Living Inspired 2016 Book Review: #8/40

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When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Paul Kalanithi was renowned neurosurgeon and scholar who was diagnosed with cancer.  His recount of his life is full of his medical experiences laced with life lessons and embedded struggles of ego, values and the journey to balance it all out.

Some of the medical details were too much for me but the second half of the book and his wife’s epilogue were well worth the time.

For me this book exemplified the importance of being present.   The last paragraph of the book written by Paul to his baby daughter before he died is this:

When you come to one of the many moments in life where you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more but rests, satisfied.  In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.

Most of the book is about working toward something in the future (the process of becoming a doctor) and the process of dying with integrity.  Paul gave his oncologist Emma and his wife Lucy a beautiful presence in his story.  Emma illuminating the need for him to do what was most important to him and his wife exemplifying love and how hardship can make love grow stronger.

One of my favorite messages was:

Lucy and I both felt that life wasn’t about avoiding suffering. P. 145

I definitely cried a lot in the second half and have a renewed gratitude for my health and my life.  Any book that can do that is worth reading.

With gratitude for today, Erin

http://www.erinramsey.com

Inspirational Speaker

Author of Be Amazing: Tools for Living Inspired

 

 

Living Inspired 2016 Book Review: #7/40

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Yes, Please! By Amy Poehler

This memoir by Amy Poehler is a mix of humor, life lessons, and background celebrity happenings.  I listened to it on a long road trip.  I am glad I did because she had different people, like her mom, Dad and co workers, read their parts which enhanced the story.

Here are a few of my favorite statements made by Amy:

Great people do things before they are ready.

Good for her, not for me.   

(nice one to help women stop judging each other)

Don’t pick up the armor.

(A story she was telling about how someone didn’t get defensive and was able to forgive her for one her biggest regrets)

I didn’t watch Parks and Recreation and I didn’t follow Amy regularly on SNL but if I had I think I would have found this book funnier and more interesting.  If you are a big fan, the back stories and references will be will super interesting.

Regardless, Amy is a funny, strong woman with a clear honesty and authenticity.  I enjoyed my time in the car with her.

Big Laughs, Erin

P.S.:  Use your public library!  They have a great selection of recorded books.

Be Amazing Book Cover

http://www.amazon.com/Be-Amazing-Tools-Living-Inspired/dp/0692634665/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1462115415&sr=1-1&keywords=be+amazing+tool

http://www.amazon.com/Be-Amazing-Workbook-Living-Inspired/dp/0692634835/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1462115466&sr=1-1&keywords=be+amazing+workbook

 

 

 

Living Inspired 2016 Book Review: #6/40

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Originals: How Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

Originals is an intriguing review of the literature on characteristics and actions that contribute to trailblazing.  Grant includes many stories about individuals who employed the strategies or developed the characteristics to move ideas and promoted originality.

Originals are people who take the initiative to make their visions a reality.  P.3 

At times the stories felt a bit long winded although Grant always connected the dots and illustrated the research.  I will share a few of my favorite points from the book.  They are in no way reflective or illustrative of the comprehensiveness of Adam’s work.  If any of them catch your curiosity, I encourage you to read further in the book.

For teachers here is in an important finding to be aware of:

Research demonstrates that it is the most creative children who are least likely to become the teacher’s pet. P. 9 This section is worth reading if you are a teacher.

On a personal note this book came at the perfect time as I was reflecting on the best route to take as an entrepreneur and an employee.  The opening chapter felt like it was hand delivered on a silver platter.  Here is the line that supported my decision to keep my day job as I build my company,

Entrepreneurs who kept their day jobs had 33 percent lower odds of failure than those who quit. P.16 

Every section has something we can takeaway to inform our actions or understand what works and doesn’t work in originality, here are few of my favorites:

We tend to under communicate our ideas.

Procrastination may be the enemy of productivity, but it can be a resource for creativity. P. 95

Great originals are great procrastinators, but they don’t skip planning altogether. They procrastinate strategically, making gradual progress by testing and refining different possibilities. P. 102

Parents of highly creative children had an average of less than one rule and tended to “place emphasis on moral values, rather than specific rules (Amabile)”. P.164

Instead of telling yourself “to calm down” just say “I am excited.” p. 215.  This is worth reading if you are afraid of public speaking.

