book review

The 6 Life Changing Books That Influenced My Life And May Influence Yours

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Knowledge is power. Self education is the key. These 2 soundbites are tossed around in every educational medium we encounter. Not to sound redundant, but IT’S TRUE.

From the 100 books I’ve read over the past 4 years on self development, these 6 have resonated significantly with me.
They have helped me identify and deal with my fears, build my self-awareness, taught me effective habits and how I could visualize and create a trajectory for the life I always wanted. Sounds compelling, right? So enough of this intro, let’s explore each one of them.
  1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
This book earns the ground-shaking title as the business bible. Napoleon Hill, a great business guru and a student to the great Dale Carnegie, composed one of the most compelling steps to acquiring riches through the notion of visualization and taking actionable steps to your desires and goals. It is truly a philosophical, psychological and immensely strategic book- I would highly recommend reading this book to any aspiring entrepreneur, business student, or wealth seeker.
Fav Quote:
When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”

2. Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain

Have you ever wanted something in your life so badly, that you ended up getting it? You placed all your intentions, desires to that specific thing and through considerable action it finally came true?
This book taught me how to start using visualization to create the outcomes that I wanted not just in one facet of my life, but in all. Gawain explores the importance of intention, affirmations and meditation to create the life that you’ve always wanted. It’s like your meddling with your subconscious. 
Fav Quote:
We always attract into our lives whatever we think about most, believe most strongly, expect on the deepest level, and imagine most vividly.
― Shakti GawainCreative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life
          3. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

If you want to become a master communicator, welcome aboard. This book is a classic; first published in 1936, it’s content remains evergreen. It’ll teach you how to deal with people in any given situation and how you can grow your friendships and relationships to heights you would have never dreamed of.As a individual that was terrible at communicating- this book has helped me grow my relations to thriving ones (aka helped me find mentors, build industry friends, and helped in my romantic relations.)

Fav Quote:
You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
― Dale CarnegieHow to Win Friends and Influence People
            4. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
The international best selling author, Elizabeth Gilbert, for, “Eat, Pray, Love,” wrote a breathtaking book about creative living beyond fear. The 3 major lessons I learned frok this book were…
1.Let your fears coexist with your passions.
2.Give yourself permission to create.
3.Keep your day job to fuel your creative affair.
Living a creative life beyond fear, is one of the most empowering experiences. Being creative and allowing yourself to make mistakes is what ultimately fuels innovation and allows one to make something wonderful in this world- aka magic.
Gilbert’s philosophy is truly a work of art- would recommend -10 out of 10.
Fav Quote:
“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”
― Elizabeth GilbertBig Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
          5. Rejection Proof: The 100 DAYS of Rejection by Jia Jiang
This book is an easy read and is highly entertaining. The author, Jia Jiang, had struggled considerably with his fear of social rejection. He decided to experiment with a psychological concept known as, “rejection therapy,” where he would purposefully embed odd behaviors around strangers to get rejected. A classic scenario would look like this, “Excuse me, could I borrow a hundred dollars?”
With time, he began to realize that the fear of rejection that we have rooted so firmly in our minds is a mere precaution given off by our ancestors; where in the past it played as a major survival mechanism. In today’s day and age, however, our fear of rejection stops us from living the most fulfilling life (especially when such a threat no longer exists).
This book ultimately inspired me to start my own practice of rejection therapy and it changed my life trajectory for the better.
Fav Quote:
Rejection is just an opinion, remember? It reflects them more than me, right?”
― Jia JiangRejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection
             6. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
This book is a game changer. Stephen Covey, the New York Times best selling author, comes to discuss the power that habits have over us and how one can embed effective habits into their life to create a more productive and happier you.
If you’re in the habit of severe procrastination- your dream business may never kick-start. If you’re highly reactive, your friendships and relationships may be suffering considerably (which means your mental health, suffers too). If you struggle with any of these (and believe me everyone does) I would highly recommend to read this book; where your ultimate goal would be to apply them thoroughly.
I have an entire video series on, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens,”- due check it out if you want to start learning now.

What You Didn’t Know About Self-Esteem…

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“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”

Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

Self-esteem is like a muscle. If you understand the mechanisms of growing and maintaining muscle tone, you’ll get results. Just like exercising, providing the proper proteins, and resting are crucial for muscle growth, there are 6 pillars or elements to developing a healthy self-esteem.

Before we can initially dive into these pillars, we first need to understand the fundamentals. The highlight being – what is self-esteem???

Self-esteem, in it’s full realization, is the experience that we are appropriate to life and to the requirements of life. In basic terms, you feel confident that you are worthy to be alive and feel capable to deal with any situation that life tosses at you.

