Just added some new books for your benefit, under the Epic Books link to the right of this post. Many you've seen in reviews, so they come recommended highly.
Just added some new books for your benefit, under the Epic Books link to the right of this post. Many you've seen in reviews, so they come recommended highly.
Got to thinking about the importance of mindfulness this morning. I did this review back in 2012. This is an art I've learned through Yoga. Taking time to just be is vitally important.
Quiet the Mind by Matthew Johnstone is one of the best books I've read in a long time. The way the book is constructed is truly captivating. The only way I can describe it is simplicity. The book only took me 30 minutes to read and I was fully engaged the entire time. I don't know if it's available for Kindle or the iPad, but it would definitly be a good book for that format.
Now for the content. Mr. Johnstone takes you on a journey through the art of meditation. He does this in a non-threatening way. So regardless of your religious or thought-clearing methods you won't feel uncomfortable. The author gets high marks for this. He also speaks to the reader in a way that you can't help but relate to. It's as if Mr. Johnstone knew you before you even read a page.
This book is illustrated beautifully and the words used are an equal companion. I highly recommend this book. It inspired me on multiple levels.
When I got the email regarding Dr. Norman Rosenthal and his new book, The Gift of Adverstiy: The Unexpected Benefits of Life's Difficulties, Setbacks, and Imperfections, I was intrigued by the title of the book and his story. Dr. Rosenthal's background, and his coming of age in the Apatheid era of South Africa, are powerful introductions to someone who has faced many depths of adversity. As I look back on my own journey I am convinced that adversity is a gift.
I hope you'll be inspired by the following interview I had the pleasure of doing with Dr. Rosenthal:
Your experiences are vast and diverse. What do you want the reader to walk away with after reading the book?
I want the reader to come away with a sense of hope that although adversities are unwanted and sometimes painful and even disabling, whether they are large or small, there are often ways out of those dark places and, most important, lessons to be gained from the journey. Those are the gifts of adversity.
What’s different about people who accept and work thru the gift of adversity?
People who are willing to accept reality are ahead of the game-as opposed to those who deny reality and resort to fantasy. They will assess their situation, reach out for help and support, and find ways to overcome, and learn from, adversity. The book offers many specific guidelines as to how to do so.
In your book, you detail the challenges of growing up in the Apartheid era in South Africa. How did that shape your perspective on seeing adversity as a gift?
brought with it a great deal of adversity, especially for the Blacks who
labored most under its yoke. Adversity was everywhere in evidence, and I
specifically deal with it, for example, by discussing the lives of the servants
who worked for my family and the torture experienced by a cousin of mine. But the whites also suffered from the guilt of watching and often taking
What role does arrogance play in a person’s ability to consider or handle adversity?
arrogant person takes on a position of superiority in relation to others. He is unlikely to learn from mistakes because he doesn't acknowledge his
mistakes. Humble people are more likely to learn and grow from adversity. In one chapter I discuss how it is important to learn something from
Who’s inspiring you right now?
patients always inspire me by the courage with which they embrace their
problems and the creativity with which they work around them to live rich and
diverse lives. Kind people inspire me. I see kindness every day,
and it warms my heart.
In The Gift of Adversity by Dr. Normal Rosenthal, the noted research psychiatrist explores how life's disappointments and difficulties provide us with the lessons we need to become better, bigger, and more resilient human beings. The book is available for purchase on Amazon.com
About Dr. Norman Rosenthal
The New York Times-bestselling author of Transcendence: Healing and Transformation through Transcendental Meditation, Winter Blues and How to Beat Jet Lag, Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D., attended the University of the Witwatersrand in his native South Africa. He moved to the United States and was resident and chief resident at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and the New York Psychiatric Institute. He has conducted research at the National Institute of Mental Health for over twenty years. It was there that he first described and diagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Dr. Rosenthal is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical School and has maintained a private practice in the Washington, DC metropolitan area for the past thirty years. Rosenthal is the author or co-author of over 200 professional articles and several popular books, including Winter Blues, the classic work on SAD. He currently serves as medical director and CEO of Capital Clinical Research Associates in Rockville, Maryland, where he directs clinical trials in both pharmaceuticals and complementary and alternative medicine.