The most inspiring way to convey a vision is to outsource it to the people who are actually affected by it. P 221

There is also a great section on page 245: Actions for Impact that synthesizes the content into action.

There is a plethora of information from birth order to frenemies that could be helpful in work and in your life.

If you are interested in creativity, trailblazing and research this book is for you.

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

George Bernard Shaw

Erin

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Available on Amazon:

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http://www.amazon.com/Be-Amazing-Tools-Living-Inspired/dp/0692634665/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458485835&sr=1-1&keywords=be+amazing+tools+for+living+inspired

Living Inspired 2016 Book Review #5

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The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra

I have carried The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success with me on and off for years but recently I noticed I had misplaced it.  So I ordered a new one and was so happy to receive the new version in a nice little pocket guide size.

This book includes Seven Laws that can align with each day of the week. I love it because it provides something to focus on each day or I can choose to skip around based on what I want to concentrate on during my daily actions and thoughts.  Deepak includes several simple yet intentional things at the end of each law that we can do to follow the law.

In spiritual terms, success is measured by how efficiently, how effortlessly, we co-create with the universe.

The Seven Laws with one of my favorite aspects of each law are as follows:

The Law of Pure Potentiality

Knowing who we really are gives us the ability to fulfill any dream we have, because the same field that nature uses to create a forest, a galaxy, or a human body can also bring about the fulfillment of our desires. (p. 18)

The Law of Giving and Receiving

Abundance has material expression, but what is really circulating is consciousness. (p.32)

The exchange of energy is a process that has its own timing, organization and beauty. Your life unfolds in the same way. Everything that comes to you isn’t something you earn, but a gift freely given by the universe, which means it comes from a deep awareness of what you need. (p.34)

The Law of Karma or Cause and Effect

The best way to use karmic law is to step back and witness the choices you are making in every moment. When you make any choice, ask yourself two things: “What are the consequences of this choice?” and “will the choice I’m making bring happiness to me and to those around me?” There is always one choice that will create maximum happiness both for you and for those around you. (p.41)

The Law of Least Effort

Least effort is expended when our actions are motivated by love, because nature is held together by the energy of love. (p.52)

We waste our energy chasing the illusion of happiness, instead of enjoying happiness in the moment. Attention to the whims of the ego consumes the greatest amount of energy. But when our internal reference point is our spirit, our actions are motivated by love, and there is no waste of energy. (p.53)

The Law of Intention and Desire

We can consciously change the energy and information of own body, and influence the energy and information of our extended body-our environment-and cause things to manifest in it. (p62)

The Law of Detachment

All we need to do is nurture our deepest intentions in our heart and go with the flow.

Detachment comes from an inner knowingness that we are a pattern of behavior of higher intelligence. When things don’t seem to go our way, we can let go of our idea of how things should be. We know that in our limited awareness, we cannot see the synchronistic, harmonious patterns of the universe of we and our intentions are a part. (p.72)

The Law of Dharma or Purpose in Life

Everyone has a purpose in life- a unique gift or special talent to give to others, and for every unique talent and expression of that talent there are also unique needs. When we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of our spirit. This is the goal of all goals. (p. 83)

There is so much wisdom in this tiny book that I suggest you read it and use it as a reference. You may find even more compelling passages and insight.  Every single sentence in this book has something to offer.

You can visit The Chopra Center’s website each day for a daily inspiration: http://www.chopra.com/community/daily-inspiration

I also love the guided meditations with David G; Awaken Your Abundance is my all-time favorite:

http://www.chopra.com/ccl/guided-meditations

And you can access the free meditation challenge with Deepak and Oprah starting tomorrow on Shedding the Weight:

https://chopracentermeditation.com/home

Abundantly, Erin

If you are interested in my Book and Workbook you can order signed copies by emailing me at erin@erinramsey.com .

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Also available on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Be-Amazing-Workbook-Living-Inspired/dp/0692634835/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1458485784&sr=8-1&keywords=be+amazing+workbook

http://www.amazon.com/Be-Amazing-Tools-Living-Inspired/dp/0692634665/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458485835&sr=1-1&keywords=be+amazing+tools+for+living+inspired

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eggs in the Mailbox: Creating WIN-WINs

eggesbarteringI just recently, for the first time ever, have had the pleasure to barter with a new friend.  She has chickens and offered to bring me eggs.  Of course I was all about it.  Then she asked to borrow a product from my company and I said let me give it to you for the eggs.  We have bartered twice now and I love it.

