Book Review: The Big Leap

I'm in the middle of the audio version of this book.  Basically it's about how we are actually comfortable living our lives in a constant state of not-feeling-so-good . . . and we actually work to keep it that way.  We are so used to feeling "just fine" that we never take "the big leap" into a higher level of being.  In fact, when we do experience a better way of life, we'll unconsciously sabotage everything in order to return to what we're used to.

I was talking to my friend Claire about this book and we agreed that a person's deserve-level has alot to do with taking the big leap into accepting that they deserve not just to be happy but happier.  We have a hard time moving into a higher, happier experience of life unless we feel like we deserve it.  For example, people who are used to making a certain income a year like to think that they would like to make more money, but year after year they make the same income because they have not learned to feel that they deserve more.  As miserable as they are bouncing checks, feeling anxious over bills, and remaining at the same income level year after year, they stay there because they're comfortable with that way of life.  Not comfortable in the sense of floating on a pink cloud - - comfortable in the sense of that's how they are accustomed to living.  Yes, they're comfortable being miserable because misery is what they're used to, misery is part of their comfort zones.

Don't believe it?  Think about the different times you were really taking care of your health.  You were exercising every day, eating really well, and feeling better mentally, physically, and emotionally than you've ever felt before.  What happened?  You pull the trigger on your efforts - almost all at once.  You pig out and stop exercising and you're back to feeling like "blah."  In the middle of feeling so great, why deliberately go back to feeling miserable?  Because your deserve level wasn't high enough.  We feel like we deserve what we are used to more than we feel like we deserve what we are not used to.

One more example.  A study was done finding that people who grow up in small, modest homes will most likely continue to reside in such homes when they grow up.  And a person who is used to living in a large, lavish home will most likely continue to live in such homes throughout his life.  One type feels like he only deserves a modest home and the other type feels like he deserves a big home.

Good things come to those who wait?

Whenever you set a goal, life is going to send you all kinds of situations and circumstances to test you.  It's life's way of asking you if you're serious about what you want.

Most people don't get what they want out of life because they aren't serious enough about what they want.

The people achieving their dreams have a completely different mindset.  When obstacles crop up, they see them as opportunities to strengthen their commitment.  Their actions send the message of "Hey, look, I'm going after this thing and nothing is going to stop me.  Bring it on."  Other people see obstacles as a sign that they should just give up.  Their attitude sends the message of "Well, it's no big deal.  I didn't really want that dream anyway and I'd rather quit dreaming than be disappointed or challenged."

Winners make things happen.  Non-winners wait for things to happen to them.  There's a quote by Emerson (I think) and it goes, "Good things come to those who wait."  You've probably heard of it, right?  No surprise how people love to cling to this they sit on their couch watching tv every day.  But did you know that that is only half of the quote?  Here is the whole thing:

"Good things come to those who wait, but only what's left-over from those who hustle."

What do you want?  The glory or the leftovers? 

OWL ASSIGNMENT: Do some end of the year reflecting

Write down the answers to these two questions:

1. List 10 great happenings from this past year.

2. What are 5 important lessons you've learned this past year?

Rolonda's Podacst - "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!"

This is actually a pretty substantial and useful book!

Raised by working class immigrant parents and exposed to Hollywood's most elite experts in every field, Maria Menounos wants to share her tips and secrets with the EveryGirl, on Everything: her systems to organize life, manage time and ascend the ladder of success, her lazy woman's workout, her method to lose weight (how SHE lost 40lbs and kept it off) and her guide to being your own stylist (how to do hair, make up and fashion as if you had a team of stylists).

Maria shares personal experiences and photos from her life and red carpet journey as well as the various mantras, mottos and philosophies she's adapted from the world's most successful women. Maria gives advice on health, career, relationships, renovations, recreation and so much more. From your carpet to the red carpet, she teaches the EveryGirl, on the "every salary", how to groom themselves like the stars, how to live healthier and happier lives AND how to set themselves up for success.
Buy Maria's Book

OWL Assignment: Finish that book

Pick one book that you're going to finish reading this week. 

The University of Your Book Shelf

I think the world and our education system has gravely underestimated the value of self-education.  The prevalent mentality among people seems to be that significant learning is something you do at a desk in front of a chalkboard with a teacher in a room (preferable air-conditioned) at specific times of the day with people of a specific age.  It is as if somehow the learning you do on your own does not count.  It does not qualify or quantify.  Now, I think this attitude is changing as people become more savvy about where and how to get information, but nobody wants to open their mouths and say it out loud.  So I'll be the brave one and say it:

"You no longer have to go to a specific school to learn things now that we have the internet." - Seth Godin

Okay, Seth Godin said it first - but hey, proof that I believe in being a good student.  Before you go crazy on me, know that I am not against going to college or having teachers or getting a degree.  I'm doing all those things...I'm just a little bit more creative about how I do it.  I want people to know that the way we go about acquiring our education is changing...for the better.

Just compare the attitudes.  This doesn't apply to everyone but it is a reality that the average person who graduates from college never goes on to read another book.  What does this say about the education system?  We have isolated the act of learning so much so that students have mentally placed education in a box - it is something that happens in an institution and not without the aid of someone "qualified" to teach us.

