8 Feb 2016

3 Books that Changed my Life



Getting through my early twenties was a challenge(A little scary to admit but I felt completely overwhelmed to become this adult everyone expects you to be). 
At times I felt like I had no control over my world, both personally and professionally. I needed to do something about it. And these three books saved me from crumbling. 


1. The defining decade by Dr Meg Jay.

 I started reading this book just before I hit 25 and honestly, it was a life saver. It helped me realise that this is the decade to define who and what you want to become. Dr Jay as an expert writes about the lies and misconceptions society tells us to believe about what our twenties should look like, the reality, however, can be a little disappointing. And she helps us make sense of it all.  


The three main areas of focus highlighted in the defining decade are Work; Love; The brain and the body.
Work
Using your twenties to build your identity in the field of your choice, by building on your professional capital you increase your self-esteem and build upon your qualifications. Dr Jay writes about taking the time to explore new opportunities, meet new people and challenge yourself more, thus generating growth and change in your life.
By carefully defining your own career path, not one dictated to you by your family or friends, you can combine both your talents and passions to create the life you want.  



Love

This is probably the section that will divide opinions: the ones who want to be free and enjoy life without being tied down to one person VS. the ones who are focused on finding a partner to settle down with. In this section, Dr Jay tackles some hard truths and some may not agree with her. 
She writes about thinking about your future family now. By picking a partner in your youth, you will have more time to grow together, which actually helps you stay together. There is a lot of advice about picking the right partner for your future self and future family, not settling and knowing your worth. And some expert information on the effects of cohabitation (you'll have to get the book to read up on that)
For a romantic like me, it helped me to think about things more logically and really determine the essentials for finding the right partner. 
In this section, it teaches about how the brain works and behaves, for those in their twenties this decade is crucial to brain development as it is one of the last phases of brain growth. The emotions and behaviours we adopt in this decade are long lasting and can determine what kind of an adult we become. 
Fortunately for all of us, any bad traits can be reversed at this stage and be replaced with positive qualities, as long as we are willing to learn, commit and consistently work to improve ourselves. By learning to stand up for yourself, control your emotions and committing to a job/partner/flat you become more confident, determined and resilient. 
For me, this book felt like a trusted friend holding my hand through the crazy and emotional parts of life as a twenty-something. I have many hopes and dreams but I just needed a starting point and that's what this book did for me. It helped me become clear on what I want in life and to be intentional about achieving my life goals
My biggest lessons from this book can be summarised in three words: 

2. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman


I heard so much about this book but never bothered to get it, I thought it was only relevant to married couples but a good friend of mine highly recommended it to me (and she emphasised it was for all relationships). So I decided to get a copy, read it and see for myself what this book is really about. I'll be honest - I did the unthinkable... judged a book by its cover!  
I was wrong about this book, it is packed full of insights relevant to all relationships. I finally understood why some relationships are just a frustrating experience. 
The book outlines the 5  languages as: 
1. Receiving gifts
2. Words of affirmation 
3. Acts of service
4. Physical touch 
5. Quality time
I think that anyone who looks at this list would say we need all of the above to feel loved but in reality, we have one or two main love languages that are most important. The book explains each language in detail and is accompanied by various stories to illustrate how each language is shown. This allows the reader to completely understand and evaluate their own relationships.



For example: if someone close to you always complains about how you never buy them anything - they are directly telling you their love language: receiving gifts. And while you may appreciate their gifts you may feel that they never compliment you or give you praise and this is your language: words of affirmation.
So you see once you understand the love language of another person you can start to communicate it to them, hence making them happy and showing them love in a way they understand.


It is fascinating how clear it becomes once you read the book. And you carefully listen to what others express or request from you, then you begin to realise what their love language is. And you can start to do more of what they actually appreciate. 
                             

3. Choose yourself by James Altucher

This book was a breath of fresh air and was my first step to personal development.
The main message from the book is that:  We can no longer rely/guarantee the safety net of having a good education to get a good job and then retire and relax without ever worrying about money again. The world's fast pace and constant changes mean we will have to learn new ways to succeed in life. And this is the time we need to work on our personal development which in tern yields growth success.

This book taught me the importance of creating your own definition of success, in you own terms and not depending on what society deems successful. I realised that it is important to first know and understand what success means to me. So that I can plan, create and design the future I want.
In the book James writes that in order to gain success these four principles need to be maintained.


The  Daily Practice: 
1. Physical health - a good diet and regular exercise.
2. Emotional health -  be around people you love and trust.
3. Mental health - read, be inspired and write 10 ideas a day.
4. Spiritual health - have gratitude for what you have.
This book helped me to understand the importance of being organised, having a schedule and begin a journey of self-development. 
In summary this is what it means to choose yourself:
- Plan and design your own future 
- Be a source of knowledge & information (10 ideas a day)
- Do the daily practice to keep your life in order and happy


So tell me which books have changed your life? 

What would you recommend I read next?

Natalie-Claire x


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2 comments:

  1. Thanks Natalie for introducing these awesome books. I have read James book which resonates in many occasions.Surely will check other two books soon.

    Apart from Choose Yourself, Alchemist and Pursuit of Happiness by chris gardner are my all time favourite.

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    Replies
    1. Hey Prabhu, thanks for the suggestions I have heard a lot about Alchemist - will check it out. And apart from the movie I never thought about the book Pursuit of happiness. Both of those are on my book list for 2016.
      Thanks

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