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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 July 18, 2019

                What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People

                What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People

                Some people just seem to float through life with a relentless sense of happiness – through the toughest of times, they’re unfazed and aloof, stopping to smell the roses and drinking out of a glass half full.

                They may not have much to be happy about, but the simplicity behind that fact itself may make them happy.

                It’s all a matter of perspective, conscious effort and self-awareness. Listed below are a number of reasons why some people are always happy.

                1. They Manage Their Expectations

                They’re not crushed when they don’t get what they want – or misled into expecting to get the most out of every situation. They approach every situation pragmatically, hoping for the best but being prepared for the worst.

                2. They Don’t Set Unrealistic Standards

                Similar to the last point, they don’t live their lives in a constant pursuit towards impossible visions of perfection, only to always find themselves falling short of what they want.

                3. They Don’t Take Anything for Granted

                Happiness rests with feeling fulfilled – those who fail to stop and appreciate what they have every now and again will never experience true fulfillment.

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                4. They’re Not Materialistic

                There are arguing viewpoints on whether or not money can really buy happiness; if it can, then we know from experience that we can never be satisfied because there will always be something newer or better that we want. Who has ever had enough money?

                5. They Don’t Dwell

                They don’t sweat the small things or waste time worrying about things that don’t really matter at the end of the day. They don’t let negative thoughts latch onto them and drain them or distract them. Life’s too short to worry.

                6. They Care About Themselves First

                They’re independent, care for themselves and understand that they must put their needs first in order to accommodate the needs of others.

                They indulge, aim to get what they want, make time for themselves and are extremely self-reliant.

                7. They Enjoy the Little Things

                They stop to smell the roses. They’re accustomed to find serenity when it’s available, to welcome entertainment or a stimulating discussion with a stranger when it crosses their path. They don’t overlook the small things in life that can be just as important.

                8. They Can Adapt

                They’re not afraid of change and they work to make the most out of new circumstances, good or bad. They thrive under pressure, are not overwhelmed easily and always embrace a change of pace.

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                9. They Experiment

                They try new things, experience new flavors and never shy away from something they have yet to experience. They never order twice from the same menu.

                10. They Take Their Time

                They don’t unnecessarily rush through life. They work on their own schedule to the extent that they can and maneuver through life at their own relaxing pace.

                11. They Employ Different Perspectives

                They’re not stuck in one perspective; a loss can result in a new opportunity, hitting rock bottom can mean that there’s no where to go but up.

                12. They Seek to Learn

                Their constant pursuit of knowledge keeps them inspired and interested in life. They cherish information and are on a life-long quest to learn as much as they can.

                13. They Always Have a Plan

                They don’t find themselves drifting without purpose. When something doesn’t go as planned, they have a plan for every letter in the alphabet to fall back on.

                14. They Give Respect to Get It

                They are respectful and, in turn, are seen as respectable; the respect they exude earns them the respect they deserve.

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                15. They Consider Every Opportunity

                They always have their eyes open for a new road, a new avenue worth exploring. They know how to recognize opportune moments and pounce on them to make the most of every situation. Success is inevitable for them.

                16. They Always Seek to Improve

                Perpetual self-improvement is the key towards their ongoing thirst for success. Whatever it is they do, they take pride in getting better and better, from social interactions to mundane tasks. Their pursuit at being the best eventually materializes.

                17. They Don’t Take Life Too Seriously

                They’re not ones to get offended easily over-analyze or complicate matters. They laugh at their own faults and misfortunes.

                18. They Live in the Moment

                They don’t live for tomorrow or dwell on what may have happened yesterday. Every day is a new opportunity, a new chapter. They live in the now, and in doing so, get the most out of every moment.

                You can learn how to do so too: How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future

                19. They Say Yes

                Much more often than they say no. They don’t have to be badgered to go out, don’t shy away from new opportunities or anything that may seem inconvenient.

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                20. They’re Self-Aware

                Most important, they’re wholly aware of themselves. They self-reflect and are conscious of their states of mind. If somethings bothering them, they fix it.

                We’re all susceptible to feeling down every now and again, but we are all equipped with the necessary solutions that just have to be discovered.

                Lack of confidence, inability to feel fulfilled, and susceptibility to stress are all matters that can be controlled through the way we handle our lives and perceive our circumstances.

                Learn about How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life.

                Final Thoughts

                The main philosophy employed by the happiest includes the idea that life’s simply too short: life’s too short to let things get you down, to take things for granted, to pursue absolute and unrealistic perfection.

                For some, employing these characteristics is a second nature – they do it without knowing. For others, a conscious effort must be put forth every now and again. Self-Awareness is key.

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                Featured photo credit: Charles Postiaux via unsplash.com

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