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14 Books That You Should Read When You Feel Lost In Life

14 Books That You Should Read When You Feel Lost In Life

Life is full of ups and downs. Hopefully, at this point someone has explained that to you. You aren’t always going to get what you want. Life is not going to play out the way you plan it, or expect it to, every single time. Sometimes you are going to feel lost.

Even though it is obvious that obstacles and adversity are going to rear their seemingly ugly heads from time to time, it can still be challenging for you to face them. Perhaps they appear insurmountable and you just aren’t sure how to overcome them. Situations like this often leave people feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and lost. While it is not an enjoyable experience, there is always an exit strategy. Actually, in most cases there are multiple ways to dig yourself out of the funk you are stuck in.

I have found myself lost in more than one instance in my life. When I was younger, I would turn to my family and friends when I had the unenviable feeling of being lost. Usually, their advice would be enough to help me through the problems I was dealing with. As I grew older and became more independent, the advice from loved ones wasn’t enough. While my family and friends have offered me invaluable guidance through some troubling occurrences, it has been beneficial for me to engage in supplemental reading as well.

I have been fortunate enough to read some extremely influential novels over the past few years. It is important to understand that if you are feeling lost and lonely in life the onus of responsibility falls on you first. You need to seek knowledge that is going to benefit you. Then you must fully soak your soul into this knowledge. I know the following books will help you just as much as they helped me.

1. The Art of Happiness, Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler

Get it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0743506308?tag=s7621-20

Written in 1998, this book is essentially an interview in which Howard Cutler asks questions to the Dalai Lama. Cutler is a psychiatrist aiming to understand what the purpose of life is according to the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama in turn describes what he believes the purpose of life is: it is being happy. Most importantly though, he opines that this happiness doesn’t come from any other source than yourself.

It was very powerful to gain this comprehension of happiness because I always assumed someone or something was supposed to make me happy. The book also details the techniques and tools you can utilize in order to implement a more happy existence.

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    2. Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill, Matthieu Ricard

    Get it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0316167258?tag=s7621-20

    Written by a French Buddhist monk who also happens to be a doctor in molecular genetics, Dr. Ricard beautifully describes ways in which happiness can be manifested. He argues that happiness doesn’t just occur by chance or luck. Being consistently happy takes lots of practice. Just like any other skill, happiness requires lots of dedication and loads of persistence.

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      3. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, Eckhart Tolle

      Get it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1577314808?tag=s7621-20

      The present moment is the only moment you have control of at any time in your life. In this book, Echkart Tolle portrays the importance of being present despite the mind’s desire to be anywhere but now. There is a natural reluctance for people to completely realize the power the present moment has.

      The books is formatted with real-life questions posed to Tolle, as well as his in-depth responses. Many of the questions raised have to do with the mind and why living in the present is such a challenge for many people. Tolle does a great job of weeding through the clutter that the mind can create, thoroughly detailing how each person has the ability to enjoy the present moment. This ability will lead to a much more fulfilling and meaningful life. Sometimes the simplest idea, such as living in the now, can lead to the most powerful results.

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        4. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

        Get it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0061122416?tag=s7621-20

        Coelho uses a fictional story to portray the underlying theme of this book. You have the power to create your own destiny. Only you have the capacity to create the kind of life you want for yourself. A popular quote from this book is, “When you really want something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that your wish comes true.” Obviously, you are required to work and dedicate yourself to achieving your goals, but the overall motif of this story is quite persuasive.

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          5. The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive, Brendan Burchard

          Get it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1451667531?tag=s7621-20

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          I am a big Brendan Burchard fan so it was a no-brainer for me to purchase his book in the summer of 2014. It is an easy read that outlines simple action steps for infusing more spark into your life. It is easy to get stuck in a rut where you feel like a robot just taking care of the next menial task on your list. The good news is: your life doesn’t have to feel that way. This book is a great motivator for relocating your path in life.

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            6. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book), Don Miguel Ruiz

            Get it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1878424319?tag=s7621-20

            Learn about four basic agreements that you can make every day that will change your life. These agreements are simple, and they will transform the way you live your life. They make you rethink all the previous agreements you have made with yourself.

