From the Introduction
This is a book about outgrowing your problems. Let us be clear at the outset that I cannot promise to make your problems go away. No one can. Life brings to all of us problems as well as successes, despair as well as joy. The Apostle Paul wrote that he had learned to adapt himself to every kind of circumstance, even being in jail. And the Buddha pointed out the inevitability of loss, sickness, aging, and death in human existence. Life cannot be an uninterrupted high. So if there are bound to be occasional lows it seems sensible to have a strategy for taking them in stride.
The same goes for shyness or chronic pain or tension or lethargy or any disability. If life has brought you such a problem (or even if you have created the problem yourself) you need to know how to take charge of it so that you can make the very best of what life allows. Anyone who promises more arouses my doubts about his or her ability to deliver.
The ideas behind this book have been around for hundreds of years. They are basically Buddhist, but don't let that fact mislead you. They are no more religious ideas than the concepts of psychoanalysis or the power of positive thinking or the principles of the American Constitution. They are simply the summed-up experiences of a lot of people over the years. They make good common sense. Some eighty years ago a Japanese psychiatrist named Morita pulled together some of these ideas to turn his own life and the lives of many of his patients into demonstrations of the constructive possibilities that lie within us all. His methods are still practiced in Japan today. I have translated Morita's thought into terms understandable to Westerners and have added a notion of my own here and there, but the essence remains unchanged. The principles are as applicable to you and me as they were to the Japanese of Morita's day and the Japanese today. We are, after all, humans. And human suffering is human suffering wherever it encountered.