Had the pleasure of connecting with Dr. Mark Goulston and Dr. John Ullmen, authors of Real Influence: Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In about their new book and more. Some really great insights from two great thought leaders. Enjoy!
The book is
ripe with practical ideas, could you unwrap the concept of "their
there" and why it's important in the arena of influence?
MG: "Your here" is your agenda and in this distrustful world everyone expects people to have one and so everyone either has their guard up or is primed to put their guard up at the first sign of you trying to foist your agenda on them.
JU: Focusing and remaining focused on "their there" or where the other person is coming from and helping them to see and get to where they want to go and way beyond that, where they could go is one of the keys to real influence. In fact, the most influential people from our lives were influential because they saw a potential in us that we couldn't see.
We here in
the U.S. live in a very self-focused culture. What are some ways to transcend
MG: Think of someone and what they did who stood up for you when you couldn't and/or stood by you in a crisis and refused to let you fail and/or stood up to you in private and pushed you to do something you didn't think you could or stopped you from doing something foolish that would have hurt you or your reputation.
JU: Good point Mark. What was that person's effect on you? Probably amazing. What would be the best way to honor them? Probably by doing onto others what they did onto you. What would be the effect on people around you? Probably the same as that special person's effect was on you... huge. Plus you might even like yourself or be proud of yourself more.
What will the
solo/individual contributor find most practical in the book?
JU: The solo/individual will find a 4 step way to truly win friends and influence everyone, that works 100 % of the time if you apply it.
listening help our efforts to influence?
JU: Ask yourself, "When was the last time I felt someone: got my situation (I mean really got my situation); got me in my situation (my fears, dread, dreams and possibilities) and got not just where I wanted to be, but where I could be that would be profitable, successful, meaningful and fulfilling. " We're guessing, "Doesn't happen to often." That is the power of listening to influence someone.
apply the concepts found in the book to their personal lives?
MG: In a word... absolutely. Just think of the people who helped you become the best you could be and who will be among the top handful of people you are most grateful to at the end of your life. What if you became that to the people in your personal life? Imagine the possibilities.
About The Authors MARK GOULSTON, M.D., is a business psychiatrist, consultant, Chairman and Cofounder of Heartfelt Leadership, and the author of the bestselling Just Listen and Get Out Of Your Own Way. He also writes a Tribune syndicated career column; blogs for Fast Company, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and Psychology Today; and is featured frequently in major media, including the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Newsweek, CNN, NPR, and Fox News. He lives in Los Angeles. JOHN ULLMEN, Ph.D., is an acclaimed executive coach whose clients include dozens of leading international firms. He oversees MotivationRules.com, conducts popular feedback-based seminars on influence in organizations, and teaches at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. He lives in Los Angeles.
Celebrating the best of the Epic Living Blog, 2012. Enjoy!
This is a photo taken of me and Marion Margolis. We met on my visit to NYC last weekend. Marion was very kind to my wife and I on our visit. A seemingly accidental meeting as we were taking in the beauty of Central Park. The photo above was shot in Central Park West.
Marion is an author (among many things). She is a writer of 3 children's books. The one that intrigued me most was titled New Digs for Beau, about her beloved Dalmatian. She spoke fondly, with emphasis, about the her relationship with this special dog named Beau. I don't know if she knew how I was reveling in our conversation. It was so strange and familiar all together. This was important as I am making my way through a new chapter in life, and as I craft a second book.
I asked her about her inspirations and what her process for writing was like. Marion likes silence, I like music when writing. Two authors connecting on the process of writing. It's always intriguing to learn what sparks creativity in artists. She truly inspired me.
Ever been to a place out of a dream that lived out like that dream? That's what my meeting Marion was like. It was like I was invited to participate in something beyond what I could have imagined. All of this and more, in a place called Central Park West.
I recently added the book, Love Works: Seven Timeless Principles for Effective Leaders, to our Epic Books roll. A friend recommended the book to me and I thought you'd enjoy it too.
Click on the book image above to get more detail on the book from Amazon.
