What I’ve Read Recently: The Pursuit of Happiness (REVIEW)

Miscellaneous Musings

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We are naturally drawn to the idea of quests; from ancient legends to the latest underdog flick to hit our screens, we naturally gravitate toward a “hero’s journey” model.

In Chris Guillebeau’s latest book, The Happiness of Pursuit, he shares the stories of many of his readers’ personal quests, including his own, in which he visited all of the countries in the world (all 193 of them) by age 35.

When we think of the “hero’s journey” model (a la Star Wars and Harry Potter), we think of these large, sweeping, epic quests. But The Happiness of Pursuit shows you that your quest (should you have one) doesn’t have to be made of stuff that constitutes a sweeping epic.

Having read all of Chris’s books, I can say that this was by far my favorite of the 3 that he’s written. When I first found his website, I pored over his journey. Being a travel junkie, I loved the idea of what he was doing. The book was a great insight into his journey: the things that went on behind the scenes. But I think I gravitated toward it the most because of the idea that having this quest gave him purpose. Sure, visiting all 193 countries was not the sole purpose of his life, but there was something there that resonated with me.

The journey gave him a(n unusual) routine. It gave him structure. While I loved his first book, The Art of Nonconformity, I didn’t take to it as quickly as I thought I might. Some of the language he used in the book put me off a little bit; he made it sound almost as if you didn’t need to go to the conventional route (i.e.: go to grad school, etc.) if you didn’t want to. While I appreciate the message, some of the language made it sound almost as if it was better not to. It didn’t seem to account for those of us in the grey area (at least in my view).

In a recent radio interview, Chris talked about how his second book, The $100 Startup was meant to show people that there are seemingly ordinary people who found financial freedom through unusual means, that such options are open to everyone. Again, great message, but to me, it sounded as if he was focusing a little too much on the entrepreneurial aspect of financial freedom. For those of us (like yours truly) who aren’t sure whether or not they want to be an entrepreneur, this book wasn’t my favorite.

But this one was. For those of you who did not follow his blog as he traipsed across all 193 countries, you may find the book a bit haphazard; by no means does Chris tell his entire story in chronological order. But his story is one that merely supplements the content and helps to emphasize certain points. The wide variety of people he spoke to and the diversity of the quests they undertook inspired me, and I hope it will inspire you. What I appreciated most about this book is perhaps the fact that the language of the book didn’t come across as very black and white. Maybe it’s the much more personal nature of the book, but I found this book far more relatable.

As someone who has attended Chris’s main event, the World Domination Summit, for the past 2 years, I’ve often heard stories of attendees’ quests and personal projects, and taken back plenty of inspiration. You don’t need a life list (although those could help). But for a chronic wanderlust-er like me, a quest holds a certain allure. Reading about the various quests of Chris’s readers rekindled my wanderlust, and inspired me to develop a quest of my own. What that will be, I can’t say, but I’m eager to find out.

For those of you who are restless, who are searching for purpose, or are just chronic wanderlusters, this book is for you.

Any other Chris Guillebeau fans out there? What do you think of his work?

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Currently I’m Loving

Currently I'm Loving

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Remember a few weeks ago when I was raving about Emma Watson’s speech at the UN (like 1.2 billion tweeters were)? I came across this really interesting read that offered a devil’s advocate perspective to her speech. It picked the speech apart following the 6-minute mark. As I was reading the piece, I was reliving my Rhetorical Criticism days. Given that that particular class turned out to be a favorite of mine (yes, I am a nerd), this piece made me happy. It’s always interesting to read opposing points of view. I currently have a couple blog post ideas marinating in the back of my head because of this post, so keep your eyes peeled!

And speaking of good reads, I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m a J-Law fan. So it should come as no surprise that her response to the nude photo scandal in Vogue made me very happy. I also finished Chris Guillebeau’s new book, and the review will be posted soon!

My inner bookworm was doing a happy dance when I read this article about all these studies about people who read actual books. I have always been a traditional person in that way (also, add to that the fact that I can’t stare at screens for an extended period of time)

I just discovered City of the Sun; I am in love. Part of me wishes I was still figure skating so I could choreograph a competitive program to their music. This is my favorite song of theirs.

What have YOU been loving this week? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Currently I’m Loving…

Currently I'm Loving

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The Shib Sibs YouTube Channel

 

As a former figure skater, the ShibSibs YouTube channel makes me smile. Maia and Alex Shibutani are world bronze medalists and 2014 Olympians in ice dance. They put up short vlogs giving us viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of competitive ice dancers and cute little music videos and skits. I had the pleasure of meeting them (along with Olympic champions Meryl Davis & Charlie White) when I attended a competition back in 2010. They ( meaning all 4 of them) are the sweetest people ever.

Maia and Alex conceptualize, shoot and edit all of their videos, and I’m continually impressed by these two. I mean, balancing an ice dancing career with college is hard enough. But these two do that AND manage to interact with their fans on YouTube by giving them a unique perspective on something that so few us rarely get to see, let alone experience.

 

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

 

Since I started this whole self-help/transformation journey, I’ve done plenty of reading. And I’m going to be honest. I didn’t buy much into the books I got my hands on because so much seemed very woo-woo to me. Because I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason.

I had a friend recommend this book to me, and I bought the audiobook on iTunes. Enter the best self-help book I have ever invested in. The author wrote in a language that just made sense to me. She tells it like it is. No woo-woo needed. She explained a bunch of what I would have previously considered woo-woo concepts in a way that I just got. The audiobook is currently hanging out in my phone, and I listen to it all the time.

