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Category: Reviews

Review: “The Game Of Life And How To Play It”

The Game of Life And How To Play It“, is a short, but mighty powerful read. Published in 1925, the author, Florence Scovel-Shinn, was an early 20th-century metaphysics teacher and prosperity writer. Scovel-Shinn reminds readers they each have a path they are to follow, and must do so with clarity, to prevent getting in their own way. Her teachings abide by seven laws, which include:

The Law of Prosperity – (supporting others as well as yourself in success/abundance).

The Power of The Word / Law of the Word – (words are strong, and what you say or hear will influence your path).

The Law of Nonresistance – (what you resist persists).

The Law of Karma – (do good for/ be kind to others and it will come back to you or those that you love).

The Law of Forgiveness – (let go of resentments, forgive and forget).

Casting The Burden / Law of Surrender – (let go of controlling your path, surrender to a higher power and believe it will be worked out).

The Law of Love – (lead with love, however, you must follow the other laws in order to receive true unconditional love).

For me, understanding these laws through Scovel-Shinn’s perspective was valuable in my recent realization of “letting things go“. I now feel confident in following the path created specifically for me. In fact, in the few short weeks since reading this book I have witnessed how these laws play out, and feel free from my control. In the past, I tried to control my path, and talked myself out of perusing dreams while talking myself into things that had no grounds. I allowed negative thoughts to take control and get in my way. This excerpt from the book helped me expel those feelings and thoughts “I now smash and demolish (by my spoken word) every untrue record in my subconscious mind. They shall return to the dust-heap of their native nothingness, for they came from my own vain imaginings. I now make my perfect records through the Christ within– The records of Health, Wealth, Love and perfect self-expression“.

Fear was another form of control I had over myself, and it was in this sentence I changed my perspective; “Fear is misdirected energy and must be redirected or transmuted into Faith.” It is easy to become fearful, especially for worriers. I have reflected on people in my life who have no fear, and what they have, different than worriers  is a whole lot of faith. Now, when I find myself fearful, I turn that fear into faith and know it will work out as it is meant to.

The book has a series of stories of how the laws impact lives, which teach the power of strong belief and affirmation. People who followed the laws changed their lives for the better. They were taught affirmations and used them as a tool for success. Towards the end of the book, Scovel-Shinn lists many powerful affirmations. This part happened to be my favorite and has taught me how to use affirmations daily. A few of my favorites include:

“Every plan my Father in heaven has not planned shall be dissolved and dissipated, and the Divine Idea now comes to pass.”

“My eyes are God’s eyes, I see with the eyes of spirit. I see clearly the open way; there are no obstacles on my pathway. I see clearly the perfect plan.”

“I have perfect work, in a perfect way; I give perfect service; for perfect pay.”

“The Game of Life” is a quick, easy and life-changing book. It changes perspective and allows for freedom from oneself. Each day I reflect back on the laws and how I am using them in my daily life. Each day I share some of this wisdom with others. And now, I share it with you.

 

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Review: “Anything You Want”

Ever heard of Derek Sivers? I had not until I read his book “Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for A New Kind of Entrepreneur”. In the late 90’s Derek was a struggling musician, mostly struggling with the problem of finding an online distributor for his CD’s. It was the rise of the .com era (before Itunes) and no one was distributing music online (especially for small artists). When he could not get the help he was looking for, or could find it in existence, he decided he would solve the problem himself and his company “CD Baby” was born. Before his company was even a company, he started to grow as he gained popularity helping his other music artist friends distribute online, practically for free and out of the kindness of his own being. He had no specific plan but to treat customers well, do what felt right, and saw the big picture without getting caught up in minute details. He spent $1k in developing his business and sold it ten years later for $22 million! Then he gave most of it away (this was not in the book, but a really cool fact!).

What I loved about Derek’s story is he ran his business as a passion project. He was never focused on the money or the growth, but on what he stood for as a person, and what he believed the company should stand for. He had exceptional customer service, and went the extra mile to make up for bad service when and if it occurred.

Like any business, entrepreneur, or human for that matter, Derek made mistakes and had times of struggle. In times of difficulty, he found ways to be resourceful and overcome them. Like most things, this was the cycle of his business, but he realized it was only natural to have issues arise and overcome in order to build success.  He accepted them, he did not hide them and he built on them. If there was a problem he did not dwell and instead focused on improving what was not working.

As you can tell money is not a huge motivator for Derek. He believed a business should not be about making money, it should be about creating a purpose for yourself and helping others. He did see the advantages of money but believed he did not need a dog and pony show of investors and advisors he would have to pay or gave business to in order to create success. It is possible to create success organically.

He believed in the people around him. He found the best people to do the work he needed, but also those he could trust. These people ended up running his business before he sold it. He uplifted them, gave them what they asked for, and could tell when he was taken advantage of and would not stand for it. He also understood he was never going to please everyone and those he could not please he did not take personally and moved on.

And his best piece of advice, is the real point of doing anything is to be happy, so do only what makes you happy. Don’t sit around waiting to find out what that is, search for it, engage in it and believe in yourself and your capabilities.

