Tag: Self-development

5 Ways to Ignore Everybody and Finally Be Happy

This past September, my teenagers were bickering with each other so much — okay, real talk, actually they were complete and total pre-frontal cortex psychopaths — that I couldn’t even get them to stand still for the picture that they knew I wanted to take, that I’ve moved heaven and earth as a working mother to be present to take, that I’ve taken for thirteen years. Every first day. For thirteen years.

They were horrendous to each other. They were horrendous to me. And, yes, I get it. They were anxious. It’s the first day. But their behavior towards each other and towards me was inexcusable in its lack of civility, humanity, or even just basic kindness. I stood stunned, questioning every sacrifice I’d made, and especially all those sacrifices I chose not to make.  I’d fallen prey to that insidious trap of the comparison game, the one where we define our own success through other people, not just on social media, but in life, as parents and in our work (whether paid or unpaid).  Oh, what would become of me if I didn’t post a photo? I made it about I lost my head, and let them have it at the top of my lungs. And then we drove to school —oh, what a treat to be able to be there for these important moments! — in stony silence, me (not typically a crier) choking back tears the entire way.

 

The Cage Match of Comparison

We run, walk, or even blindly stagger through life, collecting piles of rocks labeled “the right job” and “the right vacation” and “the right spouse” and drop them in our backpacks, running faster and faster on the treadmill of success, and then we wonder: If I’ve done all the right things, as defined by everyone else, why do I feel so burdened, so heavy, so stuck? We’ve stepped foot into the cage match of comparison, and the minute we did, each and every one of us lost.

Here’s why: It’s hard to grab hold of your own goals and dreams —to feel fulfilment in success—when we’ve handed over that very definition of success to someone else.  The solution is easier than we think. It’s as simple as ignoring everybody and their mistaken assumptions of what will actually make you happy.  Yes, I know… ignoring everybody isn’t all that easy, but here are the best ways to do just that:

Don’t give a vote to people who shouldn’t even have a voice.

Let’s face it: most of the people who give you advice — telling you to slow down, take smaller risks, dream a little more realistically — are doing so from a place of fear and anxiety, not about you life but about their own.  Stop letting your audacity be constrained by the limits of other people’s imaginations. Politely excuse yourself from taking every opinion as fiat, weighing them all with equal measure, and allow yourself to be your own dog, run your own race, carve your own path. And all those voices questioning your choices and telling you what you should do and need to do? They simply don’t get a vote—unless you give it to them. And that includes that voice inside your own head.

It’s time to say “Screw the Joneses.” 

When we play the comparison game, we all lose. Social media puts us in a position where we unwittingly judge everyone else’s highlight reel through our own klutzy bloopers outtakes. Of course we look like we don’t have it all together. Of course we feel like we should just do more of whatever it is that the brightest, shiniest friend is doing. Of course we’ll have what she’s having.  But here’s the kicker: You can’t be insatiably hungry for someone else’s goals. And you won’t be satisfied by them, either. Let’s stop, once and for all, believing the hype, and stop hoping that “I’ll be happy when” and decide what will make us happy now. The journey is long, waiting is for suckers.

 

Realize that your fourth grade teacher was wrong about you. 

Back in middle school, we were taught to pursue the gold stars, get the good grades, and shine across the board. We had no say in the skills that got rewarded; and often what we were rewarded for was different from what we loved. So, rather than picking a path based on what makes us special—what we like, what we do well, and where we shine—most of us are forced to pick our path early, based on values attached by others and on interests that aren’t our calling. Remember that fourth grade teacher who said that you should become a doctor, a lawyer, an accountant? They possessed no crystal ball, and yet we internalized their notions as predictions rather than simply suggestions. What if, just what if, that prediction based on nothing more than anecdotal information gathered at a specific moment in time, when we still let our mothers cut our hair and pick out or picture day outfits, was wrong?

 

 

Believe that Ambition is not a dirty word.

Ambition has gotten a bad rap of late. It’s a dirty word—even more so if you are a woman. (Oh, she’s so ambitious!) Part of the reason we’ve lost ownership of our unspoken dreams — those dreams so big and so scary and so exciting that we dare not say them out loud — is that we’ve been persuaded to allow our ambition to be subsumed into something that is more socially acceptable: faux humility.

But, I’d ask you this: How do you want to raise your family? Why do you want to get ahead? What do you want to do with that power? Do you want to change your family, your community, your country, your world? Do you want to make a mark, large or small, on this earth? What kind of life do you want to live?

