Worth Reading #5: The Help Yourself Edition

After spending the summer watching World Cup and taking online education courses (I’ll review some of these MOOCs later), I returned to teaching in late-August. This year, I have a part-time schedule—and it works. I’m writing again, reading more, and (finally!) sending out query letters for my novel.

I’ve been exploring the world of self-help books, especially now that I feel personal and professional pressure as I approach 40. Who I am I? What do I want to be when I grow up? I was a stay-at-home mom for years, but what do I want to focus on now that my children are older? Teaching is one option. I taught the year after I graduated college in a traditional classroom environment. Currently, I work at a learning center with a small academy, and I mostly teach 1:1 students. I love the flexibility of my job and the working environment. Then there’s writing, which is something that I will always do. But can I turn it into a lucrative career? Judging by the amount of rejection letters I have received recently, I’m not sure. But it is a process I will pursue.

Fueled by indecision and self-doubt, I researched motivational books and discovered two that are worth reading. Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning champions personal productivity before 8 AM. Indeed, Elrod claims that if you engage in a series of rituals daily, you can transform your life. I’m usually up by 5 AM on weekdays, and I was curious to see if engaging in this practice would help me focus. I started doing Elrod’s Life S.A.V.E.R.S. daily (Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, Scribing/Writing) when I first got up. Okay, I didn’t exercise, but I tried to do the other activities. While my life wasn’t dramatically transformed—and to be fair, it’s only been a few weeks, and Elrod recommends following the program for a minimum of 30 days—I ended up making some important decisions regarding my professional trajectory. One of these decisions was to complete the last revisions on my novel and start querying agents.

The second book I read (much of it during my Miracle Morning reading time) was The One Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan. Keller convincingly claims that in order to achieve greatness, you should only focus on ONE thing for each of your life paths (family, spiritual, professional, etc.). By making this one thing the priority, by blocking off time and energy to focus solely on “it,” you will achieve success, and the rest of your life will fall into place. While reading this book, I was intrigued by the fact that the “one thing” could be anything, that it wasn’t just limited to a professional/business goal. I plan to reread this book because once isn’t enough to absorb the valuable information within. After initial reflection, I know that writing needs to be my “one thing.” How I will make it that, I’m not entirely sure. Hence, my plan to reread both books.

Have you read any self-help books? Which ones do you find worthy?

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