comfort. 

All the ways in which you are self-sabotaging are actually ways that you are feeding a need you probably do not even realize you have. Overcoming it is not only a matter of learning to understand yourself better, but realizing that your problems are not problems, they are symptoms.” 

Building emotional intelligence 

Self-sabotaging is ultimately just a product of low emotional intelligence. Here emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, interpret, and respond to your emotions in an enlightened and healthy way. 

Emotional intelligence begins with self-awareness. It involves recognizing and understanding your own emotions, including their triggers and impact on your thoughts, behaviors, and actions. Self-awareness allows you to identify patterns of behavior, such as self-sabotage, and take steps to change them. 

“Self-sabotage is a way of protecting ourselves from the pain of failure, but it also prevents us from experiencing the joy of success. It’s a defense mechanism that keeps us stuck in our comfort zones, even when those zones are no longer serving us. The problem with self-sabotage is that it’s often unconscious. We don’t realize we’re doing it until it’s too late. We make excuses, procrastinate, and avoid taking action because we’re afraid of what might happen if we try and fail. But the truth is that failure is not the end of the world. It’s an opportunity to learn and grow.”  

Releasing the past 

Throughout our lives, we will routinely go through a process of self-reinvention. 

The past is an intricate tapestry of experiences, memories, and emotions that shape our present and influence our future. While the past can be a source of valuable lessons and cherished moments, it can also become a burden when it holds us hostage, preventing us from moving forward, and limiting our personal growth.

The past can weigh us down in various ways. It might manifest as unresolved trauma, regret over past decisions, lingering grudges, or even an attachment to the identity we've formed based on our past experiences. These emotional anchors can be incredibly heavy, preventing us from fully embracing the present and the possibilities that lie ahead.

“It is very hard to show up as the person you want to be when you are surrounded by an environment that makes you feel like a person you aren’t.”

Releasing the past is not an easy or instantaneous process, but it is profoundly liberating. When you let go of the weight of past regrets and grievances, you create space for personal growth, new opportunities, and a more joyful existence. You become free to design your future without the limitations of past burdens, and you can truly live in the present moment.

Building a new future 

Life is an ever-unfolding journey, and while the past has shaped who you are today, the future is where you have the power to create the life you truly desire. Building a new future is an exhilarating and empowering endeavor that allows you to design a path to fulfillment, purpose, and happiness. 

“Many people say that you have to love yourself first before you can love others, but really, if you learn to love others, you will learn to love yourself.”

Here's how you can embark on this transformative journey- 

  • Clarify your vision: Before you can build a new future, you need a clear vision of what that future looks like. Take some time for introspection and reflection. What are your deepest desires, passions, and values? What kind of life do you envision for yourself? Be specific in defining your goals and aspirations.
  • Set smart goals: Once you have a vision in mind, break it down into actionable and achievable goals. Utilize the SMART criteria-  Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Smart goals give you a roadmap to follow, making your journey more manageable and less overwhelming.
  • Cultivate resilience: Building a new future often involves stepping out of your comfort zone and facing challenges. Cultivating resilience is crucial to navigating setbacks and adversity. Remember that setbacks are not failures but opportunities for growth. 
  • Create a plan: A well-structured plan is the foundation of your new future. Break down your goals into smaller steps and create a timeline for achieving them. Consider seeking advice or mentorship from those who have walked a similar path.
  • Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself throughout your journey. Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same empathy and understanding you would offer a friend. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small, and forgive yourself for any setbacks.
  • Embrace change: Building a new future often requires embracing change, which can be both exciting and intimidating. Understand that change is a natural part of personal growth and adaptability. Embrace it as an opportunity for positive transformation.

Building a new future is a dynamic and deeply rewarding process. It's about taking charge of your life, setting your own course, and continually evolving into the person you want to become. 

Self-sabotage to self-mastery

Moving from self-sabotage to self-mastery sounds like an extraordinary transformation, when in reality it is the natural course of coming to understand that you were responsible for holding your life back, and so you are also capable of moving it forward. The journey involves self-discovery, growth, and empowerment. By cultivating self-awareness, practicing self-compassion, setting clear goals, and continuously working on your personal development, you can break free from self-sabotaging patterns and unlock your full potential. 

Overall, The Mountain Is You serves as a powerful awakening, offering a useful guide to navigating life's challenges. It encourages you to challenge the preconceived notions you've held about yourself, as you tap into your inner hero and purposefully craft a fresh story, thereby forging a life that resonates with your deepest aspirations and rightful desires. Brianna presents a blend of practical strategies and profound inner transformations, providing the strength and insights to rediscover your authentic self. 

Ayrin Saleha Ria works at Future Startup as a full-time Research Associate. She has a background in Applied Sociology. Before joining the FS team, she worked and volunteered with a number of social organizations. As someone who comes from a social science background, she takes a deep interest in research around important social-economic challenges in our society. A voracious reader, Ayrin is passionate about working for the betterment of society, takes a deep interest in human society and behavioral science, and loves books.

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