My Take on a Book Review #5 – The Gifts of Imperfection – Brene Brown

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If you didn’t figure it out yet, I’m a huge Brene Brown fan!  I’ve read this book a couple of times just like her other books.  So, so, so good!  It’s not overly long (about 140 pages maybe), so is a nice quick read with some great tips and ideas!

“Your Guide to a Wholehearted Life”…the book is based on her 10 guideposts for wholehearted living and she gives you examples from her life on how she practices these.

The 10 guideposts are as follows:

  1. Cultivate authenticity: let go of what people think.
    – a daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embrace who we are
  2. Cultivate self-compassion: let go of perfectionism
    – perfectionism is not the same as striving to be your best.  It’s the belief that we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect.  It’s trying to earn approval and acceptance.
  3. Cultivate resilient spirit: let go of numbing and powerlessness
    – 5 traits of resilient people: 1. they have good problem solving skills.  2. they are more likely to seek help.  3. they believe they can do something that will help them manage their feelings and cope.  4. they have social support.  5. they are connected with others…friends/family.
  4. Cultivate gratitude and joy: let go of scarcity and fear of the dark
    – we need to practice gratitude…try making a gratitude journal or voice things you’re thankful for every day.
    – happiness vs. joy.  Happiness is tied to an experience.  Joy is tied to gratitude and spirituality.
  5. Cultivate intuition and trusting faith: let go of the need for certainty
    – “Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty”
  6. Cultivate creativity: let go of comparison
    – comparison is the thief of happiness.  This was such a good chapter!
  7. Cultivate play and rest: let go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth
    – “The opposite of play is not work, it’s depression”
    – we need to be intentional about cultivating sleep and play.
  8. Cultivate calm and stillness: let go of anxiety as a lifestyle
    – strive to be the person that you have seen be calm and not react to fear and anger. This takes a lot of practice!
    – lots of ways to do this….yoga, meditate, practice mindfulness exercises.
  9. Cultivate meaningful work: let go of self doubt and “supposed to”
    – think about doing something you love, something that inspires you…don’t think about making a living at it.  You don’t necessarily have to quit your day job to do meaningful work.
  10. Cultivate laughter, song, and dance: let go of being cool and “always in control”
    – a good belly laugh, singing loud, dancing like nobody is looking is so good for your soul!  But it’s also extremely vulnerable!
    – “When we don’t give ourselves permission to be free, we rarely tolerate that freedom in others.  We put them down, make fun of them, ridicule their behaviours, and sometimes shame them”.  So true.
    – “Cruelty is never brave, it is mostly cheap and easy”.  By far one of my favourite quotes from this book!

When you’re exhausted or overwhelmed in any aspect of your life DIG deep:
D – get deliberate in your thoughts and behaviours
I – get inspired to make new or different choices
G – get going.  Take action.

 

 

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My Take on a Book Review #4 – The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch

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I was interested to read this book because I’ve heard 80/20 beat to death in almost every aspect of life (80/20 clean eating, 80/20 exercise, 80/20 at work, on and on) and was curious what I else I could take away from reading a book about it.

The author claims that 80% of our success stems from 20% of our efforts.  Interesting!

80/20 rule is not time management, it is time revolution.  Time management is how to organize your time more effectively.  Time revolution is about our use of time being the enemy.  We only make good use of 20% of our time.  For the procrastinators in the crowd…you really only use the last 20% of your time to complete a project, right?…so why not cut deadlines in half (or more) since you’re not using 80% of the time for completion anyway?

Find the 20% of your time that gives you 80% of your results, happiness, achievements, etc.  Do the same for the 80% that causes unhappiness, doesn’t give results or achievements.  Act on the 20% and find ways to get rid of the 80%.  He elaborates on this a bit more in the book.

The author’s research showed that for most people 80% of our happiness occurs during 20% of our time.  That’s brutal!  This was by far my favourite part of the book.  He proposes these 7 habits of happiness:
1. Exercise.  MAKE TIME FOR IT!
2. Mental stimulation.  Crossword puzzles, talking with a friend, journalling, anything that requires active thought.
3. Spiritual/artistic stimulation/meditation.  At least ½ hour food for the imagination or spirit.  Yoga, a concert, art gallery, watching the sunrise/sunset, meditation.
4. Doing a good deed.  A random act of kindness.
5. Talking a pleasure break with a friend.  Cup of coffee or a walk with a friend.
6. Giving yourself a treat.  Write a list of pleasures that you could indulge yourself and try to cross off one a day.
7. Congratulate yourself.  Try to accomplish 5 of these a day and congratulate yourself!

And these 7 shortcuts to a happy life:
1. Maximize your control.
2. Set attainable goals.  Challenging but not too difficult.
3. Be flexible.  Accept what you cannot control
4. Have a close relationship with your partner.
5. Have a few happy friends that you have close relationships with.
6. Have a few close professional alliances.  People who you will go out of your way to support and vice versa.
7. Evolve your idea lifestyle.  A balance between work/home/social life.

There were some interesting parts to this book, but I honestly found myself skimming through it as I found it a bit repetitive and the studies he references kind of boring.  I still think it is worth a read….especially for decision makers in a company, anyone self-employed, people in marketing careers, or for anyone feeling like they can never get ahead in their work.  None of those really apply to me, so likely why this wasn’t my favourite book!