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              7. The Mastery of Love: A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship (A Toltec Wisdom Book), Don Miguel Ruiz

              Get it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1878424424?tag=s7621-20

              Learning to love others is extremely difficult if you don’t first learn how to love yourself. This book will help your relationships improve and become more meaningful. If you take the time to strengthen your relationships you will have a tougher time feeling lost and isolated.

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                8. Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse

                Get it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0553208845?tag=s7621-20

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                This is a classic novel about self-discovery. It accounts one man’s spiritual journey to enlightenment. Although many of the themes of this book are Buddhist in nature, the message is universal and very powerful for anyone who is trying to find themselves.

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                  9. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou

                  Get it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0345514408?tag=s7621-20

                  Learn about Miss Angelou’s coming-of-age story. She was lost and experienced much heartache at a young age. This book teaches you a lot about perseverance and overcoming adversity.

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                    10. Be Quick, But Don’t Hurry: Finding Success in the Teachings of a Lifetime, Andrew Hill and John Wooden

                    Get it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0743213882?tag=s7621-20

                    Mr. Wooden is considered to be one of the greatest teachers of his generation. In this book he shares his simple wisdom and how it translated to all areas of his life, not merely as a coach on the basketball court. His former players offer their insight on how his teachings built a foundation of success for them to carry with them throughout their lives.

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                      11. Sacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior, Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehanty

                      Get it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1401308813?tag=s7621-20

                      Often considered one of the greatest coaches of his generation, Phil Jackson is a spiritual teacher first and a basketball coach second. Whether or not you are a basketball fan, this book offers exceptional value for anyone who is trying to live more mindfully and skillfully.

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                        12. The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch

                        Get it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1401391443?tag=s7621-20

                        Randy Pausch was a Carnegie Mellon professor who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Before he died, he shared his last lecture with the public. In this book, he imparted the wisdom he accumulated because he knew it was the last chance for him to do so. His lecture focuses on striving for his childhood dreams, and how that lead him through his life.

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                          13. The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery (A Toltec Wisdom Book), Don Miguel Ruiz and Don Jose Ruiz

                          Get it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1878424610?tag=s7621-20

                          This book focuses on another agreement that will help you master your own personal obstacles. Adhering to this agreement will help you become a master of your mind, as well as your soul.

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                            14. Take Responsibility For Your Life, Mike Oppland

                            Get it here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Take-Responsibility-For-Your-Life-ebook/dp/B00Y2SJYGW

                            This is a short ebook that I wrote about taking responsibility for the events that transpire in your life. The book concentrates on ten action steps and situations in your life that you need to take responsibility for in order to feel completely fulfilled. I peppered the book with many personal anecdotes. I was someone who was lost and unable to take full responsibility for how my life was going. It is once I took responsibility that I began experiencing more contentment. Learn from my experiences and Take Responsibility for yourself.

                            Featured photo credit: PicJumbo via picjumbo.com

                            More by this author

                            Mike Oppland

                            Mike is the Creator of Carpe Diem Motivation. He aspires to inspire individuals who are seeking a little extra boost in their lives.

                            5 Reasons to Live in the Moment and Stop Planning Too Much 9 Simple Cardio/Core Exercises You Can Do At Home 14 Books That You Should Read When You Feel Lost In Life 10 Reasons You Should Meditate Every Day 7 Reasons Why Athletes are Dependable Employees

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                            Last Updated on January 15, 2021

                            7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                            7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                            The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

                            Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

                            Posture

                            First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

                            • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
                            • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
                            • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
                            • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

                            All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

                            Facial Expressions

                            Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

                            • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
                            • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
                            • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

                            If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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                            1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

                            A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

                            The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

                            This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

                            2. Relax Your Face

                            New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

                            The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

                            To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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                            3. Improve Your Eye Contact

                            Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

                            The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

                            To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

                            3. Smile More

                            There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

                            Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

                            4. Hand Gestures

                            Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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                            It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

                            5. Enhance Your Handshake

                            In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

                            “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

                            It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

                            6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

                            As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

                            Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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                            Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

                            Final Takeaways

                            Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

                            If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

                            More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

                            Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

                            Reference

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