Late 2017, I was suffering from what I now understand as a disconnect between my left and right brain. This prevented an understanding of my own thoughts and emotions and those of the people around me.
I was consuming alcohol every other day of the week and obviously needed to cease and desist. So I did, but I also decided I’d had enough of the life I was living and the unpleasant person I had become, I wanted meaning. I had just finished reading some interesting books.
- Originals — Adam Grant
- Think and Grow Rich — Napoleon Hill
- The Power of Habit — Charles Duhigg
- Outliers — Malcolm Gladwell
- Start with Why — Simon Sinek
Start with Why
Below is a TED talk by Simon Sinek in which he explains why some businesses are very successful and others are not so. As Simon says, it’s all about why you are doing what you are doing not what or how you are doing it. Although I am not a business nor do I own one, I decided to apply this to my own life and have a why to improve. I found many good reasons and I am sure you could too. The reason may not even be that you want to improve your own life, but the life of those around you, maybe you have children? Change starts on the inside. To improve the lives of those around you, you first have to improve yourself.
How did I change my thoughts and my life?
I decided to find myself (cliché). The best way I could think of was to practise Mindfulness, read and kick the drink. I had heard that calm.com was voted 2017 app of the year on the App Store. Anything would be better then the grump I was, so I started practising Mindfulness daily. I wasn’t sure if the sudden change in my mood over the following weeks was because I had stopped consuming liquor like a thirsty camel or if the mindfulness practise had already started doing its magic. I decided to set a reading challenge for 2018. I took the easy route and signed up to Audible.
The first book I found, sounded perfect. It was Altered Traits by Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson. The book discusses the science behind why Meditation is so powerfull. Meditation can change your brain chemistry and structure. You literally have the ability to redesign the way your mind works just by watching the thoughts and emotions you experience on a daily basis. Believe it or not, we don’t have control over the thoughts we have but we do have the power to be responsible about how we respond to those thoughts and can chose which to believe and which to ignore.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.” — Daniel Goleman, Altered Traits
Listening to Altered Traits gave me the confidence I needed to change. All I had to do was keep trying to improve. I’ll list the books I read in 2018 in order of significance because they have significantly altered my perception of the world and helped move towards a better understanding of myself. I’d like to note that these are all non-fiction and a good majority of the authors agree, mindfulness has big benefits.
Significant 2018 reads
- Altered Traits — Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson
- The Power of Now — Eckhart Tolle
- Mindsight — Daniel J. Siegel
- Man’s Search for Meaning — Victor E. Frankl
- Own the Day, Own Your Life — Aubrey Marcus
- Flow — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
- A Whole New Mind — Daniel H. Pink
- Drive — Daniel H. Pink
- Grit — Angela Duckworth
- When — Daniel H. Pink
- Drunk Tank Pink — Adam Alter
- Life 3.0 — Max Tegmark
- 12 Rules for Life — Jordan B. Peterson
“Knowledge is the food of the soul.” ― Plato
If you would like to know more or why I found these books so significant feel free to ask questions or leave a comment below.