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How To Have A Holiday To Any Exotic Destination Even If You Can’t Afford It

How To Have A Holiday To Any Exotic Destination Even If You Can’t Afford It

The warm breeze awakes you. It tastes like salt. Ah, the beautiful smell of the ocean. You open your eyes as you yawn and stretch. It feels so good. The first thing you see is the mesmerizing turquoise waters all around your cozy bungalow. White drapes dance in the warm wind, huge pillows and comfy sofas surround you. There’s also your own private pool inside the bungalow and a net around it for you to sunbathe on.

holiday of your dreams

    Ah, the Maldives. You could live here forever.

    A nasty mosquito lands on your face and starts poking you. Darn, is it possible this little pest is here in this paradise just to harass you? You try to kill it, and accidentally slap yourself in the face.

    Bang!

    Suddenly, you’re at home, lying in your bed. There is no bungalow, no ocean, only your room. It was that dream again! It’s summer, and you’ll spend it like you always do – at home. You can’t afford some fancy holiday. Still, how awesome would it be if you could get yourself a plane ticket to Maldives, and book an amazing bungalow in the turquoise sea for 20 days? That would be the life of your dreams.

    Do you have these dreams when summer starts? Do you fantasize about some exotic destination, where you’ll have the best holiday of your life, but you return to reality with a slap to your face?

    Life doesn’t have to be that unfair.

    Here at LifeHack, we’re committed to making your life better, as well as making you a better person, helping you achieve your goals and live a happy, fulfilling life. Don’t you agree that you deserve to go to Maldives [or insert name of any other exotic location here] and enjoy it like you’ve never enjoyed anything before?

    Of course, you do.

    Here’s the thing: we all do. We all deserve to live the best possible lives we can, and nobody should stop us from getting what we want. Unfortunately, some of us are more lucky to be born wealthier than others. These people can enjoy life without making a significant effort, while others have to make it happen.

    That’s why we’re here today. I’m here to tell you it is possible.

    You only have to decide on a firm plan, and then stick to it. It doesn’t have to be complicated either. It could be a simple, three-step program that will make a dream of fantastic holiday anywhere in the world a reality. When you execute this plan to the point, everything is reachable.

    Bora Bora? New Zealand? Hawaii? Maldives? They’re all achievable.

    Here’s how to do it.

    Step 1: Make a Rock-Solid Decision

    holiday of your dreams - make a decision

      To reach something you dream about, you have to be honest and determined. You don’t have the budget for these destinations, but this doesn’t mean you can’t accumulate it. The important thing is to make a decision. This decision will be your guideline and your driving force in the months to come.

      Trust me, you’ll need it. This plan is simple, but on the other hand, it’s difficult. It will take time and effort. Depending on the location of your dreams and your situation, it might take you a whole year or more to reach it.

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      Sound daunting?

      Let me tell you a universal truth: nothing worth having in life isn’t won or reached without effort. That’s why people who are willing to invest time and effort succeed in life.

      Pick your destination, find some phenomenal image of it, print it out, and put it somewhere where you’ll see it every day. This reminder will help you stay on the right path.

      Step 2: Make a Plan

      Not having a plan is like planning to fail.

      When you’ve picked your destination, you have to invest time in planning out three different segments of your goal:

      1. How to get there as cheap as possible.
      2. Determine the budget.
      3. How to accumulate the budget.

      Getting there cheap

      For finding your perfect destination the best possible way, you need to lay some groundwork. There are a ton of resources online that can help you get information about your destination, and find the best possible deals for a holiday. Many sites provide services and info for booking vacation packages (air tickets, rooms, and renting a vehicle) that are pretty useful.

      Sites like Expedia, Travelocity, Cheap Tickets, and Last Minute Travel will provide you with thorough information and details about prices, packages, services, and even let you create your own customized package for the destination.

      Creating an account on those services is easy, but it takes time to analyze and evaluate offers from them. Still, it’s worth doing since you’ll have a set of options for your vacation and have an insight on the ground expenses of your dreamy vacation.

      Use Google Sheets to create a spreadsheet that will contain all the data you gather for your destination and possible deals that are available for your holiday. Here’s a small example, using the sites I’ve mentioned:

      Google Spreadsheet example

        You have to be persistent, and invest time to compare deals because many businesses have different contracts with property owners, and might offer different promotions or discounts. You have dozens of sites at your disposal, like AirbnbFlipKeyHomeAway, and similar where you can rent a whole home for yourself and create your own holiday the way you want it. Bonus: It will usually be cheaper than a hotel room.

