The Art of Trapology Or A Bedtime Story for Thriving And Happy Adults

By Kathy Gottberg

Most books I read are fact-filled nonfiction. It doesn’t matter how many I’ve read before, anything written that shares thoughts on how to create a happy and thriving life grab my interest. But even better is when I can find those same ideas in a business-parable-type book. One such book, Trap Tales—Outsmarting The 7 Hidden Obstacles to Success delivers as an entertaining and inspiring business book told in story form.

Ever play chess? According to authors David M.R. Covey and Stephan M. Mardyks, the sign of a good chess playeris the ability to avoid the traps of the game. Likewise, anyone who can spot a “life” trap before it trips you up can learn to avoid them. Once you become practiced at seeing how they block your way, you can redirect your actions in a positive and fulfilling way. The message behind this enjoyable story is how a man named Alex discovers the seven common traps that capture most of us and keep us from living our best life possible.

Making the book even more interesting was the fact that nearly every chapter would make a great blog post here on SMART Living 365. It’s tempting to give you all seven of the traps but what makes this such a fun read is letting the story unfold and seeing how they play out in Alex’s life. So rather than list the traps, here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book that sound as though they came right out of the SMART Living playbook. Even more fun is that nearly every one of these comes from the “wise elder” in the book. A woman named Victoria teaches Alex that:

  • “The core message of the Traps Framework is hope—the belief that humans can change the trajectory of their lives through wise choices and course correction. This hope is essential.”
  • “Most traps cause short-term-itis, the thinking that the pleasure we get now is worth the pain we’ll experience later.”
  • “Changing our behavior patterns is very difficult. Some people would rather die than change…. a study looked at people with severe heart diseases who had undergone bypass surgery—and just two years after the operation 90 percent of them had not changed their lifestyle.”
  • “We get caught up in the acquisition of stuff. This mindset pervades the world we live in. We start believing that the purpose of money is to acquire, so we acquire a lot of unnecessary stuff.”
  • “You can’t go back and change the past. It’s done. But you can course-correct as you go forward.”
  • “Money can be your tool or your taskmaster. When people are deeply in debt, money becomes their master; their choices are limited, their options are reduced, they find themselves living in bondage. When people allow money to work for them through the power of compound interest, their money is multiplied and unleashed. It gives them leverage.”
  • “In reality, Alex, trivial matters end up getting most of our attention, because truly important pursuits require us to be proactive. The things that matter most often require action, to step outside our normal routine and create space in our schedule so that we can focus. Otherwise, we become overwhelmed by the minutiae of everyday life and other people’s agendas.”
  • “I think you’ll find that—as important as it is to create your daily or weekly to-do-list—it is equally important to create your not-to-do-list.”
  • “The money we receive from our work is important, but it shouldn’t ever become the main reason for working.”
  • “You’ll find in life that there are two forces at play that move a person to change: the force of conscience or the force of circumstance. Either we act on what we know we need to change, or we are compelled to act by the reality of our circumstances.”
  • “I call procrastination the killer of growth and transformation.”
  • “Fighting change is a self-preservation instinct. If we successfully avoid change, we successfully manage our baggage and protect what we know, or our way of life…Even when people know they need to change, they look for all kinds of rationalizations to delay those changes until eventually their circumstances force them to do so.”
  • “In life we have two choices: either we act on things or we let things act on us.”
  • “Anytime you are trying to make drastic changes—like what you are currently doing, Alex—you need to start creating in your mind the new story, while at the same time silencing the old story that is ingrained in your head.”
  • “Rejoice and celebrate the effort, the journey, and the process as much as in the end result. Mistakes are instructive. Learn from them instead of hiding from them.”
  • “The epiphany…comes through realizing that true happiness does not come from possessions. It comes from serving others and making meaningful contributions that benefit other people long after we are gone. It is living with the realization that bondage is not in owning things but in having things literally own you…”
  • “Success is defined in our society as if it were a competition, or a race to accumulate the best and the most.
  • “Nobody on their deathbed ever wishes they had accumulated more stuff. What they talk about are the relationships, experiences, connections, and contributions they made.”

Can you guess what some of the traps are? Probably. And if you’re feeling trapped by anything in your life right now, or like me, find yourself occasionally being caught up in actions, behaviors or thinking that sometimes catch you by surprise, then you will likely find this book helpful. Even those of us who have read and studied many of these ideas should benefit from this short and entertaining tale.

Becoming a “certified trapologist” in the field of trapology is made easier when we have the guidebook. But like most SMART Living perspectives, it does require our time and attention. Fortunately, the journey can be rewarding and fun as long as we continue to read the right bedtime stories along the way.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for this review.  However, my opinion and thoughts about it are completely my own.