My Top Five Personal Development Books

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I am an addict!

Yep – a hardcore, long term addict, and my addiction is books. I am one of those people who experiences a dopamine hit when I get home and there is a package from the bookstore on my doorstep with my latest purchase.

I eagerly rip open the parcel and will often sit and scan the first few paragraphs before adding it to my (already large) pile of books to read. Sometimes I end up sitting there for two hours and consuming half the book before I even realise what I’ve done. Books just light me up!

I was asked the other day what my favourite personal development books are, and I must admit I found it to be a hard question. There are just so many!! And within that very broad topic there are so many sub-topics so to narrow it down to five is a very tall order!

Since then I have put some dedicated thought in to the question and have finally managed to cut down my list to five. Here they are:

Maximum Achievement by Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy is the man!  He is one of the world’s leading authorities on success and personal achievement, addressing more than 100,000 men and women each year in both public and private seminars. Maximum Achievement is an easy read chocked full of ideas, concepts, and methods used by high-achieving people in every field.

Mr Tracy gives you a powerful and proven system – based on twenty-five years of research and practice – that you can apply immediately to get even better results in every area of your life.

This book is all about unlocking your individual potential for personal greatness.  If you choose to implement the learnings from this book, you will immediately become more positive, persuasive, and powerfully focused in everything you do. Who doesn’t want more of that?

The book lays out a step-by-step blueprint for creating success and achievement and includes proven principles based on psychology, religion, philosophy, business, economics, politics, history, and metaphysics.

I would have bought at least fifty copies of this book over the last few years to give to clients and friends, as well as advising countless others to read it.

If you haven’t read this book, do yourself a favour and get it!

Dying To Be Me by Anita Moorjani

I am a firm believer in the spiritual plane and I love books that explore that world. This one blew me away!

In this truly inspirational memoir, Anita Moorjani relates how, after fighting cancer for almost four years, her body – overwhelmed by the malignant cells spreading throughout her system – began shutting down. As her organs failed, she entered into an extraordinary near-death experience where she realised her true worth and why her body had created the illness in the first place.

Upon regaining consciousness, Anita found that her condition had improved so rapidly that she was able to be released from the hospital within weeks – without a trace of cancer in her body! This is what is called a Radical Remission, something that her doctors struggled with.

In the book, Anita shares her story and the journey that she has been on.  She was raised in a traditional Hindu family while growing up in Hong Kong, in a largely British and Chinese community, and therefore experienced a continual pushing and pulling of cultural and religious customs. She talks about the challenges of establishing her career and finding love and the continual pressure she felt while trying to meet everyone else expectations.

What I love about Anita’s story is there is something for everyone.  She shares all she has learned about illness, healing, fear, love and how each of us is truly magnificent.  As Wayne Dyer, one of the greatest spiritual teachers of the 21st century says, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience”. This book definitely supports that statement.

The Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins

I have talked about the awesomeness of The Five Second Rule consistently since I read it about a year ago!

This book makes my list because Mel Robbins has come up with a tool that is so simple, so elegant and yet SO very effective that anyone can create change in their life by using it. I like that!!

So often in life, our fear stops us.  We find an excuse, we baulk at the critical moment or we simply talk ourselves out of taking the action required to help us achieve what we want.  The Five Second Rule is the tool that will help you have the courage and confidence to do the “thing”, whatever your “thing” is.

This tool is what will allow you to push yourself in that critical moment. I use it all the time and I know it works!

Using the science of habits, fascinating stories, and surprising facts from some of the most famous moments in history, art and business, Mel Robbins explains the power of a “push moment”. Then she gives you one simple tool you can use to become your greatest self.

In my experience simple things work best and it takes just five seconds to use this tool. Not only that, it is hugely versatile and can be used for everything from procrastination to managing anxiety.

Mel has spoken all over the world sharing The Five Second Rule with hundreds of thousands of people and more than 8 million people have watched her TEDx Talk. This lady is no nonsense so and she will kick your butt throughout the book!

The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

I love a good shortcut and this book is definitely that!

The Success Principles contains 67 timeless and tested principles that feels like a condensing of so many other books that I have read over the years.  Every page has sensational content and I love how the book is a journey, layering each new idea on the last one.

In The Success Principles, the co-creator of the phenomenal best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul series Jack Canfield, guides the reader to get from where they are to where they want to be by teaching them how to increase their confidence, to tackle daily challenges, to live with passion and purpose, and to realise all of their ambitions.

Again, it’s incredibly simple to read and apply, if you are willing to take the action!

The book is full of inspiring stories from all walks of life, CEOs, world-class athletes, celebrities, and everyday people, which makes it interesting and relatable.

Taken together and practiced every day, these principles can help you change your life! At the very minimum, it is a refresher course on creating phenomenal success in your world.

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

I LOVE The Five Love Languages!!

Any person who has ever been in any sort of relationship (yes, that’s all of you!!) and doesn’t understand The Five Love Languages is doing themselves and the people around them a huge disservice! This is the greatest book ever written on communicating love effectively.

