As regular readers know, I took a class in November called Write Better Faster and since then, I’ve been working my way through an ever-growing list of books searching for the magical cure to my writing malaise. I have not found said magical cure, but I have developed a deep and sincere love for the self-help genre, especially the really crazy ones. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down all the crazy stuff, I mostly just laughed at it and moved on.
But I’ve written down plenty of worthwhile things. Literally, I’ve taken something like 37,000 words worth of notes. Yep, it’s a novella of notes. However, since that many words is completely unwieldy for refreshing my memory, what follows are my favorite ideas and tips. Some are word from word, straight from the book referenced, and others are paraphrased, or my summary of what I learned from a given title.
1) Consider scheduling focused work time on a weekly basis and sticking to the schedule. Structure enables focus. (Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World)
2) Live your life with awareness and engagement. Be awake to what’s going on, commit to actively participating in your life. First principle for becoming the person you want to be: ask yourself, “Am I willing, at this time, to make the investment required to make a positive difference on this topic?” (Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts–Becoming the Person You Want to Be)
3) Focus on one wildly important goal. Track it using lead measures and create a compelling scoreboard that lets you celebrate successes, no matter how small. (The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals)
4) Track your damn self. Practice appreciation and gratitude to reward your past self so you feel motivated to continue. (Well Designed Life: 10 Lessons in Brain Science & Design Thinking for a Mindful, Healthy, & Purposeful Life)
5) Find your tribe, lean on them when you fail, and get back on your path. (Well Designed Life: 10 Lessons in Brain Science & Design Thinking for a Mindful, Healthy, & Purposeful Life)
6) When we trust that we live in an abundant universe and give freely, we raise our frequency, strengthen our faith, and feel awesome, thereby putting ourselves in flow and the position to receive abundant amounts in return. (You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life)
7) Stop judging yourself. Take your aspirations and break them down into tiny behaviors. Embrace mistakes as discoveries and use them to move forward. (Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything)
8) The ability to feel good at any given moment is a superpower that can change your life. Celebration is a specific technique for behavior change and a psychological frame shift. It is something you do to create a positive feeling inside yourself (the positive feeling is called Shine.) This is NOT OPTIONAL. The power of feeling good is the best way to create habits. Start with the Maui Habit: every day, as soon as you wake up and put your feet on the floor, say, “It’s going to be a great day.” If that’s a stretch, say, “It’s going to be a great day — somehow.” (Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything)
9) Fear is excitement without the breath. Feel the fear, breathe into it, and it will turn into excitement. (The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level)
10) Create value and delight, because there is nothing better than delighting people. The best job of all is doing something that doesn’t feel like a job. (The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level)
This isn’t a true top ten, because it’s not organized. Number one is no more important than number ten and vice versa. But I do think #8 is a good thing to work on. I’ve cried every day this past week and every time I find myself getting trapped in ruminating and sadness and anger, I put my feet on the floor and remind myself that today can be a great day if I want it to be. It sounds hokey, but it does help.