        For example, renting a fabulous bungalow at Maldives for a week might cost you the same amount (or even more) for which you can have a whole home or apartment in the mainland for a month. You might be above the sea, but you can get different advantages, like staying twice as long for the price. It’s totally up to you.

        This process is even fun when you design your perfect holiday without having to worry if something is expensive or unavailable. This is the part when you concentrate on your needs and your needs only. One month in a house in Maldives or a private bungalow above the sea for 20 days? Your call.

        Determining the budget

        When you’ve decided where you’ll stay and for how long, and browsed through the various possibilities and deals, you have a starting point for determining the budget. Next, you have to examine the following details:

        • The costs
        • Your lifestyle
        • Leisure

        For example, a 20-day stay at Sunset Hill Studio at Bora Bora  (June 10-30, 2017) will cost you $2676.90 (service fees included). I’ve excluded the all-inclusive deals because they cost up to $80K for 20 days.

        Let’s say you’re traveling from New Your, looking for flights with Expedia. An average price for a return trip NYC – BB – NYC during this year is around $3127. Sites don’t allow booking a year in advance, so this is a rough estimate of how much it will cost you (multiple stops included – LAX, PPT).

        Assuming that the prices will grow by 30% (following the pricing trends for the last few years), you can expect 20% rise in the period up to your arrival, so it would be good to set $3000 – 3500 aside for the flight (two persons) and expenses.

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        holiday of your dreams - bora bora

          Your budget should include 3 – 4 meals a day, some beverages, and some budget for fun activities. Based on Business Insider’s research and graphic from 2015, the average cost of living in the US ranges from $2,117 – $3,632 per month. Depending on your location and lifestyle, let’s presume that an average cost of living for a whole month will be ~$2,874.5.

          Considering your holiday will last for 20 days, you can deduct one-third from the projected amount. Adding the average cost of living in French Polynesia to the calculation, you’ll get to the estimated expenses of $2400 for a comfortable holiday of 20 days in Bora Bora. Besides the basics, this amount will cover expenses exploring the location on excursions, as well as having a good time at bars, clubs, etc.

          Let’s sum up the projected expenses now:

          • Accommodation: ~$2640
          • Flight & Transportation: ~$3500
          • Lifestyle & Leisure: ~$2450
          • Sum: $8590

          This is the estimated price for the holiday of your dreams at Bora Bora. Looks intimidating, huh? Well, you can’t expect to have a holiday of your dreams without a high cost. Remember the old saying from the segment above? Nothing worth having can’t be obtained without effort, so that’s what we’re going to tackle next.

          Accumulating the budget

          For you to get the projected amount of money for the holiday of your dreams, you’ll need to create a serious saving plan. For our example, getting ~$8600 will take some serious effort if you end with $250-300 left from your salary (after costs of living, tax, bills, and everything).

          To be precise, with this amount of money left it will take you 34 months of saving to reach your goal.

          That’s right! It will take nearly three years, if you save $250 every month. It will be even worse if you end with less every month. Credit cards, loans, bills, and fees all add up to make you miserable and unwilling to even think about the holiday in an exotic location, not to mention saving for it. How do you deal with this?

          holiday of your dreams - bora bora bungalows

            There are two ways of accumulating money for the holiday: saving money or earning more. Depending on your situation (your occupation, energy,and money involved) you should develop a plan that utilizes both saving and making more money if possible.

            Heads up: Some might suggest getting a bank loan and paying it off in time so you can enjoy first and pay later. I’m against this approach, simply because there is no good loan. Banks won’t give us loans if there isn’t something in it for them. No matter how low the rates are, in the end, you’re still paying much more to get the desired sum from the bank. Please stay away from credits and loans.

            Saving money

            First and foremost, you need to analyze your current budget, cut on expenses, and get analytical. First, you need to review your earnings and your expenses. Start to examine your life for one month, just by noting how much you’re spending every day. There are smartphone apps that will help here. Monefy is one of the best (get it on iOS here and Android here).

            monefy
              via monefy.me

              This habit alone will drastically change your life. When you complete the whole month of noting your expenses, you’ll have the analytical data that will display your way of spending money. Then, it’s time to start adjusting your habits and amounts you spend for the higher purpose.

              Cutting expenses

              When you start changing and thinking about how to cut your costs, you’ll be amazed how much you can actually save when you pay attention and have an economical way of thinking. For example, when you put some effort and research into it, you can even cut your spending by $400 a month. Imagine adding that to the sum of $250 I mentioned before. Your dream holiday seems much closer now, don’t they?

              holiday of your dreams - cut the expenses

                There are so many surprising ways to cut your spending. You’d be surprised how easy you can grow your holiday resources. Besides the 98 ways from the previous link, here are a bonus 30 ways to cut your expenses. Following all of these tips, you can most certainly master the way you spend money on everyday life.

