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10 Books to Read If You Are Looking For Your Purpose

10 Books to Read If You Are Looking For Your Purpose

Are you feeling unsatisfied or meaningless lately?  Do you feel there is something you are supposed to be doing, but you just can’t quite figure it out?  The books below are filled with stories to inspire you and spark the idea you’ve been searching for.  If your schedule is too full to fit in another thing, you don’t have to, just load them up on audio and listen during your commute to work, in the shower, or while folding laundry.

1. Big Magic

By Elizabeth Gilbert

You’ll be able to really enjoy this latest book by Elizabeth Gilbert if you feel you’ve hit a road block in your path to express yourself. Whether you are feeling bitter that the world hasn’t rewarded your creativity or you feel trapped in mundane tasks with no room for self-expression, the author will motivate you with inspiration and creativity promoted by her years of thinking about and observing them in herself and others. It enchantingly draws in all readers and reassures that there is truly enough room, reason and value for us all to create.  Since you are contemplating this list, you are already on the right path to open the floodgates of your unique expression.

2. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

By Jenny Lawson

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Known by her fans first as “The Bloggess,” Jenny tells her life story in this, her first novel.  It will have you laughing out loud at the truth. It’s so good you know she can’t make up the tales she shares.  Her sense of humor shines through as an anchor in her anxiety prone waters.  Her stories include her uniquely eccentric father, her job as a snow cone creator, a human resources worker, and a Texan.  Full of charm, awe and creativity she literally wrote the book about how to handle life when it seems to be throwing lemons, or in her case, raccoon carcass puppets, at you.

3. It’s Hard Not to Hate You

By Valerie Frankel

Valerie’s years spent trying to accept herself, put on a smile when she felt bad, and generally ‘flip her egg to sunny side up’ get turned on their head when she decides to own her actual feelings. This is packed full of dry wit and humor with deep golden insights about accepting all your emotions and making them work for you.  Some of her chapters titles include, Hate Your Way To Happiness, Why I Have No Friends Part I and II and I Hate Your Kids.  If books like The Secret were not your thing, check this out for a different kind of understanding.

4. F*ck Feelings

By Michael Bennett MD & Sarah Bennett

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This is also definitely not your mama’s self-help book. It was written by a father/daughter pair, he’s a psychiatrist, she’s a comedian. It is packed with advice from years of the Dr.’s work with patients in psychiatry in the lingo of a straight talking comedian. You’ll especially want to read this if you are dealing with chronic negative habits. The book will guide you about how to set standards to live by, regardless of your feelings.

5. Tuesdays with Morrie

By Mitch Abloom

This is a classic and warms your heart whether you are reading it for the first time or again, with a few more years of perspective. It is one of those timeless volumes that offers a dose of insight, touchingly delivered in a quick read. Like the main character in the book, you will have no choice but to expand your consciousness while listening to a mentor and his student navigating life and appreciating those who guide us.

6. Year of Yes

By Shonda Rhimes

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For Shonda Rhimes it is clear that telling a story is her thing.  She has been the Queen of Thursday night television, with hits like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, for some time.  This novel tells the other side of her life, the personal side, which is just as interesting as the tales she weaves!  The look at her personal life, including struggles to live both in and out of the basic life script we all have written in our heads, leaves you feeling very connected. The glimpse at her genius fills you with hope and motivation.

7. Breakfast with Buddha

By Roland Merullo

The is the story of an unlikely pair of men that take a road trip and toy with life’s big questions. The author enjoys his life and yet has an empty feeling that creeps up on him often.  The writing is a perfect blend of humor and wit, with just enough suspense and wisdom to help you get back on track. While it is fiction, you will find the characters so charming and believable you’ll be googling them on-line, just to be sure.  While this is not a heavy read, it does provoke a wide range of emotions.  You will defiantly laugh out loud, possibly tear up, and definitely reflect on the true meaning of life as this book evokes a feeling that you are discussing your world view with a wise teacher.

8. Uganda Be Kidding Me

By Chelsea Handler

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Chelsea’s style is definitely crude and unconcerned about political correctness, or correctness in general.  This is one of her many books and has a highly relatable base line theme of travel between friends as a show of support and adventure after some romantic relationship struggles, yet it is handled Chelsea style which is one few of us could relate to or ever pull off.  She will make you laugh, of course, but she will also inspire you to be true to yourself.

9. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

By Jen Hat maker

Is your material stuff or the daily scramble up the ladder getting you down? If you are feeling overwhelmed by the literal stuff of life, this book will offer you a plan to find a solution.  While the author’s scale of commitment to clearing her life of clutter (in multiple arenas) is admirable you could easily try a smaller scale mutiny to test the waters of this idea yourself.  Sometimes a little rebellion will shake up your perspective enough to get you back on track.  This book will make you consider possibilities and be worth the read.

10. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

By Tom Angleberger

If you are thinking that you’d like to actively look for and remind yourself of purpose, why not share a read with your favorite children.  Beyond an entertaining read for all ages, this is a heartwarming reminder about staying open to positive possibility and accepting the gifts you have to offer, even if you sometimes aren’t sure what they are.  In the cadence of the wise paper Jedi, “Master this also you shall.”   If you go the audio route for this book, you’ll have a cast of characters that create added depth, and on paper you’d get a graphic novel with great teen type sketches.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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