What do you want your legacy to be? If being in that elevated position, with that increased salary and that greater voice of leadership, allows you to make more of an impact on the very calling that you hold dear, it’s more than just your ambition. It’s your responsibility.

 

Gather your “framily.” 

I’ve come to understand that in order for your life to feel right for you, it has to actually be right for you. The most powerful way to insulate yourself from the misguided, happiness eroding (and often uninvited) opinions of others is to stop doubting your own damn self, and that comes from having the confidence in the choices you make and the chances you take. And, if you can’t find that on your own, it’s time to call a meeting of your “framily,” that combination of friends and family that see your greatness, even if you don’t yet. Tell them what you want to do, where you are stuck, and what you think is in your way. And then let them help you walk through the walls, real or perceived that are holding you back.

Taking My Own Advice

I had achieved the type of enviable on-paper success, because I checked all the right boxes along that path— someone else’s path— and when I turned around and demanded that my kids perform like trained monkeys because I happened to be there for that one shining moment, it was obvious that I was still trying to make it about me. After spending the day considering all the ways I’d punish them — make them wear a giant t-shirt with two head holes, drop them twenty miles from the house and make them work together to get home, and other various social-services-on-my-doorstep type child abuse fantasies — I decided to do something different: I decided to give them a do-over.

I sat them down at dinner and I laid out how their behavior came across, how it affected those around them, and how it reflected on them and the people they hope to become. I told them about how I tried to create a life that allowed me to be there in those moments, but that I failed to see those moments through their eyes as well.  I told them that, rather than punishing them, I wanted them to consider overnight the relationship they wanted to have with each other and me, and what kind of person they were when they were at their best. I let them try again, and I allowed myself the permission to make their behavior situational to the morning and not definitional to myself as a mother.  Which made me wonder, how often are we defining our success through someone else’s lens? How often are we letting other people dictate what happiness should mean to us? How often are we letting the reactionary behavior of others decide our value, our path, our own actions when, really, most people in uncomfortable situations act like teenage boys without fully-formed frontal lobes?

I gave them a do-over. I have myself one, too. And, together we found a state of grace again.

Happy Second Day of School from my zoo to yours!

 


 

Laura Gassner Otting is the author of Limitless: How to Ignore Everybody, Carve Your Own Path, and Live Your Best Life.  Want to live a limitless life? Take her quick quiz at http://www.LimitlessAssessment.com/  to see what’s holding you back, and what you can do about it.

Improve Your Lifestyle With Our Top Nonfiction Picks!

Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just to make sure you’re out there living your absolute best life. This week’s nonfiction picks center around the topic of self-development books, which showcase how you can improve your health, quality of life, and more with these great reads. Listen: we’re all trying to keep it together. But, with the right tools, staying on our game doesn’t have to be such a daunting task. Let’s dive into our picks and take a look!

 

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5. The Science of Self-empowerment by Gregg Braden

The Science of Self-Empowerment by Gregg Braden is about applying the advanced sense of awareness and spirituality that monks, nuns, and mystics have to our daily lives! Incorporating both scientific and philosophical perspectives, this book helps one achieve a form of spirituality that encourages true growth. Using real-world science to ground its claims, this self-help book that will find you rising to new heights and maybe even centering yourself like the worlds most spiritually-oriented people do.

 

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4. Do it Scared by Ruth Soukup 

Do It Scared by Ruth Soukup is for anyone who feels like they’re stuck in a rut or not taking the chances they really want to. The book helps you identify the source of your fears and tackle them with detailed, hands-on exercises. It lets you not only develop a plan but also, and perhaps more importantly, have the means and method to push yourself toward achieving your goals. This book contains the message that life is about taking chances and will absolutely help you take the first steps toward a better existence.

 

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3. Turning Dreams into Reality by Yuval Tabib

Turning Dreams Into Reality by Yuval Tabib is based on experiences of the author and how Tabib made their dreams ‘truly’ come true. It’s hard work, but this book has a lot of answers that will make your existential problem-solving a more enjoyable experience. Drawing on theories from physics and Quantum Theory, this book has the answers to make you bend the world around you rather than let it control your life. Though actually achieving your dreams is certainly never an easy feat, purchasing this book certainly will be! Go out and go for it.

 

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2. Life Admin by Elizabeth Emes 

Life Admin by Elizabeth Emes is about managing one’s life and keeping precious moments from slipping by. The author, Elizabeth Emes, is a working mother with two children who realizes one day that her life is being overwhelmed by all that she has to do. In a moment of epiphany, it dawns on her that she needs to take better control of her own time, and so she offers all her struggling readers tips of how she learned to manage it. This book explores labor and how it chokes our lives while also showing us how to reduce labor… or at least reduce its negative impact on our lives.