                Besides the various expense-cutting methods, there are even more ways to save money. You can simply set some money aside as soon as your salary arrives, and stash it into your holiday savings account. Something like 1-2% won’t be a big hit, but it will add up eventually. You can save in hundreds of ways, all it takes is some thinking outside the box.

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                Earn money on the side

                To attain the money you need for your special holiday, you can get savvy and cash in on numerous ways. First and foremost, consider an extra job in your spare time. Try to find a gig that will add to the budget, but won’t wear you down.

                There are a ton of ideas on how to make money on the side with some easy gigs, that won’t take too much of your time, but will add to the holiday budget. Both online and offline opportunities are everywhere; you just need to look for them.

                It’s all up to you to have it in a way that it won’t drastically affect your lifestyle, yet still contribute to your holiday significantly. For example, someone will walk dogs from the neighborhood, while someone else will watch ads or fill surveys online to get additional money in their pare time.

                Selling unnecessary items from the garage or even your closet can also boost the budget significantly. The same goes for using your skills, both online and offline. You can teach something you’re good at or be a hired professional – freelancer style. Online ways of making money could be really meaningful on your path of preparing.

                Get coupon-crazy

                You might not know it by now, but here it is: coupons make life easy, getting you closer to your goal much faster. They both save and earn you money, thus making the best possible contribution to your holiday budget.

                holiday of your dreams - get coupon crazy

                  Couponing can get boring, but it’s definitely worthwhile. It’s important to have timing and research in mind. Be patient and you can save hundreds of dollars. It’s important to stack on resources. Sites like ChameleonJohnCoupons.com, Groupon, and RetailMeNot are your best friends when you’re getting into the coupon world. Some amazing results can be achieved if you time your actions and effort.

                  Use credit cards to gain benefits

                  Start paying for everything with a credit card that gives you points for gas, air miles, discount points, or returns the money. Adding those resources into the budget for your vacation can add up significantly, especially with credit cards that offer big benefits programs for the loyal customers.

                  wallet-908569_1920

                    Create a savings account

                    When you’re gathering resources for the holiday of your dreams, you can be extra-savvy and put all that money into one high-yield online savings account. Your money will make money, and it will add up. A bonus feature of this method is that you won’t be able to spend your savings until the compounding period is over.

                    You might be wondering: Why is this a bonus feature?

                    With time passing, many people can get weak especially when the account for the holiday has grown significantly (reaching around 70-80% of the targeted sum). In our case, that would be around $6900, which can make you want to splurge on the latest deal for a new car or a huge 3D TV.

                    When you know the funds are “locked” in the savings account, you won’t fall for all the temptations we get bombarded with every day on TV and billboards. This tip is both money-saving, and budget-growing.

                    Be creative

                    Creativity is your great ally. For example, you can babysit while you’re stacking and printing coupons. You could translate some foreign languages in your spare time while you’re on your side-job. Combining the gigs and doing side-jobs will get you closer to your goal faster.

                    Many people earn on the side from multiple gigs doing them either simultaneously, or with the help on the side. When you have a goal in mind, and you’re focused, you can achieve something that you never thought was possible.

                    Step 3: Getting it done

                    Now it’s time to start saving and working to reach your goal. The road won’t be easy or short, but your end-goal should be your focus and your reason. Some go through this process easier – some don’t.

                    The thing is, if you are doing this for the first time, it will be really tough. However, it will be slightly easier each following time.

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                    Remember to be analytical

                    During your process of accumulating the budget for the perfect holiday, keep everything on paper, and start slowly. If you’re a beginner in being frugal and saving, you’ll have to adjust your life bit by bit to enter the “Ultra Money-Saving Mode.”

                    Try to get a small gig aside from your main job, and use one of the expense-cutting techniques. When you get comfortable doing that, go one step forward and improve your frugality. Analyze your time and the effort you’re making with what results you get. Don’t be afraid to stop with one thing and switch to another if you get a better option.

                    euro-870757_1920

                      Maybe a big garage sale will boost your budget significantly, or maybe you’ll find yourself very comfortable and fulfilled working online. It all depends on your lifestyle and affinities. It’s important to try this tactic for at least a week and see what results it actually brings.

                      The Monefy app I mentioned above will be your great friend, as well as Google Sheets. You can track everything you’ve done and how much you’ve earned/saved by that activity. The analytical approach is the approach of the successful.

                      Be strong

                      This process is a radical lifestyle change, which will reward you with the thing you’ve dreamed of having. As I’ve stated before, dreams are achievable if you work hard and smart for them. It takes time and effort, though. We all get fragile and lose willpower or determination sometimes. You know the moments – like when you get yourself a big bucket of KFC while you’re on a diet.

