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7 Scientific Self-Help Books That Will Transform Your Life

7 Scientific Self-Help Books That Will Transform Your Life

I’m one of those weirdos that prefers reading non-fiction books over fiction books any day of the week — especially when it comes to books about leadership, success and self-help. It’s just my thing. My library is filled with books on how to build and sustain the habits necessary to live the happiest, healthiest, and wealthiest way of life I’m capable of living. And I can tell you without a shadow of doubt that reading these self-help books over the years has definitely transformed my life for the better… But you know what? Every now and then, I’d find myself in the middle of reading one of these books only to realize that it’s filled with nothing more than a bunch of pseudo-science mumbo jumbo disguised as the truth.

And quite frankly, I found this incredibly disturbing. Which is why I decided to put together this list of the 7 scientific self-help books that you can use to transform your life without worrying about whether what you’re reading is fact or fiction. Every book on this list contains information that is researched extensively and exhaustively beyond that of most every other book in the self-help genre. So, are you ready? Let’s dive in.

#1. Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz

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psycho-cybernetics

    The original scientific self-help book, written by a plastic surgeon who decided that he wanted to go deeper than aesthetics — he wanted to change people’s lives from the inside-out. Pick this one up for a primer on self-image psychology. Buy the book here.

    #2. Waking Up by Sam Harris

    samharris_wakingup

      If you’re curious about spirituality, but prefer not to attach your identity to any specific set of religious beliefs, then the scientific approach to spirituality set forth by neuroscientist Sam Harris in Waking Up could be just what you’ve been looking for. Buy the book here.

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      #3. The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

      the-power-of-full-engagement

        The big idea behind this book is that our approach to stress management is all wrong — it’s not about managing our time — it’s about managing our energy. Once we can do that, we can begin finding the balance we seek both at work and at home. Buy the book here.

        #4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

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        The_7_Habits_of_Highly_Effective_People

          No list self-improvement books of any kind is complete without The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. If you had to choose just one single book to dramatically shift your personal development, this is the one you need to go with. Period. Buy the book here.

          #5. The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

          The One Thing Cover

            The ONE Thing is a book for anyone who needs crystal clear clarity on how to set and get goals. This book tells us that simplicity is the real secret to success, and it’s got the science to back it up. Buy the book here.

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            #6. Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

            flow-cover

              This is a book about the science and psychology of “optimal experience” (translation: how to live the happiest, most enjoyable and fulfilling life possible). If you’re interested in learning about how it feels to use your greatest gifts, skills, and passions in a way that only YOU are capable of using them — then read this book.

              #7. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

              the-power-of-habit-book-summary

                In The Power of Habit, you’ll learn the in’s and out’s of habit-formation. In the book, author Charles Duhigg has sifted through the science and busted many commonly-held myths about habit-formation so that all you’re left with are actionable frameworks that you can put to use immediately to help you build lasting habits, and break bad ones. Buy the book here.

                Which book will you read first?

                Now that you’ve got this list of 7 scientific self-help books — there’s only one question left… Which one do you read first? Should you go out and get all of them immediately? Should you read them all at once? So many options. So little time. Ultimately, it’s totally your decision what you do with this list and how you apply it to your life and career. But if I may, here’s what I would suggest you consider as you get started:

                • Subscribe to a book summary site, like FlashNotes Book Summaries to get the key-takeaways from the books on this list.
                • If you’d prefer to read an entire book, I would highly suggest that you read just ONE book at a time. Sometimes, when we see something new and exciting, we have tendency to want to do/learn/read it all at once… and as we all know, this is nearly impossible to do without stressing ourselves out. So, choose a book. And then commit to reading it from start to finish.
                • If you’re in a rush, try Audio books, or Audible Book Summaries.
                • Finally, if you’re in a super rush, checkout some YouTube video book summaries, like this one.

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                Dean Bokhari

                Author, Entrepreneur, Podcast & TV Host

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                Last Updated on May 28, 2020

                10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

                10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

                Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

                You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

                Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

                You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

                Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

                1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

                If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

                Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

                When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

                Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

                So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

                Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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                2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

                Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

                Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

                • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
                • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
                • Answer a few Superpower Questions

                Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

                3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

                Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

                The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

                You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

                Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

                Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

                4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

                The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

                Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

                To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

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                This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

                5. Embrace Your Inner Weirdo

                Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

                Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

                • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
                • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
                • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

                The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward.

                Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

                6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

                I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

                To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

                Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

                A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

                Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

                Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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                7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

                Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

                Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

                What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

                Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

                8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

                Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

                Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

                What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

                These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

                9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

                Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

                This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

                Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

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                “You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

                10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

                Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

                Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

                You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

                You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

                Final Thoughts

                Eleanor Roosevelt said,

                “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

                Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

                By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

                If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

                This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

                Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

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                Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

                Reference

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