This is easily one of my favourite books that I've read in the last 2 years or so. I would say top 3. Perhaps the timing was right and I felt that I can relate to it so much or perhaps it just is that good and a great read for anyone at any point in their lives. I really enjoy Mark Manson's blog in general, but it's great to keep something physical on your bedside table that reminds you to choose your battles wisely. How much better our lives would be, if we only focused on the things that genuinely mattered to us?
If you feel overwhelmed, not sure which direction to go, confused or just need a different perspective on personal growth, responsibility and achievements - this book is a must read. We are so lucky to live at a time where so many opportunities are just around the corner and we have the option to choose different paths for ourselves. However, sadly this has become also a downfall for a lot of people simply because they loose focus (been there) and the feeling of overwhelm takes over. We often loose the track of what we care about but this book breaks down some essential thought patters and actions that can be taken to avoid that and welcome clarity and motivation.
Here are some of my main takeaways from this book. Most of the pages in my book are highlighted, but I've narrowed down to a few that stood out to me the most and these thoughts/reminders are something that can be incorporated as some of your main values when it comes to life, work, relationships:
WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO STRUGGLE FOR?
"Pleasure is the easy question & pretty much all of us have the same answer.”
This has become one of my favourite questions to ask myself. An answer that you give to this question can bring so much clarity and understanding of yourself, which in return will help you make better decisions and put your time and effort into things that really matter to you.
I can speak about this from a personal experience. When starting our business, I was sure of two things: 1) I wanted to create something beautiful that is helpful and valuable to others and 2) I wanted to be my own boss. Between that there was a very confusing, overwhelming, sometimes painful journey with lots of questions, uncertainty, getting out of my comfort zone, fear and the thought that the time that's been devoted to creating something might not even come to any kind of fruition. However, above all that, I knew very deeply that I am willing to struggle for that. And we are still growing. The fear, feeling overwhelmed, uncertain is still there, but when I look back, I realise that a lot has also been accomplished and we have a clear vision (and most importantly - belief) of where we want to go. That is what keeps me going. I am willing to struggle and work for that goal.
Always ask yourself difficult questions. "Why" is a great value based question to help you understand yourself and also eliminate things that really don't matter to you, so you stop wasting time on these things. One of the first things you can start with is defining what success means to you. All of our goals are focused on some form of success, whatever that means to you. The problem is that many of us don't even know what success looks like to us. A big house? Beautiful car? A luxury holiday? New shoes? Or perhaps giving back to others? Creating something that serves others? Helping a friend? Being able to spend quality time with your family? This is the first question you should ask yourself even before starting the process of goal setting and envisioning your future. Getting clear on your values and success will help you set goals and actions that you are excited about and you truly enjoy the results when these goals are accomplished.
This honest questioning invites more self awareness and the more uncomfortable the answer, the more likely it's true and you can get to the bottom of the problem and solve it.
FAILURE - PICASSO STORY
For those who might have not just read the book (I really hope you do), I want to share a paragraph from the book about Pablo Picasso. It's an amazing example that shows the importance of failure in order to achieve success:
"When Pablo Picasso was an old man, he was sitting at a cafe in Spain, doodling on a used napkin. He was nonchalant about the whole thing, drawing whatever amused him in that moment - kind of the same way teenage boys draw penises on bathroom stalls - except this was Picasso, so his bathroom-stall penises were more like cubist/impressionist awesomeness laced on top of faint coffee stains. Anyway, some woman sitting near him was looking on in awe. After a few moments, Picasso finished his coffee and crumpled up the napkin to throw away as he left. The woman stopped him. "Wait," she said. "Can I have that napkin you were just drawing on? I'll pay you for it."
"Sure," Picasso replied. "Twenty thousand dollars."
The woman's head jolted back as if he had just flung a brick at her. "What? It took you like two minutes draw that."
"No, ma'am," Picasso said. "It took me over sixty years to draw this." He stuffed the napkin in his pocket and walked out of the cafe."
Failure is a huge part of our life. The quicker we learn to accept it and even welcome it, the easier our lives become. Every failure or a mistake builds up a chain of experiences that lead us to where we are meant to be, where we grow, know better and do better. There is no success without failure.
"DO SOMETHING" PRINCIPLE
I loved the quote that was shared in the book by Mark Manson's high school teacher Mr. Packwood: "If you're stuck on a problem, don't sit there and think about it; just start working on it. Even when you don't know what you're doing, the simple act of working on it will eventually cause the right ideas to show up in your head." I know that this works for me personally in every area of my life. Whenever I feel stuck or I'm not sure where to start working on a project, I simply start with research, then note down simple steps that I can do each day to move closer to my goal. These little steps give confidence that you are moving forward and, most importantly, it becomes your source for motivation and inspiration to do more.
The worst you can do is to just dwell on the problem/issue/challenging situation in your life and think of how difficult it is. Action invites inspiration and that in return promotes motivation. Even tacking small tasks each day will make you feel a sense of accomplishment.
Even when you feel stuck, unhappy or overwhelmed, start with little actions that make you feel better. Enjoy the simple pleasures of life, do something that makes you smile. These little actions will change your mood and you will gain a completely new perspective of what you need to be doing as well as feel motivated to do it.
Thank you so much for reading. Can't wait to hear what you thought of this book as well as some of your favourite takeaways.
With much love,
Zane & the Dear Diary team