Categories
lifestyle positivity

recent reads

One of my goals entering the new year is to read a new book every month.

I set aside time to read. This is a way I prioritize myself.

I’ve always liked reading.

As a kid I would crush teen romance books.

Now that I’ve matured mentally I’m able to comprehend material heavier than The Fault in Our Stars. I love absorbing knowledge and viewing topics through different lenses.

But wait, let me guess…
“I want to read more but I don’t have the time,”

We’ve all got the same 24 hours.

If you really are driven to do it, you will make the time. It’s simple as that.

The average person has allotments of time throughout the day spent scrolling on their phone. You could read.

I spend a lot of time on public transit. Rather than shuffle through songs until I find one I want to listen to for half the ride, I read.

I made a list of some good stuff I’ve been reading lately for those of you who are interested in expanding your mind. However, while reading these books you must keep an open mind.

These are not your average bedside reads. Well, unless you’re someone like me.

The order of this list is not representative of anything.

MALCOLM GLADWELL IS MY BOY!

During my senior year of high school, I participated in a dual-enrollment program with a local college. During the fall semester, I took Introduction to Sociology.

A reading requirement for the course was Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. This book was my gateway to self-improvement, business-oriented, entrepreneurial reading.

Gladwell’s writing style is easy to read. It’s casual while still maintaining structure.

If you like reading my writing, you’ll probably enjoy his. I take inspiration from his style, as well as a few other authors later mentioned.

OUTLIERS: THE STORY OF SUCCESS
A ‘self-made’ success story is all-encompassing.

In this book, Gladwell explores the background of successful moguls such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Why do some people soar and others fail?

Did you know a Canadian male born in early January is much more likely to become a professional hockey player than a male born during the latter portion of the year?

If not, now you do. For other cool and obscure knowledge, read Outliers.

BLINK: THE POWER OF THINKING WITHOUT THINKING
You’re more equipped than you think you are.

This Gladwell piece dives into “thin-slicing,” better known as a gut feeling.

We have a conscious and subconscious mind both of which are tapped into during the decision making process. What many of us often forget is that our subconscious knows a lot.

More than we realize.

I’m sure you’ve experienced intuitive feelings regarding the character of a person or the elements of a situation that have immediately rubbed you the wrong way. Were you right?

If you’re interested in learning more about how crucial your subconscious is when it comes to quick reactions and decision making I would highly recommend Blink.

TALKING TO STRANGERS:
WHAT WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE PEOPLE WE DON’T KNOW…

I have not finished this one yet. I am about a quarter of the way through and I’ve enjoyed it so far. Admittedly I’m not as hooked on this one as I have been on other Gladwell works. However, I started it during a rather hectic time so I do not have a vivid memory of it. I plan to restart the book sometime in the next few months to look at it with a fresh set of eyes.

13 THINGS MENTALLY STRONG PEOPLE DON’T DO by AMY MORIN
Sometimes seemingly self-explanatory information must be reiterated in order for it to fully resonate with you.

Although I said the order of the books is arbitrary, this book, in particular, I would recommend the most. 😋

I may be biased because this was the first self-improvement genre book I dabbled in. Outliers is categorized as business.

Nonetheless, this book quite literally changed my life. Thank you, Amy Morin. I started reading in February 2019 and did not complete it until late May (??) 2019. Something like that. My copy is beat up.

Of all the reads this one took the longest for me. Oh but it’s less than 300 pages…

Yes, part of it is that I get lazy with reading. But also this book is dense with information!

After reading into one of the concepts I would take a break from the book to work on implementing the change in my life.

Although some of the concepts seem self-explanatory, there is something about reading it that makes it resonate and become applicable to you. Once I began to notice improvements, which sometimes took a while because not everyone is perfect, I would begin to dive into the next chapter.

ESSENTIALISM: THE DISCIPLINED PURSUIT OF LESS by GREG McKEOWN
Figure out what core talents you have. Hone them.

As someone who has always prided themselves on their ability to do many things well this read made me rethink strategies.

I, along with others I have recommended the book to, believe the theory of essentialism would only exist in a flawless society where every individual acted highly selfish. ‘Selfish’ meaning they always prioritize themselves.
But we all know that person who cannot say no. Maybe you are that person.

A truly essentialist society, on a large scale, is off the table. However, there are practices within the theories of Essentialism that when applied externally lead to a positive result.

THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A F*CK by MARK MANSON
Focus on what matters to you.

While I love Mark Manson’s writing style and delivery, I do not completely agree with all his ides. That being said, the man can argue his point well.

The overall theme of the book is to not give a f*ck about anything more than you have to.

Essentially figuring out what aligns with your personal values and goals then pursuing that life.

Sounds lovely! However, not always practical.

If you’re able to get a bit creative in applying the concepts, there are some really valuable lessons to take away from this read! If you’re into sarcasm, cringe humor and a blunt delivery, check out Manson’s blog or other published works!

Next on the reading list is The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel Levitin. I started it Tuesday and I’m enjoying it so far.

Baby is thicc.

After that in the queue is Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses by Joe Pulizzi.

Let me know if you guys read, or have read, any of the books I mentioned in the comments below! What are you reading next??

Talk to y’all soon,
Alex

Categories
positivity

focus on the now

Hey there everyone! I want to share an idea that was conveyed to me through a book I read this week, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. The theory is that we, as humans, do not prioritize enough time to allow our minds to “escape.” During these periods of creativity and/or rest, the brain activates synapses outside its typical radius, allowing the individual’s conscious mindset to expand. Yes; rest, because sleep is amazing!! McKeown mentions “Sleep Is the New Status Symbol,” an article in The New York Times highlighting that the most successful people in the world get 8+ hours of sleep. (both awesome reads)

McKeown has inspired me to make a few lifestyle changes as we transition into the new year — 2020! I am feeling amazing about ending this final month of the decade and entering a new period of life. The remained of 2019, I am prioritizing creating space for uninterrupted thought in my daily life. Proudly I can say I have done this every day of December and plan to continue until it becomes a seamless habit.

During this 5 or 10 minutes, I will journal or meditate.
Yes, it sounds lame — I know. Just give it a shot. Allowing yourself time alone with your thoughts can seem daunting, but remember you are in control. During this time it is important to be aware of your breathing. Being in control of your breath is the most important aspect of being present.

When I am taking my time to escape, I spend a few moments working any stress out of my neck or anywhere else I may feel tense. Then I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I am always astonished at the capacity of the lungs. Feeling the expansion within my chest brings my attention to the shallowness of average breathing. Each inhale fills my chest with air, like helium in a balloon, with each exhale releasing some helium.

The goal here is for the balloon… (you)… to float… (relax). And while this works for me, this may not work for you.
Try at your own risk. I also make sure to set an alarm because sometimes I fall asleep. 😋

Yeah, I wanted to keep this week’s post short and sweet. Remember to be present at the moment and focus on the now. I have found taking control of my breathing to be incredibly helpful in centering myself.

As always, thank you for reading.
Talk to y’all soon!
Alex