Mel Robbins

MEET THE AUTHOR

Mel Robbins is a motivational and keynote speaker. Mel Robbins is also the author of The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, And Confidence With Everyday Courage.

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The Four Agreements By Don Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz gathers four “agreements” to live by to ensure a better lifestyle, a deeper understanding of life, a life in the moment.

What is an agreement?

The four agreements come from the Toltec teachings of wisdom. The goal of this book is to make each agreement a habit.

An agreement is:

  • a programming of the mind.
  • a language, a code that helps us understand each other.
  • a belief system that has domesticated us.

It represents the rules that we abide to, that we pass down from generation to generation.

unfortunately, we have not chosen the agreements that we have concluded. Most of the time, they have been chosen for us and existed longer than we have.

The Four Agreements By Don Miguel Ruiz

The First Agreement

The first agreement is to be “impeccable with your words“. This means that you must be careful of not using words against yourself and others.

Indeed, there is power in the words that you use. Matter of fact, it is the most powerful tool at your disposition. 

You can use your words to create beauty or to wreak havoc.

“What you dream, what you feel, and what you really are, will all be manifested through the word”.

Purpose of the agreement

Being “impeccable with your words” helps you suppress any toxicity from your mind, free your mind from fear and doubt, and filter out negativity.

Implementing the agreement

Furthermore, words grow and take root in your mind if we are not careful. So:

  • Be true to yourself.
  • Be careful of the words that you use on yourself.
  • Do not speak against yourself.
  • Avoid gossiping and don’t believe gossip.
  • Accept and love yourself so you can demonstrate love and acceptance toward others.

The Second Agreement

The second agreement is to not “take anything personally”.

Often times, people are preoccupied with their own beliefs, feelings and opinions about themselves that they take out on others.

Even if they insult you directly, it is wise not to take their insult personally.

Purpose of the agreement

This agreement is necessary to avoid burdening yourself with people’s problem, setting “yourself up to suffer for nothing”.

Acquiring this habit will help you free yourself, keep your heart open, see people for who they really are, and be unaffected by fear.

Implementing the agreement

Understand that:

  • All opinions about you are not necessarily true.
  • Opinions about you depends on the person and on their moods.
  • We can choose what to believe and what to agree with.
  • You must trust yourself and don’t need to trust anyone else.

The Third Agreement

The third agreement consists in not making assumptions.

Undeniably, assumptions are not the truth and breeds problems.

Purpose of the agreement

The third agreement will help you build better relationships and increase your communication skills.

Implementing the agreement

To properly implement this agreement:

  • Ask for clarifications rather than making assumptions.
  • Remember that it is OK to ask questions.
  • Collect the right data about people and situations first.
  • Don’t assume that people can read your mind.
  • Ask for what you want, expect yes or no. Understand that you can say yes or no as well.

The Fourth Agreement

This fourth agreement encourages you to always “do you best“. It consolidates all previous three agreements.

Purpose of the agreement

Forming the habit of always doing your best will:

  • Save you from harsh self-judgement.
  • Increase your production.
  • Mature your self-love

Implementing the agreement

Keep in mind that:

  • Your best will fluctuate all the time. It will depend on your mood, on your energy level, on your health and on your situation.
  • you must take action without expecting any rewards. This way, you will be able to enjoy your actions better.

Review

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz provides a very powerful perspective on life. It encourages self-transformation, self-awareness, self acceptance, and the understanding of others.

I found out briefly that The Four Agreements, yet short, is thoughtful and goes straight to the point. It calls out society’s hypocrisy, fear and domestication.

Everyone I know who have read this book has felt elevated. It was therefore hard to resist reading it and I have to say that I did not regret it.

As you read, you will find that you already had the knowledge and the wisdom within you but have been holding it back. You will learn to trust yourself and set yourself free.

Favorite quote(s)

The word is not just a sound or a written symbol. The word is a force; it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think, and thereby to create the events in your life.

Whatever people do, feel, think, or say, don’t take it personally.

Even the opinions you have about yourself are not necessarily true; therefore, you don’t need to take whatever you hear in your own mind personally.

All the sadness and drama you have lived in your life was rooted in making assumptions and taking things personally.

