The Unicorn In You: A Path to Peace and Joy by Joshua Kramer Genre: Nonfiction, Self-Help, Personal Growth & Control
To be light, you first have to be solid…
Have you ever tried to find peace and joy by simply being? Or do you take a different path, instead wandering down the frustrating road of always doing?
Our pursuit of meaningful personal growth can be elusive and difficult to sustain. We search for an approach that feels natural and organic, but our success is often short lived. What if we had a foundation of values that removed this weight of expectation and emphasized a strong basis for living?
In The Unicorn in You, Joshua Kramer identifies a sensible path to peace and joy based on the fundamental principles of kindness, gratitude, integrity, humility, and acceptance. He outlines practical, actionable steps for reconnecting with these universal qualities and demonstrates how our potential extends beyond what most of us envision in our daily lives. The Unicorn in You is an inspirational guide and powerful reminder to step out of your head, build a foundation for being, and take the path less traveled to unlock a more peaceful, joyful life.
“When we sit in judgment of others, we hold on to negative emotions that are decidedly unhelpful. Condemning others, feeling angry, sad, or bitter toward them, doesn’t add anything constructive or positive to your life. So if you’re aiming for joy, you might as well let these judgments go.
The next time you look at someone, let go of the need to make any assumptions about their worth, value, or qualities. Resist the urge to respond with pessimism or negativity about them. How do you do this? As the saying goes, “Before you judge a person, walk a mile in their shoes.” Instead of making assumptions, try to understand what it would be like if you were in their place—if you’d had their experiences, feelings, struggles, and circumstances.
We all have the natural capacity to do this because we all have a sense of imagination. As a mental exercise, simply imagine changing places with other people. Think through their circumstances and try to imagine what it would feel like to experience them. Instead of taking another person’s behavior at face value, be curious about what might be going on in their life and how those factors might contribute to that behavior.
The catch is that we can never truly know what happens behind anyone’s closed doors. We never know what other people have gone through, or how they have gotten to the point in life where they’re at now. But we can learn to give people the benefit of the doubt by imagining what it would be like to switch places with them.
It might be easier to feel pessimistic toward others, but assuming the worst contributes nothing useful or productive to our lives. It certainly won’t get you closer to real, lasting peace and joy. As the famous Greek philosopher Plato avowedly said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
Joshua Kramer is the creator of The Unicorn in You, a personal growth and development perspective that emphasizes five key principles as the foundation for peace and joy.
As a lifelong student of numerous self-help practices, he arrived at his simplified approach after struggling to identify a method that was less mechanical and unnatural, and more instinctual and organic.
He is the Managing Partner of Kramer Chandler, a real estate business founded in 1922, and an active member of YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization). When not pursuing his passion for travel, he can be found more locally around town walking his beloved Havanese, Buddy.
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
My professional journey has been very similar to my personal journey – somewhat of a winding road in which I’ve learned a lot and been very fortunate. I first became interested in self-help while studying in Washington, DC, and then for a short time in London.
My interest started from a place of need and self-preservation, as a result of some difficult periods in which I experienced bouts of sadness and depression. I felt a sense of hope in learning about different tools to help deal with the anxieties and worries I was struggling to overcome. We’re all the product of our experiences, though I’m not sure that I could have written The Unicorn in You as effectively at any other time in my life.
More recently, I became motivated to write The Unicorn in You around the onset of the pandemic. I had been close to experiencing a significant breakthrough in my wellness, and when the world was upended, I felt a keen sense of personal responsibility to make the most of that time and reflect on how to appreciate all that life had to offer.
For me, this meant digging deep and understanding what truly mattered most, and distilling those findings into practical wisdom for living and finding peace and joy. I felt I had something important and unique to say and the way I crafted this book is in the spirit of warm, calming guide.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I like to say that if my book helps just one person, it will have been a worthwhile project. To be sure, it has helped me personally, which makes it so much more of a personal perspective.
The feedback I have received thus far has been very humbling, as the ideas I share seem to have resonance regardless of where the reader is on their personal journey. It’s because of this response that I am inspired to speak further on my viewpoint in an effort to reach more people who are seeking a sensible, practical path to peace and joy.
While I always believed that the principles I outline are universal in their application, I have been pleasantly surprised to receive interest from the business community to speak to employees about how they can be useful in a work environment. As someone who has been in business for nearly twenty-five years, I always felt that the message in The Unicorn in You transcended any distinction between the personal and professional. I hope that readers find a timeless quality, through the stories, fables, and quotes.
To that end, I’m enjoying speaking through various media outlets.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I loved discovering how the principles I identified shared a common thread of selflessness. It was by digging into each of them individually that I found how they connected so seamlessly.
As a result, I came to my most important breakthrough, that the perspective I developed was indeed an “Unself” Help approach. On one hand, the fact that it recognized a foundation for being rather than doing, the takeaway did not feel like a process at all. And of course, the de-emphasis on self is what ultimately created the path to peace and joy.
For someone like myself who has studied more typical Self-Help methodologies, the realization of this unique positioning was quite powerful and on a personal level, the breakthrough I had long sought.
How did you come up with the title of the book?
Several months before I began this project, I was at my nephew’s soccer game in Miami. When I arrived, I spotted his sister – my four-year old niece – playing off to the side of the field. As I reflect now, I can see her so clearly basking unselfconsciously in that grassy area, so free and light.
When I caught her eye, she came running to me, leaping to give me a hug. I immediately noticed these colorful sneakers she had on, which I incorrectly complimented as rainbows. When she showed me that they were unicorns, something about the vibrant colors in combination with her joyful demeanor struck me as incredibly powerful and peaceful. I wished I could feel the way she appeared.
I recalled this memory later as I considered that inspiring symbol which evokes a certain sense of peace. As a title, The Unicorn in You calls to mind that feeling of awe and wonder and serves as a reminder of our greater potential. It was a natural call to action to encourage readers to build a foundation as they discovered the unicorn – or that special being – in themselves.
Who designed your book covers?
I worked with Lauren Smith, who is a wonderful and talented designer. When we began, I had a particular vision which she helped clarify ultimately execute.
The idea was to capture the colorful vitality of the unicorn without clearly defining it. Lauren did such a beautiful job distilling the essence and spirit of this and created an eye-caching, inviting cover that was intended to match the warmth of the message behind the book.
I’ve been told by some that the collection of icons and images remind them of a kaleidoscope, a word which is derived from the Greek word, beautiful. Certainly, Lauren made this possible and I’m grateful to her.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers? The Unicorn in You is unique because, unlike many self-help books, it doesn’t tell you what to do. This approach is more of an ‘unself-help’ book, and there is very little process to it. Instead, it’s a set of principles that are universal, but can be understood and applied differently to each individual so that they have a distinct impact.
The subtitle, “A Path to Peace and Joy,” is also intentional. By saying it’s a path, rather than the path, the reader recognizes there are a multitude of ways to get there. Ideally, people coming to this space will feel led rather than pushed, and I think the content will resonate much more effectively.
I also feel strongly that this type of book creates sense of community, and it’s with that idea in mind that I look forward to connecting with readers to hear their feedback and listen to their ideas as well.
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