To dive into a more technical realm however, psychology comes to explain self esteem as the composition of these two elements (both crucial to the existence of self-esteem).

  1. Self-Efficacy: confidence in our ability to think, confidence in our ability to cope with the basic challenges of life
  2. Self-Worth: Confidence in our right to be successful and happy, the feeling of being worthy, deserving, entitled to assert our needs and wants, achieve our values, and enjoy the fruits of our efforts

If that wasn’t revelational in it’s own right, what’s even more stunning is the fact that self esteem has an impact on every aspect of our existence; from the professional to the social to the personal dimensions of life. It’s how we operate in the workforce or at school, to how we deal with people, how high we’re likely to rise, how much we’re likely to achieve, to the personal aspect like who are we going to fall in love with, how do your relations look like and the list goes on.

Now that I’ve pinpointed how important self-esteem is let’s dive into the pillars.

The First Pillar: The Practice of Living Consciously

In virtually every great spiritual and philosophical tradition, there appears to be an idea that most humans walk through life sleepwalking. As a result, the epitome or spiritual goal would be to reach enlightenment (the phenomenon of waking up). This entails seeing the world completely as it is and accepting it accordingly.

As humans we have been provided with an extraordinary choice- that of seeking awareness or not bothering (or actively avoiding it), seeking truth or not bothering, focusing our mind or not bothering.

For example:

“I know I’m not giving my best at work (or school), but I don’t want to think about it.”

“I know I’m phoney and lie about my accomplishments, but…”

This is a perfect example of the diffusion to see reality as it is.

Self-esteem, in clarity, is the reputation we acquire with ourselves. To live consciously means to seek to be aware of everything that bears on our actions, purposes, values, and goals – to the very best of our ability.

The Second Pillar: The Practice of Self-Acceptance

This stage is incredibly crucial; in fact without self acceptance self esteem is impossible.

In order to thrive as an individual one must entail the idea of compassion to self; where one treats self as a friend (versus a foe).

Simply put, the act of self-acceptance is accepting one’s own feelings and thoughts; regardless of the liking. It does not mean we cannot imagine or wish for changes or improvements. It means experiencing, without denial or avoidance, that a fact is a fact. If you persist with this practice, by surrendering yourself to the reality of the situation, you may notice that a feeling of relaxation and a sense of true connection with the self.

The Third Pillar: The Practice of Self-Responsibility

To feel competent to live and be worthy of happiness, one needs to experience a sense of control over their existence. This requires that I am willing to take responsibility over my actions and the attainment of my goals. This means I take responsibility for my life and well-being.

Example: I like to blame my parents for how screwed up my habits and life is. If I were to take responsibility for my life; I’d have to stop blaming my parents and would have to go do something about it.

The Fourth Pillar: The Practice of Self-Assertiveness

This is the belief that one has a right to exist. How easy is it for you to say that statement without defiance or defensiveness? It’s not so easy, is it?

Self-assertiveness means honouring my wants, needs, and values and seeking appropriate forms of expression in reality.

To clarify, self assertion does not mean belligerence or inappropriate aggressiveness; it does not mean pushing to the front of the line or knocking other people over; it does not mean uploading my own rights while being blind or indifferent to everyone else’s. It simply means being able to stand up for myself, to be who I am openly, to treat myself with respect in all human encounters. It means the refusal to fake my person to be liked.

The Fifth Pillar: The Practice of Living Purposefully

To live without purpose is to live at the mercy of chance; the chance event, the chance phone call, the chance encounter- because we have no standard to judge what is or is not worth doing. Our orientation to life is reactive versus proactive. We are drifters.

Goals are what leads us forward – that energize our existence. Whether that’s the goal of studying, of raising a family, of earning a living, of starting a business, solving a scientific problem…

To live purposefully is to live productively, which is a necessity of making ourselves competent to life. Productivity is the act of translating our thoughts into reality, of setting our goals and working for their achievement, of bringing knowledge, goods, or services into existence.

The Sixth Pillar: The Practice of Personal Integrity

As we mature and develop our values and standards (or absorb them from others), the issue of personal integrity becomes of great importance to our personal assessment.

Integrity is the integration of ideals, convictions, standards, beliefs- to behaviour. When our behaviour is congruent with our professed values, when ideas and practice match, we have integrity.

When we behave in ways that conflict with our judgment of what is appropriate, we lose face in our own eyes. We respect ourselves less. If this becomes habitual we trust ourselves less or cease to trust ourselves at all.