                      You have to understand that we’re all humans, and we all have moments of weakness. Don’t blame yourself if you spent big money on something you didn’t need. Occasionally, you have to reward yourself and have some fun from time to time. Your goal is waiting, but you don’t need to live like a monk.

                      Every time you feel bad or drained of energy while tackling this saving and preparing, remind yourself of your goal, and the purpose. These moments of weakness are there to swerve you off the right path. The regret of not reaching the goal of your dreams will haunt you forever.

                      holiday of tour dreams - waves
                        You don’t want to miss this

                        You have to believe in yourself, and follow the advice I’ve shared today. Be creative and invent your own ways of being frugal and smart. I am telling you that it is possible! While I’m writing this, I’m living in Zante, Greece, the place I dreamed about for a long time until I made a decision, a plan, and reached it.

                        Can you feel the breeze?

                        The smell of the ocean is really amazing. Your bungalow on the turquoise sea is perfect. It’s optimized for reaching maximum levels of enjoyment.

                        Your own a piece of paradise.

                        This time, you check for that pesky mosquito, but he’s nowhere to be found. You pinch yourself, just to be sure you’re not dreaming again. You’ve managed to make your dreams come true. The smell of success is incredible. You’re slowly realizing you’re getting hooked on this incredible feeling of achievement.

                        When you think about it, why wouldn’t you use this technique to accomplish all of your dreams? Why wouldn’t you help your friends achieve something they’ve desired for the last decade?

                        You definitely can!

                        Take a selfie on Bora Bora (or wherever you’ve picked your holiday to be), tag me and your friends on social media, then mention this post when they ask you: “How in the world you managed to afford that?” Let them read this, and achieve their dreams just like you did.

                        Now, it’s piña colada time!

                        More by this author

                        Dejan Kvrgic

                        Blogger, Writer

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                        Last Updated on July 17, 2019

                        25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are

                        25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are

                        I remember the first time I got my hands on a self-improvement book. I was baffled. At that moment, I realized my fate was not set in stone. I could become my own drill master and coach. The books I read would set out the training course for me to overcome. All I had to do was listen to that voice that aspired to climb higher and higher.

                        Every time I committed to a new challenge, I knew it was going to be outside of my comfort zone. But after enough iterations, I also knew it will not just be part of my repertoire, it will be part of me.

                        Not all self-improvement books are made equal. Some help start you out on your journey, others give you a boost when you’ve achieved experience in certain areas.

                        Here are the best ones that I recommend to read no matter how old you are:

                        1. Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck? And Other Provocations

                        by Seth Godin

                          This book is a masterpiece, and unlike most self-improvement books, this one targets an infinite array of areas in which you can, and ultimately must, improve.

                          With its ruthless honesty and genuine inspiration, Godin makes you ponder the difficult questions you wouldn’t ever dare to ask yourself. The result is a completely new perspective of the world- a fresher, more vibrant perspective, packed with new and bold possibilities.

                          If you need a friend who understands you, a boss that forces you to venture deep in your non-comfort zone, a wise guru that tells you what needs to be left behind and a sage that proclaims the coming of a new age, then look no further; you will find these shrewd voices all tied together in this magnificent book. Make sure to get this one.

                          Print | eBook

                          2. Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

                          by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

                            Perhaps it is the fact that randomness played such a significant role in my years as a poker player that I find this book utterly important.

                            We often attribute skill where there is only luck; we confuse correlation with causation and we underestimate the incredible effect small changes can have.

                            This book gave me a perspective that I unfortunately rarely encounter in others: you can do everything right and still lose, or do everything wrong and still win. It is thus not about the outcome; it is about your actions that have lead you there.

                            This important message is central to many of my decisions I make in my life. This book by Taleb helps you develop such a perspective so you will be able to live in a world one cannot fully understand, where the results are not always clear markers of performance and where chance seems to play games with our fates. Stop being fooled by randomness!

                            Print | eBook | Audiobook

                            3. The 48 Laws of Power

                            by Robert Greene

                              I read this book in a time where I thought power was something I should attain. Power for power’s sake. And while I disagree with my former self on this point, the fact remains that power is very real, it forms the invisible scepter of all hierarchical relations around us.

                              I still recommend this book. I believe it is important to know how people use power for their own benefit and what to do to protect yourself from certain abuses of power.

                              Besides the fact that all stories in this book gravitate around power. It contains many life lessons, amazing historical anecdotes. If read in a certain light, the ability to use power for good.