Dr Chapman worked with couples for many decades and realised early on that there are five main ways that we communicate love to each other.  Like everything else in life, there is a pattern.

What he discovered is that couples who had challenging relationships often were communicating their love to each other in different “love languages”.  There was a miscommunication going on. What that meant was each party didn’t feel valued, cared for, understood or loved. This was the basis for their problems.

Whether your relationship is flourishing or failing, Dr Gary Chapman’s time tested approach to giving and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy and connection with your partner. Not only that, these principles can be applied to any relationship, with your children, your parents and your friends.

The Five Love Languages is as practical as it is insightful and I feel confident that you will get huge value from reading it.

If you have read an amazing books lately, I would love the recommendation!  Pop the book title in the comments and share it with all of us.

Happy reading Folks!

 

 

 

The Right Questions

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So here it is:

The QUALITY of the question you ask will dictate the QUALITY of the answer you get.

The answer you get will dictate the decision you make.

The decision you make will dictate the action you choose.

The action you choose will dictate the life you create.

The life you create will dictate how much happiness you experience.

It really is that simple.

If you ask yourself HIGH QUALITY questions you will end up with HIGH QUALITY answers. These are answers that contain truth, options, possibility and solutions.

Alternatively, if you ask yourself crappy questions then you are only going to get crappy answers.

Examples of crappy questions might be:

Why does nothing work out for me?

Why does no one love me? or

How come I always get treated so badly?

These crappy questions are LOW QUALITY questions. Can you feel the energy of them when you ask yourself these questions? It is very challenging to answer these type of questions in a way where you can grow, feel positive, or even be motivated to change. The nature of these crappy questions ensure that you must go further down the emotional scale to answer them.

The significant thing about the questions we ask ourselves is that they lead us in a particular direction. When we wake up one day and realise that we are desperately unhappy it is sometimes because of the questions we have been asking ourselves – not just yesterday, not just last week, but over the last month, year or possibly even decade.

We don’t often realise that the questions we ask ourselves today will dictate the future we will live in the coming years.

For example the terrible marriage didn’t happen overnight, the $50,000 debt wasn’t just one bad decision, and the extra 30 kilos didn’t really sneak up on us. These situations all came from bad choices, which were based on bad decisions which were often based on BAD QUESTIONS in the first place.

So: How do you learn to ask yourself better questions?

Like most things, it’s through training.

A phenomenal book to help us decipher the decisions we make is called The Right Questions by Debbie Ford. Ford is a New York Times bestselling author and is a very wise woman indeed. In this book, Debbie offers ten profound questions that will help you change the choices you make – ultimately empowering you to fulfil your life dreams.

In the first chapter of her book, Ford uses the analogy of our “internal flame”. This internal flame is the keeper of our life force and (depending on how well the flame is burning) will influence how good we feel in life.

If our flame is roaring like a fire then we are going to be feeling strong, confident and powerful. We will speak our truth and live courageously. We will ask for help when needed and take the necessary action to live our best life. A strong flame propels us to higher states of consciousness where self-love and emotional freedom reside.

When our flame is dim we are more vulnerable, frail and weak. We doubt ourselves and are more apprehensive. When our flame has not been cared for it means we hunger for things outside of ourselves to make ourselves feel better. We don’t communicate as clearly, we worry, and our immune system is more suppressed.

Ford’s book is all about bringing awareness to the decisions you make by asking yourself powerful, high quality questions. These ten questions allow you to get real about why you are choosing what you are choosing and to sit within the truth of it all.

Depending on the answers you get from asking these questions, you can now make an informed and empowered choice to either stick with your decision or make a new one.

Think about something that you have made a decision about recently – it can be big or small. Now run your answer through the following ten questions (some of the questions may not be applicable so just use the ones that suit).

Here they are:

  1. Will this choice propel me towards an inspiring future or will it keep me stuck in the past?
  2. Will this choice bring me long term fulfilment or will it bring me short term gratification?
  3. Am I standing in my power or am I trying to please another?
  4. Am I looking for what is right or am I looking for what is wrong?
  5. Will this choice add to my life force or will it rob me of my energy?
  6. Will I use this situation as a catalyst to grow and evolve or will I use it beat myself up?
  7. Does this choice empower me or does it disempower me?
  8. Is this an act of self-love or is it an act of self-sabotage?
  9. Is this an act of faith or an act of fear?
  10. Am I choosing from my divinity or am I choosing from my humanity?

It is amazing how illuminating these questions are. There is simply nowhere to hide and that is what makes them so powerful. The more connected to your truth that you are, the brighter your flame will burn and the happier your life will be.

Happy question asking J

 

 

Are you ready for an exceptional year?

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Unbelievably, here we are at the start of another year!

It felt like the year moved at lightening pace and compared to 2016, it was a much happier and brighter year for many people.