Action is about living fully. Inaction is the way that we deny life. Inaction is sitting in front of the television every day for years because you are afraid to be alive and to take the risk of expressing what you are.

Ratings 4.5/5

Author

Don Miguel Ruiz

Daring Greatly By Brené Brown

In Daring Greatly, Brené Brown explains the reasons why we are afraid of being vulnerable, the different ways we protect ourselves from vulnerability, and how to become more vulnerable in our society.

Daring Greatly means being vulnerable, being engaged, being exposed and avoiding being perfect.

Daring Greatly By Brené Brown

A Narcissistic Society

Many researchers have shown that the American culture has turned into a narcissistic influenced culture, a culture of scarcity, a culture where people put themselves first, think that they are special, are always connected to social media, go after money and power, chase beauty and other vanity, compare themselves, are disengaged and concerned with the idea of lacking.

Instead of putting sown narcissistic people and showing them that they are not special, it is better to seek understanding and find the root of the problem.

Being narcissistic stems from a feeling of not being enough and of being ordinary.

Vulnerability & The Feeling Of Not Being Enough

The feeling of not being enough brings about shame and stops us from being vulnerable. Shame is a universal emotion, is corrosive, “keeps us small, resentful and afraid”.

Furthermore, we become disengaged when we are too afraid to be vulnerable, when we are ashamed, when we lack purpose, when a social contract is not met.

It is critical to speak out on your shame, to be self-aware, to know your self-worth, to ask and receive feedback because knowing your worth will help you become more vulnerable.

To eradicate the feeling of shame:

  • Identify your shame triggers.
  • Observe your self talk.
  • Practice authenticity.
  • Accept your experiences.
  • Share your experience, be vulnerable with someone who genuinely cares about you.

Common Misconceptions About Vulnerability

We are thought not to be vulnerable, not to show our emotions, to look down on those who do. There are several misconceptions when it comes to vulnerability.

Misconception #1: “Vulnerability is weakness”

The reality is vulnerability is not a weakness, is not good or bad. Vulnerable is the origin of all emotions. It therefore becomes important to acknowledge your vulnerability.

Besides, the people who think that they are impenetrable are in fact the most vulnerable.

Misconception #2: “I don’t do vulnerability”

Vulnerability is unavoidable. When we try to avoid it, we often exhibit unusual inconsistent behaviors.

Misconception #3: Vulnerability is letting it all hang out”

You cannot be vulnerable with everyone. It is important to build trust and boundaries before being vulnerable. Otherwise, more times than ever, you will end up getting betrayed and hurt.

Misconception #4: “We can go it alone”

Individualism and going it alone are highly regarded in American culture. In this case, it is essential to construct a support system, to ask for and receive help

Shame As A Management Tool

Most of the time, shame and the blame game are used as management tool, yet is ineffective.

Subsequently, the situations that we face on a daily basis, in the education system, in the workplace, force us to keep our head down and our mouth shut which doesn’t encourage innovation, creativity or the learning process.

Vulnerability & Protective Mechanism

Our protective mechanisms are survival strategies, used to shield our vulnerability. Those shields can go from foreboding joy, to perfectionism to numbing down your emotions.

To avoid shielding vulnerability, it is critical to:

  • Practice gratitude.
  • Appreciate your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Confront your emotions.
  • Live a more fulfilling life and feed your spirit.
  • Focus your time and energy on the essentials.
  • Consider how your behavior affect those around you.

Shield #1: Victim mentality

Some people go through life with a victim or perpetrator, win or lose mentally and subsequently fall into one of these categories.

Surprisingly, the people who have been through the most trauma, demonstrate the most resilience. And, people who don’t feel like victims or perpetrators, see themselves as thrivers.

Shield #2: “Floodlighting”

Floodlighting is essentially oversharing and stems from a need for confirmation and validation.

We have to be careful not to share vulnerable stories too soon with people who have not earned the right to hear them. The people on the receiving end often shut down, lack empathy or feel disconnected.

Shield #3: “The smash and grab”

With this shield, some people use vulnerability as a manipulation, sensationalizing tactic that is common in celebrity culture, as an attention seeking tool.