I had something she wanted or needed and she had something I wanted or needed; both which were not a burden for us to share.  

This morning I left a workbook in my mailbox for her and she delivered me eggs.  Wow a Sunday morning fresh egg delivery!

It is like the old days.  Creating win-wins, sharing, no tit for tat.  Just a solid positive exchange of goods and energy.

Let’s BRING BARTERING BACK!

Let’s create more win-wins in our lives.

Abundantly, Erin

To learn more about Erin’s Living Inspired line of products visit: http://www.erinramsey.com.

 

Living Inspired Book Review #4

 

onethingbookreviewThe ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Keller and Papasan

The One Thing is built upon one question: “What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary?”   This book is divided into three sections:  The Lies, The Truth and Extraordinary Results.  Keller has included many strategies, visuals and examples to walk the reader through the process of determining the importance of the ONE Thing regarding passion, priorities, and results.

Part 1, The Lies includes information on the ineffectiveness of multitasking and distractedness, the importance of prioritizing and the inaccurate perception of willpower and discipline and how to harness your energy for challenges. My favorite portion of this section was A Disciplined Life because Keller cites the research that it takes 66 days to form a habit not the commonly cited 21 days.  This is important information because creating a well- chosen new habit leads to effectiveness.  Keller says,

“You can become successful with less discipline than you think, for one simple reason: success is about doing the right thing, not about doing everything right.”

We often make the mistake of trying to discipline ourselves in lots ways for lots of reasons but by breaking it down we can be more effective and successful.  Keller points out,

“So when you see people who look like “disciplined” people, what you are really seeing is people who’ve trained a handful of habits into their lives. This makes them seem “disciplined” when actually they’re not. No one is.”

Part 2, The Truth covers productivity and how important it is to have the big picture in mind and then work backwards to smaller ONE Things with focusing questions. The Path to Great answers offers clear examples on how to work through productivity and clarity.  Keller focuses on the importance of possibility and says,

“Setting a doable goal is almost like creating a task to check off your list. A stretch goal is more challenging. It aims you at the edge of your current abilities; you have to stretch to reach it. The best goal explores what’s possible. When you see people and businesses that have undergone transformations, this is where they live.”

Part 3, Extraordinary Results is summed up with Keller’s statement:

“Your ONE Thing is your purpose and your small ONE Thing is the priority you take action on to achieve it. The most productive people start with purpose and use it like a compass. They allow purpose to be the guiding force in determining the priority that drives their action. This is the straight path to extraordinary results.”

This entire book is jammed packed with exercises to practice. I plan to revisit this book and practice the processes for getting to the ONE Thing is various aspects of my life.  This book is a valuable tool if you want to be effective and hone in on your purpose and your priorities.

Happy reading, Erin

 

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What Kind of Pot Are You Planted In?

For the first time in my entire life we are growing an avocado tree. My daughter got an avocado seed to sprout.

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Pretty exciting stuff considering most of my childhood there was a seed with toothpicks coming out of it soaking in water on the windowsill but to no avail, ever. I am not sure if it is actually hard to grow an avocado tree or not. What I do know is that we have one so beautiful that we named her ‘Beaut’, short for Beauty, even before she started to grow. We knew she was beautiful. We trusted that she was.

As my daughter and I planted the tiny sprout in a huge pot we were thrilled. We never even thought of the size of the pot being too big but after she was in it she looked miniature. My husband asked jokingly, “Do you think you could have gotten a bigger pot?” I smiled and said, “I know she looks funny but I want to make sure she has plenty of room to grow. We are setting her up for success!”

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Sure enough, in just four months Beaut is filling out and growing fast. We know it could take up to five years for her to produce an avocado. No problem. She has plenty of room to secure her roots and blossom to her fullest.

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What about you? Do you have room for roots with room to grow?

What does your pot look like?

Is it cramping your style?

It makes me think of when I buy petunias and mums. When I take them out of their store containers to plant I always feel sad that their roots are all wrapped around and tangled and stifled. Then I get excited that I am giving them new and more opportunity to bloom to their fullest. They need room and so do we.