Yes, we need teachers, but we do not need to confine our positive experience of them to grade school or college.  Because of the internet, they are all around us, 24/7.  I can go on youtube and watch video after video of talks by Fulton J. Sheen or the Pope or anybody practically.  I can look up talks on TED of people who are leaders in a myriad of fields.  I can read the insights of entrepreneurs who are freely giving their advice about exactly what I am interested in...exactly what I need to know.  I can go on Oxford University's website and take their online course on Bronte Literature and communicate with teachers and fellow students via chatrooms and email as I sit at my desk drinking coffee on an island far, far away from campus.

The fact is that we are not teaching our kids the deepest, biggest, greatest and most profound lesson that they can possibly learn.  A lesson that has the power to serve them in every facet of their lives for the rest of their lives.  And that is that they have the power to teach themselves.  They have the power to create.  They have the power to be the Steve Jobs, Pablo Picasso, or Mozart at whatever they want to do.  Why don't we do this?  Maybe we are too busy and consumed with teaching facts.  In an interview I listened to recently, Seth Godin, a popular author who writes about the post-industrial revolution, stripped this problem down to the hard core issue when he spoke of how we are making kids memorize all these facts when we should really be teaching them how to look them up.  Dare we teach in a way that puts the power in the hands of the student?

Once upon a time, memorized knowledge of facts and mass conformity was a valuable asset.  However, that was during the Industrial Age.  The world has changed...but our education system has not.  It is beginning to, yes, but few are the schools and colleges adapting to meet the needs of students today.  Because of the internet and technology, the world and the way it works is changing at lightning speed and the new economy that is rising is in need of people who are brave enough to take risks, make mistakes, find answers, initiate, be creative, innovate, learn multiple skills, take responsibility for themselves and understand the value of life-long learning and self-education.  Is the education we are giving our kids effectively preparing them for such a world?

At the moment, the learning that I am receiving from the books on my shelf, my experience in the marketplace, my roaming on the internet is giving me eons more in value than what I am learning from my textbooks which are still bent on a student's capacity to memorize facts and follow the rules.  And maybe that is the way it should be.

OWL Assignment: Read This

*This comes from Mike Klingler's Facebook status update.
Most of us have a dream (a lifestyle picture... of how we want to live, give/contribute, what we want to experience) -- When you can shift the definition of "living your dreams" to be the literal "daily steps" of becoming that person who can create the environment that inevitably attracts that dream INTO being the definition of the dream itself, you come to realize effortless creating... and the ..."purpose-driven" life. You can start living your dreams now. It's inevitable that the actual outcome you seek will come when you define "living your dreams" as the work that creates it. And it makes the most sense logically--because by the time you reach your "dream lifestyle" externally, it's highly probably based on those who have done it, that you will have a new dream anyway. Start living your dreams today... change the definition and be it, live now now and always.

Be Glad for the Struggle

This is something I've learned from Darren Hardy and Jeff Olson.   Be glad for the struggle.  Darren Hardy points out in his book The Compound Effect that the fact that achieving success is not easy is a fact that he gets excited about.  Why?  Because the fact that it's not easy means that it is that much easier for YOU.

Think about it.  If everyone was incredibly driven, never giving up, never slowing down, then it would be much, much harder for you to make a significant difference, to stand out, to rise above.  It is to your advantage that most people are not driven because while they're sitting on their couches, there is more opportunity out there for the significant few willing to keep on keeping on.  The competition on the extra mile is almost non-existent.

Jeff Olson tells the story of his daughter Amber who was nervous going into an academically challenging school.  He told her that if she just continued to show up consistently to class, she would already be ahead of the large majority of her fellow students.  It was true.  She combined showing up with studying every day a little bit consistently and she came out even more ahead.  She came out on top.

Think about it: most people don't even have the drive to show up!

Be glad success isn't easy, because if it were then it would be so achievable that it wouldn't be would be average.  And then it would only be that much harder to stand out and be significant.

So never underestimate the little bit that you do every day to move forward because chances are that that little bit puts you way, way ahead.

Photo Credit to:

It's not like you're chopping trees!

Are we loosing energy?  Are we becoming weaker?  It's funny the things that make us complain today...that wear us out...laundry that needs doing...emails that need sending...errands that need running...groceries that need shopping (lazy writing, sry!).  With all the rapid improvements that humanity has enjoyed in the last hundred years: cars, planes, decent roads, internet, cell phones, convenient grocery stores, washing machines, dryers, electric stoves, electricity, bathrooms, running water, dishwashers...why are people so tired?  

It's not like we're hauling our laundry to the river and washing it on rocks.  We dump it in a machine and press a button.

It's not like we're gardening and harvesting our own food.  We're pushing a cart in a store with anything and everything you can want or need sitting on a shelf conveniently packaged.

It's not like we're taking care of horses and tying them up to carriages that go 10 miles an hour every time we need to go somewhere.  We get in our cars and put the key in the ignition.

It all begins with your thoughts.  If you are thinking "tired," then regardless of how many conveniences surround you, your thoughts are going to make sure your body and mind manifest that message.
Whenever you feel like you're at the end of your energy...that you're working soooo hard....try to remember: it's not like you're chopping trees!

Chris Guilebeau and The Art of Non-Comformity

"Yes, I should be that guy asking if you’d like to add on an order of fries at the fast-food restaurant, the guy who just kept doing menial work with no purpose because he was never qualified for anything else. 

But for some reason, I’m not. For some reason, I escaped the life I deserved and found a life on the other side.
forget about what you’re actually qualified to do. It’s irrelevant and no one cares."

- Chris Guillebeau

To read ALL of Chris' story, click HERE
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