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15 Must-Read Books on Personal Growth That Are Recently Published

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15 Must-Read Books on Personal Growth That Are Recently Published

Looking around the self-improvement world, you’ll find plenty of the best books on personal growth around. Over the years, there have been tons of brilliant minds talking about all kinds of different subjects.

With thousands of books available, we’ve decided to pick out some books that were published more recently to help you become a wiser person.

1. Emotional First Aid

    The premise of this book is to help you learn how to stop ruminating on everything. While there are some benefits to thinking deeply, sometimes it doesn’t help you. Ruminating leads to overthinking and in some cases, it makes problems worse for you and can negatively impact your life.

    Emotional First Aid is a book that’ll help with that by providing straightforward and readable advice on various topics—ones that can bring up feelings or even a lot of shame. There are several good lines to be found, and understanding yourself on an emotional level can help you become a wiser person.

    Buy one of the best books on personal growth here.

    2. How to Be Alone

      On the note of emotional intelligence, being alone is another sore spot for people. There are many people who struggle with being alone or think that being alone is dangerous. This book explains that being alone isn’t all that bad for you.

      No matter what stage of loneliness you are at, this book explains that it’s okay to feel the way that you feel during those moments. It’s okay to yearn for better relationships or that you’re lonely overall.

      While this book isn’t quite a self-help book, being comfortable with being alone and dealing with tricky situations (e.g. cutting ties with someone that makes you feel unsafe or anxious around) is helpful. Having stronger emotional intelligence is one aspect of a wise person.

      Buy one of the best books on personal growth here.

      3. The Mind of the Leader

        This is a book published by Harvard Business Review, and it is a powerful one—a truly inspiring piece that allows you to get into the head of a manager, specifically how a manager should be working. All in all, it’s a great book that teaches you how to manage with compassion, selflessness, and mindfulness.

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        Even if you’re not in a management position, having a grasp of how modern-day leaders and managers should work is big. The working environments have shifted a lot this year but have been changing even before then. You want to have newer tactics.

        Get your copy here.

        4. The Artist’s Way

          Published in 1992, this book revolving around creativity is still a keeper. Despite the title suggesting this is for creatives only, it’s still recommended for those who are outside of that loop. Funny enough, it’s writers—professional creatives—struggle the most with applying some of these tactics. If you’re someone outside of that loop, you may find it easier and advantageous for you to use.

          Buy one of the best books on personal growth here.

          5. Crushing It!

            This is the most recent of Gary Vaynerchuk’s published books at the time of writing it. It’s been out for a while, however, this book provides a strong blueprint for how you can be growing a business in this day and age. The book provides plenty of examples of creative ideas and has Gary’s own get-up-and-go motivation.

            Whether you run a business now or are thinking of running one, this can make you into a wiser person. Nevertheless, Gary Vaynerchuk does put out some of the best books on personal growth and business to help you succeed.

            Get your copy here.

            6. How to Get Sh*t Done

              Another common struggle for people is tackling that massive to-do list or marking things off the bucket list. There are tons of productivity books that you can look at, however, this one is one of the best ones out there.

              As the title suggests, this book provides a helpful guide in getting things done in the best way possible. Even if the advice can be weird—such as the first step suggesting you give yourself a break—there are tons of research backing this up. All of the advice will help unload anything nonessential and shift your focus to things that matter most to you.

              Buy one of the best books on personal growth here.

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              7. Tribe of Mentors

                Tim Ferriss, famous for his work “The 4 Hour Workweek,” recently published a book providing various tips, tactics, and habits you want to have in your life. The information he shares stems from conversations he’s had with over 130 of the world’s top performers at the time. In it, he writes about their personal stories and how that can help you make better decisions, achieve your goals faster, and achieve more results in your life.

                Get your copy here.

                8. Becoming: A Guided Journal For Discovering Your Voice

                  In 2018, former first lady Michelle Obama published a memoir of her life and what it was like living in the White House. It’s also a book talking about how she was able to find her own voice and become who she is today.

                  Even if you didn’t get the chance to read that book, you don’t have to worry too much about that. Recently, there was another book published that can provide the same benefits. Retaining the same title as the previously published book, this book is more of a journal as the title suggests.

                  In short, this book can provide you with a transformational tool to help you discover values, passions, and overall purpose. This is crucial since many people who want to grab some of the best books on personal growth don’t often know what they want in life. This book provides direction.

                  Get your copy here.

                  9. Burnout

                    For those feeling overwhelmed with everything, this book can provide a staggering amount of relief. The sister duo of Amelia Nagoski DMA and Emily Nagoski Ph.D. go into great detail on dealing with burnout— a phenomenon that both men and women struggle with a lot.

                    Inside, you’ll find tactics on overcoming stumbling blocks, external challenges, and pushing back burnout. These tactics don’t apply exclusively to professional lives but also to personal lives.

                    Buy one of the best books on personal growth here.