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Review: “The Happiness Project”

I am a solid 4 ½ years late to the hype of Gretchen Rubin’sThe Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have more Fun”, but I finally read and finished the New York Times best seller. I mentioned before I was first introduced to Gretchen Rubin earlier this year when I heard her on “The School of Greatness”. I decided to dive into “The Happiness Project” as I spent this last year on my own happiness project, and was curious how I would relate. I will get into details of that later, but first the premise of Rubin’s story…

The Happiness Project” is a memoir meets self-help book, where Rubin sets out on a years’ worth of achievable resolutions to help her find a happier and more fulfilled life. Her key was setting expectations upfront, understanding setbacks, and taking one step at a time. This format helped her focus monthly on a new small resolution, leading to a big result (i.e. Quit Nagging = Working On Marriage, Remembering Birthdays = Cultivating Friendships). There were no crazy, or unrealistic characteristics she wanted to change about herself. Nor did she take any crazy, or unrealistic steps to achieve her resolutions. All Rubin was searching for was an overall way to feel happier, in her already pretty happy life. The resolutions she made and steps she took to meet them taught her mindfulness, which in turn lead her to a life filled with more happiness.

I found myself smiling a lot while reading this book. The reason for my smiles was because I could have written this book myself. Besides a few things like, living in a New York City brownstone and having children, my life now parallels that of Rubin’s during her happiness project. Less methodological than Rubin’s, my happiness project includes daily practices that have led me to be more mindful, equaling happier. Over the past year, I have introduced my gratitude journal, meditation, and more prayer into my daily life. I have put more focus on myself, expected less, appreciated more, listened, and paused before I spoke. I have been diligent to throw out clutter or things not in use, worn a more basic but quality wardrobe, and asked myself difficult questions. All of these small steps have reduced my anxiety, and given me a better understanding of myself. They have provided me with clarity to know what step to take next and confidence in my future. Added up, it has been a lot of work but feels simple, rewarding and fun. Paying off to make me happier.

Even in all the praise of “The Happiness Project” Rubin has had her critics. Many believe Rubin to be a whiny, ultra-privileged housewife. Sure she may live on famously swanky Park Blvd., with a disposable income and have a nanny and a housekeeper amongst other things. She has a lot to be grateful for and happy about and admits she was not the best at doing so (proving money does not buy happiness). She took it upon herself to change her perspective and become happier. I have taken the same small and practical steps to improve my happiness and it has worked in a time I have experienced more challenge than ever. Regardless of how much you have or do not it easy to get wrapped up in all that life throws at you, and easier to consider at the bad before the good. However applying a bit of effort, being more mindful and choosing to be better, does work and will lead to happiness.

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Favorite Podcast: The School of Greatness

Sometimes I find myself stuck in a rut, and even though I always find a way to get unstuck, it is a frustrating time. A few weeks ago when I found myself struggling I reflected on previous times I have felt that way. I wanted to recall how I came out of the feeling in order to move through the process more quickly. I have realized the number one reason I usually fall into this place is because I am not engaging in something interesting to me. When I stop engaging it is usually due to time constraints or burn out on a particular subject. Podcasts have been a tool I find helpful to re-engage. There are endless amounts of podcasts on all types of subjects, and what is great about them they are so convenient to listen to! Instead of listening to the radio in the car, checking Instagram while I am walking the dog, or having the television on in the background while I cook, I’ll simply tune into an episode from a favorite series.

A podcast I have found myself dedicated to is Lewis Howes’ “The School of Greatness”. Lewis has over 200 episodes of  interviews with entrepreneurs and experts on their experiences or knowledge and is always interesting and inspiring. Often times I hear others stories and I think “I can do that!”. I love that feeling, it truly invigorates me and helps pull me out of a funky place when I am in need.

Below are some of my favorite episodes from “The School of Greatness”. Check them out and check out others, to find what interests and inspires you!

Episode: How To Build a Business and Life You Love with Marie Forleo 

Why I loved it: This was the first episode I ever listened to. My husband heard it first and recommended I listen, as he thought I would relate to Marie. He was right, I listened twice in a row and go back to it every now and then. I was really stuck when I heard this episode and it changed my life. There are so many meaningful messages here, and for me the most powerful lesson I learned was engagement.  It made me realize I had to stop sitting around waiting for something to happen and needed to engage in things I enjoyed to get things moving. Once I did this, things started flowing and I gained clarity. So far, what I have learned has worked and kept me pretty happy!

Episode: How to Influence and Inspire People By Mastering The Personality Matrix with Chris Lee

Why I loved it: I am a sucker for a good personality test. I love to find out more about my personality and others personalities in order to better communicate and work with people. I took this test with some colleagues at a past job and in this episode, Chris is great at explaining the different personality styles in more detail. P.S. I am an “Analyzer”.

Episode: Leverage Your Strengths to Fascinate Your Audience with Sally Hogshead

Why I loved it: I am a big fan of Sally Hogshead. She developed another personality test I 100% believe in. This episode is all about finding out the advantages of your personality and how best to display them to others. The test helps you recognize your weaknesses too. My Primary Advantage: Prestige + My Secondary Advantage: Passion = “The Connoisseur”.

Episode: Create Powerful Habits That Make You Happy with Gretchen Rubin

Why I loved it: Gretchen talks about expectations and how specific personalities respond to expectations. (I believe I am an “Upholder” when it comes to expectations). She discusses how we can develop habits based on our personalities and life circumstances.

Episode: The Power of Clarity – 5 Steps to Achieving Any Goal

Why I loved it: Every once in a while Lewis Howes will do a solo podcast where he discusses topics specific to his experiences. I have found these episodes valuable as Lewis comes off as the type of guy I could be friends with, and has made it is easy for me to relate to him. In this episode, he teaches an exercise called, “The Perfect Day”. This exercise was difficult for me at first (mostly because I felt cheesy detailing every moment of my perfect day). However as I get the hang of it and went through it with a professional, I realize I am not far away from achieving my “perfect day” and uncovered little ways I can set goals to achieve my perfect day every day.

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