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7 Personal Development Books That Will Empower Your Life

7 Personal Development Books That Will Empower Your Life

For more than two years I taught and encouraged homeless individuals. Books always help with that. Recently, I stumbled upon seven great books that have changed my life and the lives of the students I teach. Here is my current list of books that will empower and support you in creating a life that is passionate, curious and constantly evolving.

1. The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Bejamin Zander

art-of-possibility

    This wonderful book is written by two musicians driven by a love of music and the need to share it with the world. Unlike many teachers, these brilliant scholars assign the possibility of everyone doing well by determining what that looks like on an individual basis. Each student must write a letter that is to be dated for the end of the semester detailing why they had earned an “A” in the class. When my teaching switched from controlling the information and educational needs to one in which I had people focus on what they could do to earn an “A” in their careers, money challenges and personal lives, the entire course blossomed.

    2. Linchpin by Seth Godin

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      Seth Godin allows the reader to stop waiting for permission to be great. I launched a pilot program that failed for one solid year. Upon reading this book, I figured out how to fail differently. I was being too cautious and refused to try things that were different, uncomfortable or unfamiliar. What I was creating and launching was new which meant my attack had to be new. To paraphrase Godin: If your job description and what you do can be put in a manual that means someone else can do it better and cheaper which means your days at company X are limited.

      3. Taking Responsibility by Nathaniel Branden

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        Although I have been reading his work for years, it was the stem work and the sentence regarding communication and commitment that changed all of my interactions with everyone I knew. Stem work forces those who choose to use it to look at what they do not why they do it. Honestly looking at your behavior takes courage and can lead to some wonderful fresh experiences. We can then choose to change or continue doing what doesn’t work but is familiar and easy.

        4. Money Secrets of the Amish by Lorilee Craker

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          A financial planner in a straw hat- This was the brilliant tagline that let me know this would be something my students and I would love. The Amish ways of self reliance, “not eating the marshmallow”, community support and repurposing items make for very wise life instructions. It is hard to argue finances with a man who has fourteen children, a house he owes free and clear and $200,000 in the bank. Using this book allowed me to experiment with three radical financial philosophies: cash only for one week, no money spent at all for one week and figuring how to get what I need without money changing hands.

          5. Overcoming Underearning by Barbara Stanny

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            As a teacher of financial literacy, I have heard every excuse imaginable regarding why people’s finances are disastrous. Ms. Stanny’s book breaks down five stumbling blocks that make us feel financially powerless. It also reminds us that with some focus, a commitment to changing our behaviors and some simple to use plans, we can create greatness. A perfect combination of spirituality and down to earth tools this wonderful book will make you feel that you can handle the beast that is financial responsibility.

            I saw changes immediately (an increased credit score of more than one hundred points and was able to buy my first home) and continue to reread this book some seven years later. I have shared this book with colleagues and my mother. The greatest quote is contained midway through: “You don’t have a problem to solve; you have a decision to make.”

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            6. And There Was Light by Jacques Lusseyran

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              Lusseyran was a seventeen year old blind youth who challenged the Nazis by organizing and leading fifty–two boys in a resistance movement. Although not an official personal development book, it encourages us all to look at our self imposed limitations and annihilate them.

              7. Weapons of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto

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                Gatto’s brilliant manifesto fundamentally changed how I saw education and learning. Whether it is detailing Richard Branson’s sojourn through London unaccompanied by an adult at age four, a nightclub singer who dramatically increased female applicants at MIT or a blind seventeen year old secretly toppling the Nazi regime in France (see book # 6), there are several examples that inspire and empower. What is really pointed out was how hungry we all are for something authentic, daring and real. I often write about burning the manual. This book doesn’t burn the manual it obliterates it.

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                While this is not an extensive list, it provides a great beginning to the power of books and the ways they can change your life and challenge and invigorate your thinking. Read all or a few of them and watch your life expand.

                Featured photo credit: girl reading book at home via picjumbo.com

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                Last Updated on March 25, 2020

                How to Crush Your Lack of Motivation and Always Stay Motivated

                How to Crush Your Lack of Motivation and Always Stay Motivated

                How many times have you not achieved your goals and let yourself down due to your lack of motivation? When you’re not wallowing in sadness and self-pity, you are too busy procrastinating till you can’t anymore and before you know it, you are part of vicious cycle of anxiety and stress.

                Whether it’s losing weight or bringing your business to fruition – motivation is essential for growth and success in every sphere of our lives.

                That said, it is not easy staying motivated. In order to constantly stay motivated, you need to take ownership of your life and consciously make efforts in that direction.

                Well, it’s never too late to take matters in your hands and change the course of your life. Here are 11 effective ways to crush your lack of motivation and always stay motivated:

                1. Write Your Goals

                The power of writing goals down has always been underestimated. Why write when you can remember, right? Wrong.

                Our thoughts are all over the place and the first step to achieve your goals is to organize your thoughts. So, write your goals down, however big or small they might be. Make them as specific as possible and assign deadlines to each of them.

                As you write them down and revisit them regularly, they get further drilled in your head, taking you closer to your goals. Doing this small exercise helps you to remain focused, motivated and lets you track your progress with ease.

                Start today – take to your laptop or a diary and get down to writing what you wish to achieve in life.

                2. Beat Procrastination

                Your lack of motivation and procrastination go hand in hand. Every time you procrastinate, your motivation levels take a greater hit. The only way to bring an end to this loop is to stop procrastinating.