                              From Caesar to Goethe, Sun-Tzu to Machiavelli, this eye opening book spans a wide range of human development. If you, like me, would rather be interested in something less egotistical, perhaps Greene’s latest book Mastery will suffice (I haven’t read that one myself).

                              Another great book in the same style, but this time around; covering a wider scope, and perhaps, something that will make the world make a better place.

                              Print | eBook | Audiobook

                              4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

                              by Stephen. R. Covey

                                The title of this book doesn’t capture it all. Covey shares with us seven habits one should adapt to become truly effective in whatever you would like to achieve.

                                Of course, it is not as easy as it sounds. He stresses the fact that we need to go through a paradigm shift – a fundamental change in how we perceive the world and ourselves.

                                This book can be read as a guide, with practices and everything, to go through the stages in order to make such a shift happen. Part shock-therapy, part ageless spiritual wisdom, Covey’s book is packed with wisdom that actually makes a difference.

                                And as I mentioned, don’t let the title of the book fool you; it is about much more than just becoming more effective. It is about becoming a whole integer person who not only seeks the best in oneself, but also in the people around her.

                                A must read for anyone who feels there is always something left to learn.

                                Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                5. The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys

                                by James Fadiman

                                  While finding a book on psychedelics in this list of books on self-improvement might come as a surprise, I believe any metaphysical distinction between tools such as books, meditation or molecules hold no ground. They should all be solely judged on their merits. And the merits of certain chemical keys, used in a constructive way, are perhaps bigger than any book in this list.

                                  The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide will teach you how to prepare yourself and your surroundings, what and how much to take, and what do do when something goes wrong. So you can safely enhance your thinking, creativity, introspection and emotional balance.

                                  This book contains everything you need to know about using psychedelics as a tool for self-improvement while drawing on extensive scientific literature and personal wisdom. A must have for the beginning and experienced psychonaut alike.

                                  Print | eBook

                                  6.  Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

                                  by Brian Tracy

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                                    We all know how that destructive downward spiral feels.

                                    We have to do some big tasks of which the thought alone triggers resistance. We aren’t sure how and where to begin and feeling overwhelmed before we even start. We get easily distracted to get rid of that feeling, only to suddenly realize that hours went by- precious hours- and then find ourselves in the same position as before, still not knowing where and how to begin, but now, feeling guilty on top of it which expresses itself in more craving for distraction.

                                    Ad infinitum

                                    To break this spell of procrastination before it paralyzes us, Tracy advises us to Eat That Frog: to set our priorities straight, deconstruct larger tasks into smaller ones, learn when to tackle the big frog first or to start out with something else.

                                    Tracy is truly a motivational writer. While I wished he had gone a bit deeper into the psychological reasons why people procrastinate, it is still a must have for anyone who wants to break the spell and get shit done.

                                    Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                    7. Think and Grow Rich: The Original 1937 Unedited Edition

                                    by Napoleon Hill

                                      A from 1937, this book by Hill is a masterpiece. Don’t bother with the edited versions since they all omit important and controversial information: some historical, and some pertaining to the goal of the book, which is to think and grow rich.

                                      The word rich might imply that this book is all about material gain, and while it certainly covers that area, it is about much more than that.

                                      This is perhaps the first explicit mention of positive thinking on how to care not just about the cash in your pocket, but also the thoughts in your head.

                                      This book has been able to withstand the destruction of time. It covers all the basics from planning, decision making and persistence, to the more advanced techniques as auto-suggestion, transmutation and what we can learn from fear.

                                      This is not a grow rich book, but a timeless guide to find out what actually matters. As it says clearly in the beginning ‘Riches can’t always be measured in money!’

                                      Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                      8. The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind

                                      by Alan Wallace

                                        In a world that is dominated by ever stronger technologies designed to grab your attention, a way to empower yourself is to bring that attention back to where you want it to shine. This book offers just that.

                                        In The Attention Revolution, Wallace describes the path to attaining Shamatha, a buddhist meditation state of mind that is free from any flickering of distraction. It is a hard and long path, probably not possible for us to reach in this lifetime. However, even getting to stage two or three will make everything in life easier.

                                        A wonderful introduction to meditation, The Attention Revolution will inspire you to take on the challenge and see what training your mind can actually achieve.

                                        Once you have achieved such level of focus, you can put it to use to open your heart with the practice of The Four Immeasurables or deepen the practice with this wonderful commentary by Dudjom Lingpa, both by Alan B. Wallace.

                                        Before you read this book, you may want to take a look at this guide so you get a better idea on how to prioritize your life:

                                        The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

                                        Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                        9. The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health

                                        by John Durant

                                          In the last 10,000 years or so, it seems we have been propelled into an ever faster paced world forged by our own hands and minds. Only recently have we been able to reconstruct our journey and reflect back upon our humble origins.