Shield #4: “Serpentining”

Serpentining is a draining and an avoidance behavior. It happens when people are not facing a situation head on for fear of being vulnerable, of not being present.

Shield #5: Mean-spiritedness

In this case, people use criticism, cynicism and mean-spiritedness to protect themselves. They are mean to people who dare demonstrate vulnerability.

Review

Daring Greatly is essential to leadership, parenting, relationships, finding your purpose and your passion.

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown gives insight into the corporate and the western culture where being vulnerable equals being weak and lets you open to different attacks.

Through Daring Greatly, Brown has gathered data from people from different walks of life so we can somewhat self diagnose and become more aware of some of our toxic behavior.

Brené Brown makes some pertinent point and writes exactly like she speaks. Furthermore, Brown is very open and authentic, shares her anecdotes, fears and doubt. For example, she is vulnerable with us, mindful of the stories to share, lets us into her conversations with her therapist.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Favorite quote(s)

Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.

Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences.

Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.

We live in a world where most people still subscribe to the belief that shame is a good tool for keeping people in line. Not only is this wrong, but it’s dangerous. Shame is highly correlated with addiction, violence, aggression, depression, eating disorders, and bullying. Researchers don’t find shame correlated with positive outcomes at all—there are no data to support that shame is a helpful compass for good behavior. In fact, shame is much more likely to be the cause of destructive and
hurtful behaviors than it is to be the solution.

Much of the beauty of light owes its existence to the dark. The most powerful moments of our lives happen when we string together the small flickers of light created by courage, compassion, and connection and see them shine in the darkness of our struggles.

Ratings 4/5

Author

Brené Brown

Fast Focus By Damon Zahariades

In Fast Focus, a quick-start guide to mastering your attention, ignoring distractions, and getting more done in less time!Damon Zahariades provides tools and strategies to manage your ability to focus.

What is focus?

Focus is the concentration required to consciously block out the noise and the distractions while performing a task.

The ability to focus can be a natural talent. But for most of us, it is a built-in habit, a skill which means it can be learnt.

Why do you need to effectively manage your attention? 

Focus can positively impact your life. A lack of focus will reduce your effectiveness and your work quality.

Lack of focus or mind-wandering is not all negative. It helps us get in time with our creative side and find solutions to difficult circumstances.

However, gaining better focus will help you finish all your tasks on time, make better decisions, solve problems, become more productivity, get a successful work/life balance, embrace failure and learn  from your mistakes.

By improving your focus, you can reserve your energy for relationships, build stronger connections, become more present, increase your memory, achieve greater self-confidence, handle and overcome adversity.

Why are people so unfocused?

Nobody is impervious to distraction. People are easily distracted because they usually:

  • lack interest, are unable to commit or stay engaged to a particular task.
  • lack emotional intelligence and are submerged by fear.
  • are disorganized and don’t structure their day.
  • lack energy. They don’t sleep, eat or exercise correctly.
  • lack control or discipline.

Creating an environment to focus

Designing the proper environment is the first way to zero in on your task and to harmonize your workflow:

  1. Light up your work environment and always take advantage of your natural light. A low lighting makes you drowsy, strains your eyes and decrease your learning abilities.
  2. Some people feel comfortable working with background noises while others enjoy silence. Experiment and find out which one works best for you.
  3. Consider your level of physical comfort. To do so, you can adjust your clothes, your stationary, your sitting position, your sitting time and your sight line.
  4. Monitor the temperature of the room. For example, a too warm room will cause you to sleep.
  5. Breathe clean air.
  6. Practice aromatherapy. Some scents have a direct impact on your mood, mind and effectiveness.
  7. Avoid social situations if you want to work. Human nature makes us drawn to people but interacting with people decrease your focus.
  8. Organize and declutter your workspace. Clutter affects your focus more than you think because it decreases your processing abilities, hurts your creativity and occupies your memory space.
  9. Monitor your time to measure your progress.
  10. Write down your ideas and tasks so they don’t monopolize your thoughts.

Fast Focus By Damon Zahariades (3)

Strategies to overcome mind-wandering

There are several tactics to increase your focus, to relax and to avoid the biggest distractions in your life.