                Next time you find yourself putting off something for ‘later’, stop and assess the reasons behind it. Get to the root of the cause and eliminate it in order to overcome this poor habit of procrastinating which is sabotaging your life and mental health.

                Take a look at this guide and learn how to beat procrastination:

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                What Is Procrastination (And the Complete Guide to Stop Procrastinating)

                When you finally overcome procrastination, you will realize the positive impact it has on your mood and motivation levels.

                3. Celebrate Small Wins

                In the quest to achieve the bigger goals in life, we often forget to celebrate the smaller wins along the way. An achievement is an achievement – be it big or small, it deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated.

                Finished a project on time? Reward yourself. Managed to run on the treadmill for a good one hour? Pat yourself on the back. Found time to meditate? Celebrate it.

                It is these small achievements that reinstate that we are on the right path and take us one step closer to the bigger goals.

                So, get into the habit of recognizing and appreciating small wins. You will be surprised to see how this practice helps you stay motivated.

                4. Practice Gratitude

                It’s easier to whine about what we don’t have rather than counting our blessings. Isn’t it?

                Making gratefulness a part of your life is a very important step to retain high motivational levels. It revitalizes our spirits and renews our enthusiasm for life.

                So, how do you practice gratitude? For starters, keep a gratitude journal to jot down what you are grateful for, express your gratitude to people you love and spread positivity wherever you go. If you need some inspiration to be thankful for, here it is:

                60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life

                By doing so, you begin to focus more on what you have rather than what you don’t and that is a great start to stay motivated.

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                5. Be Optimistic

                Life is not always hunky dory. There will be bad days when things aren’t going in your favor, when you feel lost and all you want to do is give up.

                At such times, instead of letting negativity take over your life, adopt an optimistic approach to life. Quit overthinking, ask the right questions and focus on finding solutions.

                Yes, there will be hurdles along the way but if you hang on to positive affirmations and hopes, the journey will be a lot smoother. So, with every passing day, sow the seeds of positivity and you are sure to build a positive environment around you.

                6. Don’t Dwell on the Past

                A lot of times, our lack of motivation stems from the habit of dwelling on the past. This gives rise to fear and regrets, preventing us from making progress in the present day.

                Dwelling on the past is nothing but a waste of time. Understand that the past is long gone, and you cannot do anything to change that.

                What you can do is make your present day worthwhile. Instead of looking back and having regrets, learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself and move on.

                So, the next time you find your mind wandering off to the past, be determined to change the way you think and consciously concentrate on living in the present. This guide can help you:

                10 Simple Steps To Let Go Of The Past

                7. Face your Fears

                You can never find motivation where there is fear. Identify the fear that is pulling you back and tackle it.

                If you don’t face your fear head on, you cannot expect to conquer it and renew your motivation.

                Ask yourself: What is stopping you? What are you scared of?

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                Once you accept your fear, you can work on an action plan and think of solutions to overcome it. This article will give you some effective tips on conquering your fears:

                How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding)

                Seek external help if required but don’t choose to turn a blind eye over your fears – it will only aggravate matters.

                8. Visualize your Success

                You must have heard the famous quote, ‘see it to believe it’. That is exactly what visualization is about.

                One of the most effective self-motivation techniques, visualizing the process to your desired outcome helps you move in a positive direction and achieve your goal.

                Close your eyes and focus all your energies on the minutest of details that will take you where you want to reach. Doing this exercise everyday inspires you to keep going and not lose hope. The vision of attaining success will drive you to do better while instilling belief and confidence.

                9. Find Inspiration

                Can’t seem to find inspiration inwards? Don’t panic. There are plenty of external sources to gain inspiration from.

                From motivational books and quotes to speeches, films and apps – it is a good idea to take help from motivational material to rekindle your spirits and regain your motivation.

                Everyone is wired differently. For instance, a self-help book might work for your friend, but it might do nothing to move you. So, find what inspires you and turn to it when you are in desperate need for motivation.

                Finding inspiration externally fills you with hope and sometimes that is all you need.

                10. Enjoy Downtime

                You are clearly exhausted with all the running you’re doing in life. So much, that you don’t even have time to stop and think what’s causing you so much unhappiness. All you know is that you are lacking motivation and everyday seems to have become a struggle.

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                Now, that’s certainly not how you should live the rest of your life.

                You need to schedule downtime for yourself, relax and give your mind and body some rest. Take a vacation, indulge in hobbies, meet some friends, put your hair down and stop with all the overthinking. It is important to do things that make you happy in order to think clearly and stay motivated.

                11. Meditate Regularly

                Meditation lets you take control of your mind. It improves focus and concentration while helping you relax.

                Whenever you have had a tough day or find your thoughts going places, the best way to calm yourself down is by closing your eyes and meditating. It helps you to remove all the unnecessary frills in life and keeps you on the right track.

                Include meditation in your daily schedule and you are sure to see an improvement in your productivity and motivation.

                The Bottom Line

                Practicing these simple exercises isn’t the tough part, what’s tough is religiously doing them every day.

                However, don’t expect to get rid of your lack of motivation overnight. There will still be days when you will be low on energy but by making these conscious efforts to stay motivated, you are sure to see a vast change in your perspective and your response to bad days.

                So, start today and be committed to making a positive change in your life.

                More Tips About Staying Motivated

                Featured photo credit: Sonnie Hiles via unsplash.com

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