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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

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    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 September 12, 2019

                12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

                12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

                Even the most charismatic people you know, whether in person or celebrities of some sort, experience days where they feel lost in life and isolated from everyone else.

                While it’s good to know we aren’t alone in this feeling, the question still remains:

                What should we do when we feel lost and lonely?

                Here are 12 things to remember:

                1. Recognize That It’s Okay!

                The truth is, there are times you need to be alone. If you’ve always been accustomed to being in contact with people, this may prove difficult.

                However, learning how to be alone and comfortable in your own skin will give you confidence and a sense of self reliance.

                We cheat ourselves out of the opportunity to become self reliant when we look for constant companionship.

                Learn how to embrace your me time: What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

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                2. Use Your Lost and Loneliness as a Self-Directing Guide

                You’ve most likely heard the expression: “You have to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going.”

                Loneliness also serves as a life signal to indicate you’re in search of something. It’s when we’re in the midst of solitude that answers come from true soul searching.

                Remember, there is more to life than what you’re feeling.

                3. Realize Loneliness Helps You Face the Truth

                Being in the constant company of others, although comforting sometimes, can often serve as a distraction when we need to face the reality of a situation.

                Solitude cuts straight to the chase and forces you to deal with the problem at hand. See it as a blessing that can serve as a catalyst to set things right!

                4. Be Aware That You Have More Control Than You Think

                Typically, when we see ourselves as being lost or lonely, it gives us an excuse to view everything we come in contact with in a negative light. It lends itself to putting ourselves in the victim mode, when the truth of the matter is that you choose your attitude in every situation.

                No one can force a feeling upon you! It is YOU who has the ultimate say as to how you choose to react.

                5. Embrace the Freedom That the Feeling of Being Alone Can Offer

                Instead of wallowing in self pity, which many are prone to do because of loneliness, try looking at your circumstance as a new-found freedom.

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                Most people are in constant need of approval of their viewpoints. Try enjoying the fact that  you don’t need everyone you care about to support your decisions.

                6. Acknowledge the Person You Are Now

                Perhaps you feel a sense of loneliness and confusion because your life circumstances have taken you away from the persona that others know to be you.

                Perhaps the new you differs radically from the old. Realize that life is about change and how we react to that change. It’s okay that you’re not who you used to be.

                Take a look at this article and learn to accept your imperfect self: Accept Yourself (Flaws and All): 7 Benefits of Being Vulnerable

                7. Keep Striving to Do Your Best

                Often those who are feeling isolated and unto themselves will develop a defeatist attitude. They’ll do substandard work because their self esteem is low and they don’t care.

                Never let this feeling take away your sense of worth! Do your best always and when you come through this dark time, others will admire how you stayed determined in spite of the obstacles you had to overcome.

                And to live your best life, you must do this ONE thing: step out of your comfort zone.

                8. Don’t Forget That Time Is Precious

                When we’re lost in a sea of loneliness and depression, it’s all too easy to reflect on regrets of past life events. This does nothing but feed negativity and perpetuate the situation.

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                Instead of falling prey to this common pitfall, put one foot in front of the other and acknowledge every positive step you take. By doing this, you can celebrate the struggles you overcome at the end of the day.

                9. Remember, Things Happen for a Reason

                Every circumstance we encounter in our life is designed to teach us and that lesson is in turn passed on to others.

                Sometimes we’re fortunate enough to figure out the lesson to be learned, while other times, we simply need to have faith that if the lesson wasn’t meant directly for us to learn from, how we handled it was observed by someone who needed to learn.

                Your solitude and feeling of lost, in this instance, although painful possibly, may be teaching someone else.

                10. Journal During This Time

                Record your thoughts when you’re at the height of loneliness and feeling lost. You’ll be amazed when you reflect back at how you viewed things at the time and how far you’ve come later.

                This time (if recorded) can give you a keen insight into who you are and what makes you feel the way you feel.

                11. Remember You Aren’t the First to Feel This Way

                It’s quite common to feel as if we’re alone and no one else has ever felt this way before. We think this because at the time of our distress, we’re silently observing others around us who are seemingly fine in every way.

                The truth is, we can’t possibly know the struggles of those around us unless they elect to share them. We ALL have known this pain!

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                Try confiding in someone you trust and ask them how they deal with these feelings when they experienced it. You may be surprised at what you learn.

                12. Ask for Help If the Problem Persists

                The feeling of being lost and lonely is common to everyone, but typically it will last for a relatively short period of time.

                Most people will confess to, at one time or another, being in a “funk.” But if the problem persists longer than you feel it should, don’t ignore it.

                When your ability to reason and consider things rationally becomes impaired, do not poo poo the problem away and think it isn’t worthy of attention. Seek medical help.

                Afraid to ask for help? Here’s how to change your outlook to aim high!

                Final Thoughts

                Loneliness and a sense of feeling lost can in many ways be extremely painful and difficult to deal with at best. However, these feelings can also serve as a catalyst for change in our lives if we acknowledge them and act.

                Above anything, cherish your mental well being and don’t underestimate its worth. Seek professional guidance if you’re unable to distinguish between a sense of freedom for yourself and a sense of despair.

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                Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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