When it comes to achieving my goals I find myself always tracking back to self-doubt and insecurity. I am often confronted by negative thoughts and I get overwhelmed very easily. These two books have been key players in reducing my negative self-talk and have helped me to strive towards my dreams and a better life.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
This is probably my favourite book of all time. It was the first book I read and really connected to. It’s all about one’s journey to self-discovery. (It’s so good that I read it 5 times and would read it again).
The book is really simple and easy to read, on every page there is something to meditate on and benefit from. It speaks about achieving your goals and the only thing that is stopping you from achieving them is YOURSELF. At times we happen to be our own worst enemies.
(If you want to buy the book from Amazon click here!)
I found this especially true when thinking about starting my blog. I kept thinking “oh yeah, people who start blogs are usually computer savvy or they pay someone who know what they are doing. I could never create something people would read without paying someone to do it for me”. But I WAS WRONG, the more I looked into it the easier it came to be. I don’t need to be a tech wiz, and I don’t need to spend a lot of money!
The book encourages you to strive for what you want and to make it happen. You will figure out how to overcome hurdles along the way, and yes you will take wrong turns but just take it step by step. Try not to focus on the end point because that will be overwhelming just do what you can each day and your dream will become a reality.
“when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
The key messages I found in this book were:
Be patient: Good things take time. If you really want to achieve your goals, you will get there.
Follow your dreams: If you truly want something opportunities will be presented to you in ways you will least expect.
Listen to the wisdom of others: I don’t know about you but I truly respect my elders and believe you can learn a little something from anyone with life experience. When the King presented himself to Santiago he really benefited from listening to him. He found inspiration in the Kings words.
We all have a personal legend: We are what we want to accomplish. Everyone’s personal legend will be different and that is okay, being unique is a good thing!
The four agreements by Don Miguel
This book is an amazing tool to help you to feel freedom. At its core the book teaches that we needlessly suffer in this world. We are all unnecessary judges and victims. The book teaches easy habits to incorporate into your life, that will ultimately change it for the better.
The teachings in this book come from ancient Toltec wisdom (which I haven’t looked into to but I probably should considering the way these teachings changed my life). If you understand these 4 agreements then you truly can live more fully and freely.
(If you want to buy the book from Amazon click here!)
Number 1: Be impeccable with your word
“You have my word” I’m sure we have all heard this before. I remember hearing this in movies and TV shows and more often than not the person’s word meant absolutely nothing. The book teaches that if you can be impeccable with your word you will avoid unnecessary gossip and judgement. I love it, it is so true. If you speak with integrity you stop yourself from saying negative things or sharing gossip. You protect yourself from something coming back to bite you. You can speak from the heart and share positivity and good vibes with your word. This can be a really hard practise to get into but the more you try, the better you will feel.
You own your word so use it for the good of yourself and others.
Number 2: Don’t take anything personally
This practise avoids you becoming a victim of needless suffering. It is like throwing you a lifeline so many bad things can come from taking something personally. We are all guilty of dwelling on what someone thinks of us, over complicating our thoughts and feeling regret about something we said or did.
If someone ignores you or snaps at you it is so hard to not take this personally. This book teaches that in reality these actions have nothing to do with you. It is simply a projection of their own reality.
I remember listening to a podcast about a lady who gave up a kidney (The podcast is called strangers and the episode was about Elizabeth and Mary) One person posted a negative comment on a Facebook post about how she didn’t like Elizabeth. The host of the show went on and asked why this lady posted a negative comment about Elizabeth, who has done such an amazing thing. The lady said it was because she thought that Elizabeth probably wouldn’t like her as a person, so in a sense that made her not like Elizabeth. The way she lives is not that healthy and having failed to give a kidney in her life already she felt a bit jealous. This was really interesting. Elizabeth, as we all would get upset by the comment the lady made. The comment looked as though it was directly about Elizabeth but in reality the comment had nothing to do with her and was about the ladies own insecurities.
The agreement teaches you to become immune to the opinions and actions of others and this is true freedom.
Number 3: Don’t make assumptions
This agreement encourages you to talk to others, ask questions and avoid misunderstandings. I have really benefited from this teaching as it has taught me not to dwell on my thoughts. I often assume someone is annoyed with me or that I did something wrong. I tend to assume how someone is feeling or what someone is thinking when in reality I have no idea.
Making assumptions is a common practise I’ve noticed in myself and others. It is a hard habit to break but when you do your life will become easier and there will be less to worry about.
Ultimately, if you don’t assume you relive yourself from pointless worrying. Ask questions, be patient and try your best not to tell yourself a false story.
Number 4: Always do your best
This agreement is key. It talks about avoiding self judgement, self-abuse and regret.
This is honestly so true. Your best changes from time to time. I remember over the summer when I was so frustrated with myself for not getting a PB in athletics and I failed to realise that I had just started full-time work, I wasn’t eating enough and I was over training. No wonder I didn’t get a PB! I was doing my absolute best for the situation I had put myself in.
When I was having a depressive day it was really hard to feel good with what I had accomplished. I usually went to bed really early and shut myself off. I dreaded the idea of work the next day. But I managed to pick myself up and go to work and I should have praised myself for doing my best in that moment.
I’ve now learnt to feel happy with myself when I try my best. When I’m at work and I can’t be bothered it’s really hard to try to do my best, I could easily slack off. But when I do I feel so much more important and work seems worthwhile. I start to feel hopeful and enjoy my day.
If you do try your best in any situation you will feel better! You honestly will.
Be patient, we are all imperfect, this will be a challenge but give it a go! 🙂