 

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1. Own your Everyday by Jordan Lee Dooley

Own Your Everyday by Jordan Lee Dooley is about sharing her life experiences. She’s accidentally started a small business; embarrassed herself onstage during talks; and, like most of us, has wasted time caught up in her own anxiety. She’s had a broad range of life experiences, both good and bad, and she’s become an inspiration to young people (especially women) the world over. Now, she shares tips for overcoming obstacles and redefining success, all based on concrete stories of her own experiences.

 

 

 

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Improve Your Quality of Life With Our Self-Development Nonfiction Picks!

Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just so we can ensure consistent, high-quality recommendations. This week’s nonfiction picks center around the theme of self development books, showcasing how you can improve your health, quality of life, and more with these great reads. What are they? Let’s dive in and take a look!

 

5. Girl Stop apologizing by Rachel Ellis

 

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Girl Stop Apologizing is a wake up call to women: stop apologizing! In this groundbreaking book, Rachel Ellis asks women to stop defining themselves in terms of other people, making themselves subject to the whims of employees, bosses, and family. Instead, women should define themselves on their own terms and try to achieve what makes them truly happy. This book goes over the adjustments women need to make to. their lives and Rachel Ellis overs tips to get women toward a more ideal lifestyle.

 

4. Can’t Make this Stuff up by Susannah B. Lewis

 

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Can’t Make This Stuff Up by Susannah B. Lewis, who made her name online with her hysterical, up front videos that have a comedic, yet wise sensibility of the world. In this book, she recounts her absurd experiences to growing up in a small Tennessee town, recounting funny stories that helped shape her outlook on life. And through it all, Susannah kept her faith to God, learning to balance her beliefs with her life. This is a hilarious memoir with funny stories that showcase how to put a positive spin on life’s bad experiences and grow from them. It’ll teach you some lessons even while you’re cracking up.

 

3. A Walking Life by Antonia Malchik

 

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A Walking Life by Antonia Malchik is a book about using walking to reconnect with our world. Thanks to cars and modern technology, we spend more and more of our lives sedentary than ever before. But walking is what our species was designed for and we derive emotional connection from our spaces, the people around us, and our own mental health through the act of walking. Stimulating and satisfying, this book shows how essential walking is to our lives and how to incorporate it into your routine more often.

2. The Miracle Equation by Hal Elrod 

 

 

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The Miracle Equation by Hal Elrod uncovers a real life formula to help with success. The equation is Unwavering Faith + Extraordinary Effort = Miracles. By having faith in anything you desire then making great efforts to achieve that goal, you will never fail to reach your goals. With this book, you’ll learn how to manage your emotions, turn off your stress responses, and overall, be a more positive person that will help you gain true success in the real world. It’s not a magic equation but it works.

 

1. A Love letter to life by Jeremy And Audrey Roloff

 

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A Love Letter to Life by Jeremy and Audrey Roloff share their experiences of falling in love and more importantly, learning to make that love work. By telling their own love story, they hope to showcase the challenges and joys of a young couple living together. They share stories leading up to the journey to their wedding day. It wasn’t easy, full of bumps and bad choices but the two showcase that they got through it all and now, they hope to inspire you to do the same when you find your soulmate.

 

 

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Live Your Best Life With These New Self-Development Releases!

5. Self-Esteem For men by Jack Palm

This book provides readers (men) about the facts they need to improve their mental health and general lifestyle. The book is grounded in reality, giving helpful tips written in a simple, clear-to-understand language. It encourages a more positive mindset, using data from experts, interviews, and jobs to back up its findings. This book is sure to help you improve yourself by seeing the world in a more positive light and changing your overall patterns of thought to better your self-esteem.

 

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4. Let Love have the last word by Common

Common delivers a heartfelt memoir that will surely tug at your heartstrings. A Grammy, Academy Award, and Golden Globe winning artist, Common builds his novel around the theme of love and how it is the most important force in the universe. Touching on his personal life, Common shares stories about love, from his relationship to his daughter, to his own take on the current political climate, and his own career. Common knows that love isn’t the end-all-be-all of self-improvement, but you can’t have self-love without it! Loving the world while loving yourself is the healthiest way to heal and grow.