  1. As stated above, it is essential to monitor your time, to set realistic deadlines, to reward yourself and break down your tasks in smaller steps.
  2. Don’t set too many daily goals and limit yourself to 5 tasks daily or else you will feel overwhelmed and pressured.
  3. Identify the purpose for every task.
  4. Exercise first thing in the morning.
  5. Avoid ignoring the ideas and thoughts floating around in your head. Log them down quickly before you forget them.
  6. Identify “internal or external stimuli” that break your concentration.
  7. Record every task that you must undertake by putting them down via a to do list.
  8. To sharpen your focus, to enter the zone and boost your performance, listen to music or nurture silence.
  9. Take regular breaks and naps to refresh your mind, to refresh your mind and to avoid boredom.
  10. Restore your focus by taking a short walk instead of remaining at your desk.
  11. Multitasking is valued by society. However, attacking one task at a time will help increase your performance and your work quality.
  12. Pack all similar activities into one and execute them in a row while monitoring your time.
  13. Break down your day into several tasks and allocate the time necessary for each task.
  14. Stay away from internet.
  15. Spend less time in meetings or avoid meetings all together as they can clog up your day and as they hold little value.
  16. Set boundaries and expectations about your time and your focus.
  17. Turn off your phone for long periods of time.
  18. Observe how your energy fluctuates during the day and use moments where your energy is high to achieve high productivity.
  19. Mediate and take care of your inner peace.
  20. Stop checking your mails frantically. Instead, keep track of your inbox once or twice a day.
  21. Define a daily routine and follow it. Routines facilitates your life, enables ow brain processing. You can use that same brain power to accomplish your tasks.
  22. Stay away from perfectionism.
  23. Completely edit the first draft then come back to correct your mistakes.
  24. Stop “consuming too much caffeine” because it is unhealthy and reduces your ability to concentrate.

Review

Fast Focus, a quick-start guide to mastering your attention, ignoring distractions, and getting more done in less time! is a pragmatic, complete, quick and easy to read self-help book.

In Fast Focus, a quick-start guide to mastering your attention, ignoring distractions, and getting more done in less time!Damon Zahariades shares valuable tips on how to increase your productivity and your focus.

Damon Zahariades shares his preferences and also incorporates practical links  and tools to enable your productivity.

It is a step by step guide, written for leaders, for people from all walks of life, for those who are easily distracted by social media, for those who procrastinate, who daydream easily and those with low productivity.

I like the fact that this books highlights the fact that so many things, concepts and institutions in life are purposely set up to distract us from reality: from the local bully to the background music in the stores to technology and internet.

All these distractions are the reason why most people procrastinate and never achieve their version of success.

Favorite quote(s)

When we lack a specific purpose, we become more susceptible to distractions. We focus on whatever our brains tell us to focus on, rather than the other way around. We become passengers rather than drivers.

Ratings 2.5/5

Author

Damon Zahariades

Damon Zahariades

MEET THE AUTHOR

Damon Zahariades is a productivity expert, owner of the blog Art Of Productivity and the author of Fast Focus, a quick-start guide to mastering your attention, ignoring distractions, and getting more done in less time!.

Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself By Henri Junttila

Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself by Henri Junttila is a self-help book that encourages people to find their passion and get the life they want.

Finding your passion is about exploration, living the life of your dreams, getting out of your comfort zone, overcoming obstacles and bringing out your inner joy.

Passion is waking up energized and motivated to do the things you love. It means being able to persist through adversity.

To identify and live your passion, Henri Junttila poses 25 questions that will help you assess yourself, overcome roadblocks and successfully create your life goals.

Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself By Henri Junttila

Self-Assessment

First, you must get to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, your interests.

Your definition of passion

According to Henri Junttila, you must first discover what the word passion means to you and what it means to people around you. You must also be able to envision yourself living a passionate life and find out how it feels to be passionate.

Keep in mind that your passion is personal, internal and intrinsic to your being. It is not what society, friends and family tell you it should be.

Talents, strengths and weaknesses

Everyone has a gift and it is your duty to find out what you are gifted at because most of the time, your passions lie within your gifts.