                                          This amazing book is such a reflection. It goes back to the paleolithic searching for answers to health and longevity.

                                          Between science and his personal experiments, Durant weaves a mind blowing story that will convey the importance of an evolutionary perspective on how to live well.

                                          It covers everything from nutrition to exercise, from sleep to fasting, from ancient practices to modern biohacking and even has an outline for a vision of the future where depression and obesity have become obsolete.

                                          If you only have room for a couple of books on this list, make sure this one is included.

                                          Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                          10. Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation

                                          by Daniel J. Siegel

                                            As my Burmese meditation teacher often proclaimed, ‘Mindfulness alone is not enough!’ Siegel seems to have taken this to heart and made an unique synthesis between meditation, psychoanalysis and neuroscience which he calls ‘Mindsight‘. As he says himself, a potent combination between emotional and social intelligence.

                                            All of us deal with one disorder or another, something that seems to disturb the very core of our being at ease; and while it might not always be the best strategy to want to get rid of it, it certainly helps to understand and have compassion for that little aspect that upsets that perfect image of ourselves.

                                            Brimming with techniques, insights and epiphanies, this book contains everything you need to know to reprogram your brain and to optimally use its capacity of neuroplasticity. A great book for spiritual seekers and scientists alike.

                                            Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                            11. How to Win Friends & Influence People

                                            by Dale Carnegie

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                                              This is the first self-improvement book I have ever read and it is also probably one of the oldest in this category.

                                              Written in 1937, mainly for the door to door salesman of that era, this book by Carnegie can truly be called a classic. It shows what we all intuitively know:

                                              It doesn’t matter what your line of work is or what you want to achieve. If you are doing business of any kind, you need to make it about the other person.

                                              Being nice helps, a lot. And while I might not fully defend the premise of this book because it doesn’t distinguish between genuine interest and faking it to get what you want; it still contains a treasure chest full of timeless wisdom.

                                              Everybody wants to feel appreciated, and rightfully so. Learning to take a small effort to make someone’s day will make the world better no matter what your goal is.

                                              I still spontaneously remember some of his guidance, and perhaps this quality is the reason why this book still draws millions of readers to this day.

                                              Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                              12. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

                                              by David D. Burns

                                                Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most effective therapy used by psychologists today. It consists of identifying thought patterns that have a detrimental effect on your self-image and mood; and deconstructing these in order to break out of these destructive cycles.

                                                If you want to know how this works, which moods are central in your life, what thought patterns are causing your depression, how to overcome self-judgment and guilt, how to defeat approval and love addiction and how your self-perfectionism is hindering you, then don’t look further.

                                                Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has helped millions of people and it can help you, and this is the best book for the job. Packed with scientific research, exercises and examples, this is the best improvement your self is going to get.

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                                                13. Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life

                                                by Maxwell Maltz

                                                  What can a plastic surgeon tell us about happiness?

                                                  By dealing with his patients, Dr. Maxwell Maltz experienced firsthand that having your expectations come true doesn’t automatically result into a more positive life experience. Their outward appearances did indeed change but their inner insecurity remained.

                                                  This caused him to find other means to help his patients, resulting in visualization techniques. He found a person’s outer success can never rise above the one visualized internally.

                                                  This book carries a very honest and humbling story, loaded with fundamental truths about our psychology and how our own philosophy affects us. This is all told by a very compassionate writer.

                                                  Of some books it can be said that it will be valuable for years to come, and I am absolutely positive that this is one of them.

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                                                  14. Thinking, Fast and Slow

                                                  by Daniel Kahneman

                                                    This brilliant book by Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman is a lucid account of all the amazing research he has done over the years. He is the founder of behavioral economics – the way our psychology affects our decisions – and explains in simple prose how our thinking is divided in two systems: one fast and one slow. (Here’s an explanation on how these two systems work.)

                                                    The fast one is almost instant; it consists of the hardwired instincts that govern emotions, a remnant of an evolutionary past, an unconscious irrational machine.

                                                    The slow one is deliberate, self-reflexive and logical, but can easily be distracted and takes a lot of effort.

                                                    Both play a large role in our lives and Kahneman explores when the fast system fails and why the slow system is often not utilized.

                                                    Packed with mind blowing examples and sharp analyses, this book teaches you how to learn to make sound judgments, and use the best of both systems.

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                                                    15. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

                                                    by Chris Hadfield

                                                      A few extraordinary people journey to the edge of our world and come back with a unique story to tell. Colonel Hadfield is such a person, and his story is perhaps the most important one in this list.

                                                      While the other books in this list teach you to be independent, visualize your future and dream big, this astronaut’s guide turns these all upside down.

                                                      A truly remarkable book, overflowing with mind-blowing stories that illustrate the life lessons he learned as one of the most accomplished astronauts that ever lived.

                                                      Full of compassion, warmth and genuine self-reflexive humor, he conveys to us to be prepared for the worst and never let yourself be swayed from enjoying every moment.

                                                      Part action story, part no-nonsense hard truth and part timeless spiritual wisdom, this book makes you feel like you stepped onto a rocket ship and experienced what he did while learning these most valuable lessons on the way.

                                                      eBook

                                                      16. Perfect Health Diet: Regain Health and Lose Weight by Eating the Way You Were Meant to Eat

                                                      by Paul Jaminet & Shou-Ching Jaminet

                                                        No self-improvement list is complete without a nutrition book and the Perfect Health Diet is arguably the best diet book on the market now.

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                                                        If you are overweight or not, feel sick, or just looking for an extra boost in health (and keep it this way), then look no further.

                                                        From reading decades of studies the authors construct the optimal way to eat, destroying popular food fads in the process. They explain in sufficient details the optimal macro-ratios of which starches are safe, which vitamins and supplements to take and what foods, or what they call toxins, to avoid.

                                                        This book is a great supplement to the Paleo Manifesto as it shares its basic evolutionary perspective; we were evolved to eat non-toxic, high fat, moderate protein and carbohydrates.

                                                        And sometimes, going around with no food at all, can be a very healthy thing. If your body is not in optimal health, then it is almost no use to read the other books. Make this your priority number one.

                                                        Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                        17. Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success

                                                        by John C. Maxwell

                                                          At one time or another, we will all fail. What matters most is how you deal with it once you do.

                                                          Will you give up? Or will you use it as a stepping stone for success?

                                                          I recently read an article about new start-ups in silicon valley. Its hypothesis was the more you had failed in the past, the more likely you were going to get funding.

                                                          Why?

                                                          Because failing teaches you invaluable lessons, and if you decide to continue after you hit the pavement, the more you have it in you to deliver.

                                                          Now, this is not in anyway our instinctual reaction to failing. Most of us dread it, avoid it or refuse to fail at all costs. All three are by far sub-optimal. It is far better to accept failure where it arises, to accept responsibility and use it as a way to learn about yourself and your weaknesses.

                                                          Only when you are absolute honest with yourself with respect to failure can you hope to grow. This wonderful book will teach you how to do exactly this. A honest book for everyone searching for a clean mirror.

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                                                          18. The Power of Now

                                                          by Eckhart Tolle

                                                            The Power of Now hardly needs any introduction. It is perhaps the book that has had the most impact on our collective consciousness in recent years.

                                                            It inspired millions of people all over the world to live a more fulfilling and compassionate life, all through the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness consists of moment to moment non-judgmental awareness. 

                                                            It is a technique that alleviates depression, increases emotional intelligence and develops compassion. And only recently has come to the west, which remained weary and skeptical until science had validated a wide array of its claims.

                                                            The brain can be trained. The Power of Now teaches you how to release your attachment to certain thoughts and states of mind, thereby clearing the mind to fully embrace the present moment.

                                                            If you already have read this book and are looking for deeper understanding, readWherever You Go, There You Are.

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                                                            19. The Last Lecture

                                                            by Randy Pausch

                                                              At some point or another, almost all of us has come across The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. (If you haven’t, watch this powerful message here.)

                                                              What would you say when you only have a few months left to live? This was probably Pausch’s question he posed to himself when he had to deliver his lecture a week later.

                                                              But being confined to an academic setting and short time frame, he felt he had more to share, thus marking the birth of this book.

                                                              Filled with stories about his childhood, it is a very down to earth exploration of what it means to chase your dreams, to be a good person and live a life that gives value to others.

                                                              A beautiful mixture of humor and optimism, his tender voice will be a source of inspiration for everyone who will take the time to listen, something he tried to impart on his readers.

                                                              A very lovely read. And don’t forget, ‘It’s not about the cards you’re dealt, but how you play the hand.’
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                                                              20. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

                                                              by Brené Brown

                                                                I love Brené Brown’s books. She writes about an insight that I have found to be scary but true at the same time.

                                                                Vulnerability, unlike we have been taught, is not a weakness, but a power to be tapped. Growing up with the idea that we have to hide certain parts of ourselves, to look strong and persevere at all costs always seemed a facade to me. And now she has the research to back that up.

                                                                From that place of vulnerability comes a sense of worthiness, which for most of us, needs to be cultivated every day. Only if we get in touch with that tender spot of our hearts can we connect with others and develop genuine compassion, which are prerequisites, Brown tells us, for living a ‘wholehearted life.’