                    10. Can’t Hurt Me

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                      Written by David Goggins—a man who overcame depression, became part of the US Armed Forces, and has great athletic achievement—this inspirational book will aid you in overcoming mental and physical obstacles.

                      The overall message of this book is clear: mindset is everything. If you have the right attitude, you have better chances of overcoming the odds against you.

                      Even if your mindset isn’t a defeatist mindset, we often keep ourselves back at various points in time. According to Goggins, most people tap into only 40% of their own abilities. This book could be a gateway for you to unlock the other missing piece and help you strive for something higher.

                      Get your copy here.

                      11. Edge

                        To those who have made it past a large obstacle, one of the first questions people ask is, how was that possible? What’s the secret? Those questions come up especially when you are comparing yourself to others and wonder what they have that you’re lacking.

                        Instead of wondering about that, it’d be wise to look at this book as it provides a lot of answers. The truth is that those who have made it aren’t perfect people, and we can never be like them. Instead, it’s those same people who have looked at adversity in their lives and leveraged it. Thanks to this book, you can do the same.

                        Get your copy here.

                        12. Everything Is Figureoutable

                          It’s uncommon to run into hardships or challenges that dictate how much success and happiness you can get from them. For many people, whenever there are roadblocks, we tend to protect ourselves in various ways—be it victimizing ourselves, blaming others, or even giving up entirely.

                          To avoid those kinds of scenarios, this book provides personal stories from the author, Marie Forleo, and other readers. The goal is that through these stories and actionable insights, you’ll realize that everything in life is “figureoutable.”

                          Get your copy here.

                          13. Stillness Is the Key

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                            One great thing about Ryan Holiday is the incorporation of philosophy into his work. Since he passes this on to his readers, you can receive a nice dosage of philosophy into your daily life with one of his best books on personal growth.

                            This book is grounded on Buddhism and Stoic philosophy as Holiday introduces readers to remaining steady during times of strife and chaos. Holiday calls the concept “stillness” and points to many historical figures who maintained stillness.

                            Overall, this is a book to help you defend and be prepared for more emotional turmoil around yourself.

                            Get your copy here.

                            14. The Values Compass

                              Two big questions in life are “what are your values?” and “are you living in a way that reflects them?” It’s two big questions that people may not know the answers to upon careful reflection. This book in particular brings those questions up to the surface but does so in a unique way—by traveling to 101 countries that live in harmony with their values and tell you how they live their lives.

                              This takes you on a journey to a wide variety of places and from those places, Dr. Mandeep Rai takes insights and explains them in a way that you can apply in your own life. Considering the extensive journey, these chapters are very small making it one of the more easily digestible books on personal growth to get into.

                              Get your copy here.

                              15. Tiny Habits

                                Change is an inevitable part of life, but most people tend to resist it, especially when change is massive and in your face all the time. Whether it’s something that’s forced on you or you’ve done this to yourself, this book allows you to look at those big changes—or desires to change—and make them a reality.

                                How the book does it is by encouraging you to focus on the smaller habits and breaking goals into smaller and more manageable steps.

                                Even if this is something you do, you may still find this book helpful as the book teaches you how to identify small adjustments you can make to your existing habits to make them develop further.

                                Get your copy here.

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                                Final Thoughts

                                The list of best books on personal growth is expanding all the time with more books published every single day. This industry is filled with all kinds of insights and ideas to help you grow and become a wiser individual. No doubt, if you pick out any of the books from this list, you are in for a treat and enlightening experience.

                                More Books on Personal Growth and Development

                                Featured photo credit: Joel Muniz via unsplash.com

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                                Leon Ho

                                Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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                                Last Updated on October 7, 2021

                                Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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                                Are You Addicted to Productivity?

                                “It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

                                Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

                                “Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

                                Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

                                Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

                                “The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

                                This is my mantra:

                                I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

                                But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

                                Addiction to Productivity is Real

                                Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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                                “A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

                                Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

                                “It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

                                Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

                                “A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

                                “There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

                                “For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

                                There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

                                Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

                                By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

                                Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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                                Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

                                Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

                                Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

                                The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

                                Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

                                • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
                                • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
                                • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
                                • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
                                • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
                                • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
                                • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

                                The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

                                Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

                                Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

                                1. Set Limits

                                Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

                                For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

                                2. Create a Not-to-Do List

                                Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

                                3. Be Vulnerable

                                By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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                                4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

                                Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

                                Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

                                There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

                                5. Don’t Be a Copycat

                                Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

                                That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

                                6. Say Yes to Less

                                Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

                                That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

                                Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

                                7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

                                “In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

                                “That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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                                • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
                                • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
                                • Establish realistic goals.
                                • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
                                • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
                                • Hold yourself accountable.
                                • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
                                • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

                                8. Simplify

                                Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

                                The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

                                9. Learn How to Relax

                                “Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

                                “But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

                                “And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

                                But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

                                • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
                                • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
                                • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
                                • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
                                • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
                                • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
                                • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
                                • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
                                • Visit a massage therapist.
                                • Just breathe.

                                “Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

                                It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

                                Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

                                Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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