 

 

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3. It’s great to Suck at Something by Karen Rinaldi

It’s Great To Suck At Something is a bold self-help book that reveals that it’s okay to fail, regardless of what your darkest thoughts may tell you. Whoa, what a concept! But this book emphasizes embracing imperfection, embracing flaws, and learning to love them rather than obsess about them. Author Karen Rinaldi, who is a terrible surfer and all around imperfect person, but she learns to love herself by embracing the flaws, exploring herself and allowing herself to be imperfect by allowing herself to suck sometimes. (Hey, no judgment. Chances are, most of us have never even been surfing.) She’s sucks, and she’s okay with that.

 

 

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2. Best Self by Mike Bayer

Best Self by Mike Bayer does exactly what it describes: it helps you find your best self possible, Are you really the best self you could be? Are you living your best life daily? Mike Bayer, the author is a life coach who has helped everyone from celebrities to CEOs to normal, everyday blue-collar workers discover their best selves. By getting people to look at their own lives with hard-hitting questions, Bayer helps you find your best self, even if you’re reluctant to examine your own lifestyle with a critical eye. Sometimes, it takes some tough love to get you on the path to self-love, but the intensity is worth it. Growth may be a struggle, but it’s also a profound reward.

 

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1. The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey

The journey starts here. In an inspiring novel from Oprah Winfrey, our Book Club Queen details the journey toward making your life not only successful but also meaningful. The book’s ten chapters are organized around important milestones for your life, creating key lessons and moments for you to create the best course for their life. This creates a framework to organize your own life around, and she shares her own personal stories to help you along. (Remember, even Oprah isn’t perfect: she was fired from her first reporting job at age 23, and look where she is now!) This is a great book to help you pursue what you want in life with passion and renewed focus.

 

 

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Top Nonfiction Books: Self-Development

Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just so we can ensure consistent, high-quality recommendations. This week’s nonfiction picks center around the theme of self development books, showcasing how you can improve your health, quality of life, and more with these great reads. What are they? Let’s dive in and take a look!

 

5. Maybe you should talk to someone by Lori Gottlieb

 

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Mental health is hard to stay on top of these days. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb. Gottlieb is a famous psychotherapist who one day has a complete mental breakdown and has to seek the help of another therapist, a quirky but helpful man named Wendell. As she struggles to understand her own life and those of her patients, she seeks Wendell’s aid behind the scenes of her own life, overcoming her inner struggles with warm, wit, and humor. This is a feel-good book that showcases the important of speaking to someone and showcasing how burying your mental troubles does nothing to help you.

 

4. Lessons from Lucy by Dave Barry

 

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Lessons From Lucy by Dave Barry showcases how to deal with the lessons of old age as Dave Barry deals with depression in old age by turning to his dog, Lucy, for help in living his best life. He learns lessons from her simplistic worldview to inform his own, such as “Making New Friends”, “Don’t Stop Having Fun”, and more. Dave makes his POV world very relatable, informative, and hilarious as he navigates the obstacles before him, always with his faithful companion by his side, with lessons to take for your own life.

 

3. Next Level Basic by Stassi Schroeder

 

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Next Level Basic is the perfect self-help book for millennials, helping to define yourself as the person you are rather than someone who has to defend their own choices of style or interests. Publicly love yourself for the basic things you cherish, such as lattes, pugs, millennial style of clothes, hot dogs, and chick flicks. Embrace your basic side and don’t let anyone tell you you have to be something you’re not. Be basic and be proud!

 

2. Finding quiet: The story of overcoming anxiety and the practices that brought peace by J.P. MOreland

 

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Anxiety is a common problem plaguing us nowadays. This work tackles the difficult subject head on and centers around author J.P. Moreland. A prominent author, professor, and philosopher, he awoke one night to a severe panic attack. For more than decade, Moreland struggled with mental illness, battling panic attacks and depression throughout his life. Now, he’s managed to deal with his mental troubles and wants to help those who suffer from similar mental problems, calling upon his own methods that help calm himself to showcase to the reading audience. Sometimes brutally honest but always nurturing and helpful, this book offers solutions to managing mental illness and shows anyone suffering from it they aren’t alone.

 

1. Everything is F*cked: A book about hope by Mark Manson

 

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Hope is hard to find in today’s times. Everything seems to be falling apart, with the government failing, the planet’s changing climate, and the economy seems on the verge of collapse. Everyone is more connected than ever but we simply can’t get over the perpetual idea that society is failing. Everything seems doomed. Author Mark Manson tries to offer a guiding hand, defining our relationship to technology, our own flaws, and finding hope it what seems to be a dark world. Mixing his well educated, well researched erudite manner of speech with often blunt and crazy humor, Manson defies us to find hope in our time and challenges us to make changes to make us happier, even if it’s very hard. This is a blunt exploration of the world today and allows us to find happiness even with the craziness of modern life.

 

 

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