                                                                The reality, however, is that we often close down, feel neglected and misunderstood, and rather want the vulnerability and perhaps even ourselves to disappear.

                                                                This book is an amazing antidote for that common instinct. Want to be truly convinced? Check out her amazing ted talk here.

                                                                Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                                21. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

                                                                by Carl Sagan

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                                                                  We all find UFO’s fascinating. We all really want to believe in magic or visiting aliens. (Surely the crop circles are conclusive proof!) And some of us believe the government is poisoning us with chemtrails.

                                                                  At the same time we are fascinated by the progress made by science, by all the new technology and medicines and the fascinating discoveries being

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                                                                  22. Philosophy for Life

                                                                  by Jules Evans

                                                                    As philosopher Sloterdijk puts it; ‘philosophy is a beautiful child of an ugly mother.’

                                                                    Philosophy first arose when the old Greek polis states were at the brink of destruction. Philosophy, according to Sloterdijk, was not just a way to make sense of the world, to come to knowledge or truth, but to serve as a psychological immune system.

                                                                    This book is an amazing expression of this perspective. From the stoics to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Jules Evans writes about some of the amazing philosophical techniques we can use to train and improve our cognitive immune systems.

                                                                    He weaves ancient stories with modern applications, from heroism to cosmic contemplation. Philosophy for Life is a beautifully written book that makes it easy to understand the practical nature of philosophy.

                                                                    Perhaps the book would have been better if he would have gone deeper into the subject matter, but nonetheless he captures the essence of what philosophy can mean for the modern person. A must read.

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                                                                    23. Man’s Search For Meaning

                                                                    by Victor. E. Frankl

                                                                      If I had to pick one book from this list for mandatory reading, I would choose this one.

                                                                      For three years, Viktor Frankl labored in four different Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz. He tells us about his experience and that of his fellow prisoners.

                                                                      Both chilling and uplifting, confronted with the idea that they would be trapped there for the rest of their lives; he gives us an account of those who found meaning and those who succumbed to nihilism.

                                                                      A blend between a memoir, a psychological investigation and a self-help book, Frankl delivers a powerful message:

                                                                      Finding meaning lies at the core of being human.

                                                                      From his own experience as a psychiatrist, combined with anecdotes from his time in the concentration camps, he tells us how important it is to find meaning in our own lives and what we can become if we don’t.

                                                                      Suffering, he conveys to us, is inevitable. But as to how we cope with it is dependent on ourselves. If we can find meaning, even in the worst acts our species have ever inflicted upon their fellow men, we will be able to move forward with renewed purpose.

                                                                      I also recommend you to check out this article to help you find out your purpose and passion that will motivate you to live in a meaningful way: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

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                                                                      24. Simplify

                                                                      by Joshua Becker

                                                                        This is a fun little book written by Joshua Becker, a big proponent of minimalist living. We all know that quote from Fightclub: “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.” 

                                                                        Well, this is ending.

                                                                        Slowly we are outgrowing an era where the unquestioned mantra ‘more is always better’ dictates our behavior. Rather, we now find ourselves, our lives and our homes cluttered with too much information, too much stuff and just too much shit we don’t need.

                                                                        This simple book helps you become aware of the freedom gained from living with less. It is a small book, easily read under an hour, but it carries a persuasive punch to start living live in a very different way.

                                                                        eBook

                                                                        25. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

                                                                        by Kamal Ravikant

                                                                          The fundamental ground upon which all true self improvement is build is called self-love. Because in the end, no matter which way you turn, if you don’t love yourself, you will sabotage yourself at one point. You will think that, for some reason or another, you are not worthy. And if you think that, why would you truly want to achieve anything?

                                                                          And this is not just about achievement. This is about how you approach yourself every day; this is what you see when you look in the mirror.

                                                                          We make so many snap-judgments about ourselves- often without being conscious of them- that are filled with negativity, haltering us before we can even begin to heal. This powerful book shows you the antidote.

                                                                          Self love. Not to be confused with creating some narcissistic image of ourselves that some previous books in this list implicitly endorse, but self love, that inner gratefulness that no external condition can take away.

                                                                          Self love, that infinite source you can share with others.

                                                                          Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                                          Final Thoughts

                                                                          Now that you’ve got a list of the most inspirational books to improve your life, what should you do next? Read them all?

                                                                          It’s of course best to read them all, but we only have so much brain energy to take all this knowledge. What if I tell you there’s a way to boost your brain power? Here it is:

                                                                          How to Increase Brain Power, Boost Memory and Become 10X Smarter

                                                                          More Books for Your Inspiration

                                                                          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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