Besides, tapping into your strengths will make you a happier person. Not doing so will definitely make you feel miserable, out of focus, burnt out.

It is therefore detrimental to:

  • Explore every single one of your interests and natural inclinations. For example, what do you find yourself naturally talking about? People can have several passions. They should explore all of them and see which ones resonates the most.
  • Remind yourself of your dreams, strengths and passions as a child.
  • Analyze the reasons why you are interested in certain activities.
  • Evaluate the advice that is requested from you and the advice that you give.
  • Take strengths and weaknesses assessment tests.
  • Analyze your situation, how people feel about you.
  • Do things that are out of your comfort zone.
  • Value your natural gifts.
  • Find out how you can apply your strengths in different areas of your life.
  • Don’t take advice from people but instead follow your gut.
  • Strengthen the connection to your inner voice. Your intuition has your best interest and can never lead you astray.
  • Determine what angers and disturbs you so you can avoid settling for mediocrity.

Making A Life Plan

Goals ate milestones. They are there to measure your progress and your passion.

  • Figure out your life goals in five or ten years.
  • Identify the pros and the cons of success. Check if they are worthwhile and if you can tolerate them. Usually the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
  • Work like you will succeed and dream like you cannot fail.
  • Visualize your goals, yourself living a successful life and take the steps needed to achieve that.
  • Detail your plan and the life you want.
  • Improve your problem solving sills.
  • Don’t make assumptions.

Finding Your Passion and Self-sabotaging

We are sometimes our worst enemy. Our assumptions about people or about ourselves are hard to shift or to disable. And sometimes, they can hold us back.

To get rid of the debilitating assumptions that you make about yourself:

  • Find out what you hate, what would hinder you as a human being, what you wouldn’t do, what would go against your core values.
  • Trust your gut.
  • Don’t impose limits to your imagination.
  • Change your perspective on your problems.
  • Review your systems of belief and integrate the ideas needed to succeed.
  • Don’t listen to naysayers. This is hard because naysayers are mostly family and close friends who are afraid of facing their own realities and who are afraid that you will outgrow them.
  • Dream big but don’t settle.
  • Don’t give up on yourself and your dreams.
  • Don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed.

Overcoming Factors Out Of Your Control

In life, there a numerous obstacles to success and to happiness: money, death and other factors.

Indeed, money or lack thereof is limiting. People need money to go after their passion, to recover from failure, to have the opportunity to explore, to remove fear.

However, finding your passion is all about being resilient and understanding that not everything is going to go your way. You must also:

  • Understand that to every problem there are multiple solutions.
  • Understand that nothing will never be perfect and that there is no right time to start.
  • Don’t be afraid of failure or of success. Work like you cannot fail.
  • Follow your passion whether you have money or not.
  • Even when facing obstacles or feeling stuck, take baby steps no matter what.
  • Think about your own death and the legacy you want to leave. Thinking about your own death will help you prioritize and focus on the essentials.

Review

Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself by Henri Junttila is a relatable, quick and easy to read book that helps you to get to know and love yourself just the way you are.

It is primarily written for people who feel lost in the world, who are fearful, who go through life without passion or without a clear purpose. The silver lining is that it’s never too late to find and follow your passions.

In Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself, Henri Junttila was able to share all this useful information in such a concise book. He also provides us with additional insightful questions and a complete workbook, which makes the book completely unreadable without a paper and a pen.

It is imperative that you keep this book close by, that you take your time to answer these questions and that you don’t censor yourself. Your answers may not come to you at first but you can always revisit the book.

Be authentic with the world and with yourself and you will never fail.

Favorite quote(s)

When I see people limit themselves, I get angry. I see the potential in people, but they don’t do anything about it. They settle for mediocrity, and they believe they can’t do better.

Living a passionate life doesn’t happen overnight. It’s hard work, and it’s not as glamorous as people make it out to be. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go after it. It simply means that it takes more work than you’d expect.

Ratings 4/5

Author

Henri Junttila

Henri Junttila

MEET THE AUTHOR

Henri Junttila is the founder of Wake Up Cloud which helps people find and follow their passion. Henri Junttila is also the author of Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself.