From time to time, I love to read books more than once. I see no reason to buy a book, read once, and then change their purpose to “dust collector”. Each time you read any book again, you can take something completely new, which you can use to improve your life and better understand the author.
It was that month when I went back to “classics” in my library when it comes to the area of personal development. These three books changed my mind some time ago and I treat them as my personal guides.
1. The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
If you ask me, what can make a difference in every life’s area, I will tell you that the answer is easy to find in this book. Jeff Olson focuses on the development of the personal “slight edge” to build better habits and have an advantage over the competition. The author refers also to known knowledge from the books about setting goals and changing life but he did it in an original way, to encourage us to start using that knowledge.
- Believe in compound interest – the most powerful idea, that author would like to share with readers it’s about compound interest. It really matters to invest a little regularly and time-based power will do the work to give you wealth. Small actions, performed regularly compound in your personal relationships, career, skills, education, and so on. To illustrate that there is a great video which is explaining this idea.
- Stop believing in a “magic formula” – success doesn’t happen instantly. No one can achieve something overnight. It requires time and effort and, as mentioned in the previous point, regular investment over time. We may feel frustrated sometimes because we cannot see the immediate effects of our actions. The formula for succeeding is to perform, easy to do regular activities – but the author warns what they are also easy not to do so this is the reason why we feel stuck in life.
- Be on the “success curve” – many times we focus on what we can’t change – we follow the failure curve to live in the past. The author proposes to start using the “success curve”. It means to learn from the past and use it, as a tool, to improve the future. This path is also described as a path of mastery, a path of failing, trying again, and getting a little better every day. Staying on this path also means having a desire and having a feeling of something that you desire at the same time.
- Follow the models – in many cases, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel again. Many people achieved in the past what we would like to achieve right now. Jeff Olson urges to seek those people and follow their path. Finding a mentor is the best way to accelerate your progress.
- Change your philosophy – all of the points mentioned above have something in common – to take and use them you have to change your philosophy. You need to shift from temporary to ongoing, long-term success. In this philosophy, the definition of success is also different, especially when it comes to the required time. The important part is also patience – to recognize the value of work over the course of time. We can make a huge change but we must be patient because it may take a long time to make this happen. With that mindset, we will feel less dissatisfaction and we will be more open to practicing gratitude and feel happiness in life.
2. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
In this New York Times bestseller, Mark Manson tries to make us aware about the approach to life which makes sense and which gives as many benefits as it is possible. The author is a source of knowledge that can be found in many books about personal development, but his voice is very straightforward, blunt, and intelligent at the same time.
- Be selective – the author would like to convince us to take care only about important things for us. We always have a choice, what to think about, what to eat, where to go, what kind of person we would like to be etc and we need to use this privilege. In addition to that, it’s really crucial to feel comfortable with being different. Also, we have to be minimalist when it comes to the number of things that we care about.
- Spirituality is the main problem – in the era where most people do not have material problems the main issue that we have to work on is existential and spiritual. We have too many choices, too many opportunities and we don’t know what to choose which causes mental issues. We can work on our sense of life by finding something which will be meaningful for us and will take a course of our life.
- Life without problems doesn’t exist – instead of focusing on superficial pleasure, we can learn to have pleasure from the problems where we really enjoy solving them. The paradox is that the desire for negative experiences (problems) can be a positive one. Solving problems is a constant process, they will never end. The important note is that we are not special in our “real-life” problems and many people suffer from the same.
- Understanding emotions – we can learn a lot from our feelings. We shouldn’t deny negative emotions – by ignoring them we lead ourselves only to deeper and more prolonged negative emotions. They may mean that there is an action that you have to take – positive emotion is a reward for taking the correct actions. On the other hand, we should question our emotions – we never know if they are right.
- Some day you will die – to get the most from life it’s crucial to be aware that we are not immortal. If we are confronted with that truth it’s much easier to ignore crappy and fragile values in life. It helps us to see ourselves as something bigger, someone who can give much more to the larger entity.
3. Atomic Habits by James Clear
The best book, in my opinion, about habits. The author explains how to work with the bad habits and how to build the good ones. James Clear decomposed the process into a few steps which are easy to follow. From my perspective, this book is strongly related to the content shared in The Slight Edge.
- Understand the habit loop – this the key concept that allows us to work with the habits. The habit can be broken into four steps: cue, craving, response, and reward. We can work with bad habits, for example, by eliminating the cue that a particular habit causes. With these steps, four rules are associated.
- Rules of building better habits – these are (1) make it obvious (2) make it attractive, (3) make it easy, and (4) make it satisfying. The author in the book describes each of the rules in detail and how they can work together. On the other hand, James Clear proposes the inversions of these rules: (1) make it invisible, (2) make it unattractive, (3) make it difficult, and (4) make it unsatisfying. They may be used to break bad habits.
- Tracking the habit – in the book we can find an easy way to track progress on our habit, in other words, how to stick with it every day. The approach is to mark red “X” in the calendar on the day where we work on habit. It is very satisfying to see that a chain composed of “X” becomes longer and longer and you will do everything to don’t break that chain.
- Keeping motivation – the main problem is to keep the motivation to do the same things regularly. The author suggests that we can use the 2-minute rule which the author describes as When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do. It is also good to know that making a schedule for our new habit also will keep us motivated because we will feel obligated to do something.
- Create an accountability partner – it will be much easier to keep going with new habits if someone is watching if you are really doing it. That solution also works because many of us do what others think about us so we wouldn’t like to “break the contract” where we declared to someone that we will be doing something new.
What did you read last time? Please share in the comments!
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