I always like the new year because it’s the perfect time for reflection and contemplation. How was the year that passed and how do I want the coming year to be?  It’s a time to take stock, appreciate the amazing things that happened, learn from the moments that weren’t so great and get clear on how we are going to show up for the next 12 months.

It’s a great time to create a list so you are able to track your progress, not only through the year but over the years to come. I love to read other people’s blogs and I came across a particularly awesome one during the year by Robin Sharma. It’s a list that he has created and I wanted to share it with you.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Robin Sharma, he is considered to be one of the top 5 leadership experts in the world. He is a best selling author, speaker, coach and mentor and his work is embraced by rock stars, royalty, billionaires and many celebrity CEOs.

This particular blog is made up of 60 different tips to include in your life so that you “craft an exceptional life”

Robin Sharma says ” Ultimately, life goes by in a blink. And too many people live the same year 80 times. To avoid getting to the end and feeling flooded regret over a life half-lived, read and then apply these tips”

Here they are:

  1. Exercise daily.
  2. Get serious about gratitude.
  3. See your work as a craft.
  4. Expect the best and prepare for the worst.
  5. Keep a journal.
  6. Read “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin”.
  7. Plan a schedule for your week.
  8. Know the 5 highest priorities of your life.
  9. Say no to distractions.
  10. Drink a lot of water.
  11. Improve your work every single day.
  12. Get a mentor.
  13. Hire a coach.
  14. Get up at 5 am each day.
  15. Eat less food.
  16. Find more heroes.
  17. Be a hero to someone.
  18. Smile at strangers.
  19. Be the most ethical person you know.
  20. Don’t settle for anything less than excellence.
  21. Savor life’s simplest pleasures.
  22. Save 10% of your income each month.
  23. Spend time at art galleries.
  24. Walk in the woods.
  25. Write thank you letters to those who’ve helped you.
  26. Forgive those who’ve wronged you.
  27. Remember that leadership is about influence and impact, not title and accolades.
  28. Create unforgettable moments with those you love.
  29. Have 5 great friends.
  30. Become stunningly polite.
  31. Unplug your TV.
  32. Sell your TV.
  33. Read daily.
  34. Avoid the news.
  35. Be content with what you have.
  36. Pursue your dreams.
  37. Be authentic.
  38. Be passionate.
  39. Say sorry when you know you should.
  40. Never miss a moment to celebrate another.
  41. Have a vision for your life.
  42. Know your strengths.
  43. Focus your mind on the good versus the lack.
  44. Be patient.
  45. Don’t give up.
  46. Clean up your messes.
  47. Use impeccable words.
  48. Travel more.
  49. Read “As You Think”.
  50. Honor your parents.
  51. Tip taxi drivers well.
  52. Be a great teammate.
  53. Give no energy to critics.
  54. Spend time in the mountains.
  55. Know your top 5 values.
  56. Shift from being busy to achieving results.
  57. Innovate and iterate.
  58. Speak less. Listen more.
  59. Be the best person you know.
  60. Make your life matter.

I just LOVED this list, there is so much gold in it!

So as you moved forward into the new year, take a handful of these beautiful tips and add them to your life.

If you truly are committed to living an exceptional life, take and apply them all.

Happy new year and may your 2018 be your best year yet.

 

A Course in Miracles

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A Course in Miracles is an amazing text written in the 1970s by Helen Schucman and William Thetford, two professors of medical psychology at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Neither of them were particularly spiritual people and the book was certainly not an account of how to live according to their lives.  They didn’t get on particularly well and the office where they worked was often stress-filled and tense.

It was through sheer frustration that Thetford announced one day “There has to be a better way” – to which Schucman responded “I agree Bill – and I will help you find it”.

And so the Course in Miracles was born.

I have been a student of the Course in Miracles for over two years. It is a monster of a text and requires me to be totally present when I am reading.  It found its way into my life in one of those very synchronistic kind of ways.

It just kept popping up on to my radar – everywhere I turned there seemed to be a reference to it.  Every new teacher whose message deeply resonated with me referred to A Course in Miracles as a profound text that had significantly impacted their journey.  After this had happened five or six times I finally said to the Universe “Yes, you now have my attention and I will go and buy this book”.

Teachers such as Van Tharp (one of the best super traders on the planet), Oprah Winfrey, Marianne Williamson, Neal Diamond Walsh, Gabby Berstien and so many others credit A Course in Miracles as a pivotal text on their journeys and I now understand why.

It is a complex read but the messages are pure, enlightened and all about love.  One of the most predominant messages throughout the book is that there are only two emotions – love and fear – and we as humans tend to get very stuck in fear and ego. Unfortunately this is where all the pain resides.

The following passage was written by Marianne Williamson from her book A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles. I think it beautifully sums up the message of the text and it truly lights up my soul:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves: Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

If you get a chance to be a student of A Course in Miracles, take it.  As much as it is a challenging read, the love, wisdom and grace in this book are sure to light up something in you that is truly magical, for you too are a child of God.