 

Doing A Brain Dump

 

In addition to writing gratitude statements every morning, I have been doing brain dumps both in the morning and at night. It’s a great way for me to start and end the day with a clear head without taking anything into the following day. It’s also a great way to generate ideas for blog posts. As I get into the rhythm of doing this more consistently, I hope that this will prove helpful.

 

Yoga

 

Doing things consistently when it comes to my physical health (especially given all the personal health issues I’ve been experiencing lately) is difficult for me. It takes me a while to get into a routine, and it’s so easy for a lot of us to overlook things when we’re crazy overwhelmed.

I have been getting back into yoga and Pilates lately. I tried some yoga classes at my local gym, but wasn’t really feeling them. So I turned to YouTube and found SO MANY great options. I’m looking forward to getting back on my mat consistently and making this practice a part of my daily routine.

What have YOU been loving! Can’t wait to see in the comments!

Image Credit: Gratisography

Currently I’m Loving…

Currently I'm Loving

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  1. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): I have never been a meditation kind of girl. My feet go numb after less than 5 minutes sitting on my legs in a Buddhist temple, making my ADD brain do nothing is next to impossible, and staying positive can be hard some days for someone who’s naturally cynical like me. On the rare days that I can actually set aside time to do it, I find it’s incredibly helpful. This video (warning: it’s long) does a better job of explaining it than I ever could.
  1. Shameless self-plug, but I recently wrote a feature on the TEDxSalford website that revolved around Stella Young’s amazing TEDxSydney talk that focused on physical disability. If you haven’t watched it yet, you should. It’s funny, I promise. This subject is deeply personal to me, and I’m thrilled that the piece is being received well.
  1. Stop, Breathe, Think: I have the free version of the app on my phone, and I’m currently loving it. You basically tell the app how you’re feeling on any given day, and it generates a few meditation options based on that. I love that it customizes the meditation options based on how you feel. I know I said I’ve never been a meditation girl, and that’s true, but I’ve read too much about the benefits of meditation to dismiss it completely.
  1. Last week, I mentioned that I was reading The China Study. I recently added another book to my reading list: The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau. I was lucky enough to attend one of his amazing events in Portland, Oregon last year, and it changed my life. How can a guy who runs a blog called The Art of Non-Conformity not be awesome?

So what are YOU loving this week? Let me know in the comments below!

{Book Review} The Science of Getting Rich

Culture & Society, Miscellaneous Musings, Re-framing Your Thinking

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What do YOU think of the advertising language used in the self-help world?

“Find your purpose and learn to embrace your inner beauty in three months!”

“Embrace miracles and live the life you were BORN to live.”

You know the drill.

Sometimes the programs don’t deliver what you’re looking for. You could say that it’s a case of high expectations, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s frustrating.

You spend hundreds (maybe thousands) of hard-earned money, invest time in said programs, and sometimes you come out of the program a couple hundred dollars poorer with minimal gain.

I don’t mean to disrespect those who devote their lives to these programs. They work for some; they have helped thousands of people.

Louise Hay, Dr. Wayne Dyer, the list goes on. And on. And on.

But the reality is that not everyone can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on these programs, and there’s no guarantee that they will work for you.

My experiences on my own journey has prompted me to  talk about books and other resources that I have found helpful (or not so helpful as the case may be).

Yes, it’s more than likely that you will have heard of (or read, or seen) some of these resources already. I’m not trying to force my opinion on you. I’m simply trying to offer you the resources that I have found useful should you need or want them.

I hope that these resources can make you into the person you want to be without you having to withdraw a 3 (or 4)-figure sum from your checking account.

So let’s start things off, shall we?

 

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The Science of Getting Rich (Walter D. Wallace)

Wait, hold on. There’s a science to getting rich?

Or at least, that was my thought, when a friend first suggested this book to me. I flipped the book over and read a quote on the back. It said something like, “The most valuable book you will ever own.”

Or something like that.

When I read that line, I thought, “Oh great. Not again.” All this book needed was a landing page, and more glowing recommendations from professionally photographed people on a website.

Right?

Wrong.

If you’re looking for a short read to get your feet wet, this is it. It’s less than 200 pages.

But Wallace packs a lot into those pages.

This isn’t to say that once you read this book, your dream will come knocking on your door with open arms, but it helps a lot just knowing that your thoughts about your goal are not just your head getting lost in the clouds if you focus on your goal and set an intention.

He says:

“The thought of an oak tree does not cause the instant formation of a full-grown tree, but it does start in motion the forces which will produce the tree, along established lines of growth.”

So, in your case, the thought of your dream career (or life partner or car, or whatever you’re trying to bring into your life) doesn’t ensure that the thing will arrive wrapped in a giant bow on your doorstep, but it let’s the universe know you want it, and the universe rearranges itself so that you CAN have it.

The best part is that he tells you how to do it.

Not in a follow-the-recipie-checklist kind of way. Because, let’s face it. As awesome as this book is, it was written in the 1900s. I had to read the book twice because it wasn’t the language I was used to reading. Diction aside, the guy tells you how to make you dreams come true (cough, visualization and gratitude, cough) and why you need to do what he tells you (i.e.: why visualization is so powerful).

Pretty powerful, eh?

 

And if you go to the Law of Attraction website, it can be downloaded for free in PDF form. Who doesn’t like free stuff?

Are there any books YOU’VE read on your personal journey that you’ve found particularly helpful? Are there any resources you’d like to see here?

Feel free to suggest potential names for the series! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Image Credit: Pinterest