Think about where you are planted. Do the people in your life believe in you and create space for your growth? Or are you all tangled up?

I know one day I will need to replant Beaut. She’ll be ready for bigger and better things. This will be just fine by me. For now, I know she has room to grow in her pot. I tell her how beautiful she is and how strong she is.

Make sure your pot is a good fit. It is the only way to grow.

With a blossoming heart and full life, Erin

To connect with Erin and to learn about her services and products visit: http://www.erinramsey.com

The UN-TEDx Talk

The TEDx Talk that wasn’t ….

I auditioned for the local version of a TED Talk; it was one of the scariest things I have done in a while. I am accustomed to speaking for people but not usually waiting for acceptance. It was definitely a new and interesting dynamic. I didn’t make it but I did it; so I am proud of myself. Or I should actually say ‘my idea didn’t make it’ because I don’t think it was about me; just the idea and relevancy for our community. Nevertheless, I hope you will take me up on my idea. This idea, along with lots of other ideas, to help us live joyfully will be in my book coming this fall: Be Amazing: Tools for Living Inspired.

The proposed TEDx Talk:

Break the Bad News Trance

We need to stop letting other people’s hardships become our entertainment. The news should be to inform us and to provide opportunity for us to make contributions through actions and thoughts. One of the best and most phenomenal parts of being human is that we get to make choices. Sometimes we take this ability for granted.   I did. I was living in a trance; a bad news trance along with millions of others. It looks like this:

We wake up, make coffee, watch the morning news or read the newspaper. We go to work, listen to the news or read our social media newsfeeds. We get to work and people start mentioning what they saw or read on the news. We say things like, “isn’t this just terrible” or “the world is in bad shape”. We go about our day, get home put on the evening news, make dinner, hang out, watch a little tv, maybe read a little, go to an event, or visit then we put on the late news, and then go to bed. We wake up, and repeat, day after day after day.

Then we wonder why we have anxiety and aren’t happy. Dr. Graham Davey of the University of Sussex researches the impact of negative news on people. It is no surprise that he has found that watching negative news makes us sadder and more anxious. The surprising finding is that when we watch the news our personal concerns, matters not even covered in the news, become exacerbated. He refers to this as the cascading effect of the news. We aren’t only more anxious about the world but our own lives too.

No one wins.

I wonder how many beautiful moments we missed or didn’t talk about.   I wonder how many ideas we didn’t generate because we were distracted.  I wonder how much energy has been wasted on the bad instead of the good. I mostly wonder what our world would look like if we broke out of the bad news trance. I am not saying we shouldn’t watch the news; I am saying that we should make sure we are awake and cognizant of what we are letting into our minds.

I have been working for 25 years in the public sector; I often get asked how we can make change. My answer has always been and will always be: one person at a time. You can make choices for yourself personally that can collectively impact the way we live. We can break the bad news trance and we can become a good news community, a good news country, a good news world one person at a time.

With five simple steps we can begin to wake up.

  1. Create No Bad News Zones: It is imperative to begin and end the day with intentionality. Focus your morning on your intentions and focus your night time on being grateful. Do not watch the news first thing in the morning or the last thing before you go to sleep.
  2. Spread Good News: commit to talking about at least one good thing a day. I hope it is more but at least one, please!
  3. Be Selective: carefully select your sources for news and set up your life where you can access it intentionally rather than blatantly being exposed to it; for example turn off your tv and clean up your social media. 
  4. Help Others: when people are suffering send love and light to them or do more if you can but don’t just sit there and watch it over and over again and do nothing.
  5. Drive the Market: we live in a capitalistic society; consumers drive the market; stop consuming sensationalized news.

Let’s stop making other people’s hardships our entertainment. Let’s wake up together and break the bad news trance. Let’s become a good news world; one person at a time.

Focusing on the Good, Erin

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Advice on the Roof Top

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My husband and daughter were on the roof doing gutter repairs. I was down below painting. I was happy that he had our daughter working with him; she loves mechanical and physical work.

I overheard my husband say to her, “People can learn to do anything if they aren’t afraid of messing up.”

Best advice I have heard in a long time. It applies to everything in life, not just home repairs. Be brave.

Messing up is better than not trying.

Do something scary, Erin