I have a habit of plowing through books as fast as I can and not going back to summarize what I just read or re-read anything I’ve highlighted. I think I absorb the information subconsciously (at least I hope so), but if you were to ask me what I learned from a specific book, I probably couldn’t remember.
I’m writing this post to force myself to re-visit some important concepts I’ve learned from some of my favorite books. The topics range from life to psychology to emotional well-being, but they all contribute to becoming a better human and saving you from yourself so you can do the things you want.
How Will You Measure Your Life?
This was a book about business mashed up with a book about how to run your life. The author draws a lot of parallels between the two, which I thought was super interesting.
For example, every relationship we have with someone or something is a job.
The job of IKEA as a company is to help people get their homes furnished quickly.
When you’re in a relationship, you’re doing jobs for your partner. Oftentimes we do nice things for our partner, but these nice things may not be the job your partner needs you to do in that moment. Concrete example: you could be ignoring your partner when they’re trying to tell you about something important, because you’re busy on the computer trying to find a vacation deal.
Another example: some companies do things to make short-term gains (like buying Instagram followers or something), which does nothing for the long-term success of the business.
Many people do the same thing in their lives, like working long hours to get promotions so they have more money to buy stuff they don’t need (short-term gains), and in the meantime neglecting to invest time in being there for their children to teach them good values (long-term gains).
It’s a short book but dense with lots of valuable information, including stuff about raising children. I highly recommend it.
The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness
The main premise of The Slight Edge is that decisions we make in life, even if they are really minor, either move us toward our goals or away from them.
Compounded over the course of your whole life, these decisions either lead you further toward or further away from a life that you want. Your life is essentially a culmination of these habits.
In order to be successful, you always have to do those things that you don’t want to do, even when no one is looking.
My favorite quote from this book:
familiarity: it is the silent sleepy comfort of carbon monoxide
(this is what I imagine the author did when he came up with this analogy)
You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life
There are a lot of great little tips in this book, but my favorite one that helps a lot whenever I get anxiety is to think the following:
I just wanna see what I can get away with.
For whatever reason, thinking this way takes so much pressure off me and forces me to take a step back. I tend to have an uncontrollable feeling that whatever I’m anxious about — whether it’s a job interview, a meeting or a big presentation — is the most important thing in the world and determines the value of my life or something.
The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know
Men tend to be overconfident, and women tend to feel confident only when they feel they are perfect. Women also have less serotonin, which is a hormone that regulates anxiety, and they have less testosterone, which is associated with risky behavior.
Ways to build confidence:
- Powerpose to create testosterone in your body
- Instead of internalizing failure and making it about yourself, externalize it and make it about the SITUATION
- Don’t ruminate and think too much about doing stuff that’s scary or you will talk yourself out of it
Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story
This was Jewel’s autobiography, which I learned about when I saw her interview on the Ask Gary Vee Show (which you should go watch if you like Jewel or want to know more about happiness and mental health).
Although the book is a story about Jewel’s life, she sheds light on lessons she learned having lived through many hardships. She continually emphasizes that you can always control your mind, no matter what is happening around you, and the importance of “digesting” pain instead of avoiding or burying it.
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
A really important concept in this book is the idea of a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset.
If you have a growth mindset, you believe that you can grow and be better than you are today.
If you have a fixed mindset, you believe that the way you are can’t be changed and it’s how you’ll always be.
Why is this important? If you have a fixed mindset, you’ll never try in the face of adversity. Experiencing struggle and pushing past changes the brain and makes you better at whatever you were trying to learn or do.
Side note: this is exactly why playing “brain games” in order to “prevent aging” aren’t actually doing anything — because they aren’t hard enough.
The Power of Habit
The amount of willpower we have in one day is LIMITED!!
The more you use up, the more difficult it is to make yourself do things that require willpower as the day goes on. This is why it’s really hard to do stuff like going on a run or making healthy eating choices after a long, hard day at the office.
One thing I try to do now is save the most difficult things I need to do in a day for the morning.
What’s the solution? In order to conserve your willpower, you have to turn things that aren’t currently habits, INTO habits, so they are automatic behaviors.
As I was writing this post, I noticed that some of these books were repeating the same ideas that were in others, mainly around the importance of developing good habits with intention. I guess that’s kind of a no brainer when you think about it, but it’s easy to forget.
I have a lot more books to write about, but I’ll talk about them in their own posts because this is already getting long 🙂