Had the pleasure of conducting this interview with Amy Shea, author of Defending Happiness. Love her insights and the experiences that forged them.
Why do we need to defend happiness?
We need to defend our happiness from the idea that it's dispensable. We not only put it last, but we eliminate it from our daily life. We save it up for vacation. And we blame and complain that we have all these responsibilities, these things that have to be done first. Yet, if we examine those things we are putting in its place, so often they are tied to an ideal of what life is supposed to look like, what we are supposed to be doing. Remember in Star Trek, when an episode would open up with the team in the transporter room, ready to beam down to the supposedly-docile planet? Whenever you saw a new guy you didn't recognize on the team you knew two things: a) there was going to be trouble, and b) he was going to be the first to go. That new guy is happiness. It's the first to go when there's trouble. Yet when we have trouble, that's when we need it most.
Is happiness a choice?
Yes. And it's sometimes a hard choice. No one is happy when hard and difficult things happen. And the last thing I am suggesting is positive thinking--I don't believe in that. It's denial of what is. I believe in seeing what is, and seeing the value in what is. When I got breast cancer, my world, as I knew it, stopped. And that experience was not one sided. Was it a gun to my chest? You bet. But it also stamped an expiration date on my consciousness, and I was more present, laughed harder, and stopped making unimportant things so important. And THAT'S the choice: not what happens, but how to show up in what happens, how to live with a full consciousness instead of one that is but a limited perception of what happiness is supposed to look like. Breast cancer taught me that, though as a strategy I would not recommend it.
You’re very transparent in your book, Defending Happiness. Was it difficult to be so open?
Not at all. I'm not ashamed of being human, and I think being human is hilarious. And I love to laugh, especially with others. I think pretending we are perfect is toxic--to us, our relationships, and our world. It is the most isolating thing we do as humans.
What advice would you give to the person waiting for happiness to pay them a visit?
Hit the road. Go find it. Happiness is not a furry puppy that's going to climb up into your lap. Going after what makes you happy is going to mean disturbance. At the very least, it's going to disturb the habitual life. It may disturb those who are accustomed to you doing what they want, what makes them happy. It may mean you make less money, have fewer things. But whatever disturbance you encounter, you will be here, you will have shown up in your own life.
Do you think there is a connection between contentment and happiness?
Yes, if you can find contentment in being yourself and contributing from that place. To me, happiness is the peace found in being completely present in one's life, even as one faces all that life is--that amazing feeling of being awake. It is to have lived. I wouldn't trade it for anything of this world.
Very pleased to bring you our second installment of the 5 Questions series. Today's post features Daniel Wong the author of The Happy Student; 5 Steps to Academic Fulfillment and Success. You'll be intrigued by his insights on students and the issues around happiness.
What percentage of students in high school and college are happy?
As an education excellence coach and speaker, I've had the privilege of speaking to and working with thousands of students. A majority of students tell me that they're simply not happy! I estimate that only 5% of students say they're happy.
Just to be clear, when I say "happiness" I'm not just referring to a temporary emotion. I'm referring to something you experience at a much deeper level even when you don't feel very cheerful. I'm talking about long-lasting fulfillment.
I believe the main reason students are unhappy is that they feel "forced" into education. They feel like they have to do their homework, have to participate in extracurricular activities, have to study for exams. Teachers and parents don't commonly encourage students to take full responsibility for their education, so students don't feel like they have a choice.
But if you want to be a great student— or great at anything, really— you need to make a conscious choice. No one can force you into becoming great! Even the most well-meaning teacher or parent can't force a student to become a great one. We need to empower students to commit to their own success, instead of trying to nag or coerce them into becoming successful.
Based on your experiences what makes most students unhappy?
Students become unhappy by trying to run the race that other people want them to run, instead of deciding to run their own race. It's easy to give in to peer pressure and to "go with the flow," but if you do that, you're trying to find happiness on other people's terms. Placing your happiness in the hands of others definitely isn't the way to become a happy student.
Students need to define success for themselves, rather than just accept society's definition of success.
What connection should be made between the state of happiness, or unhappiness, in students and career aspirations?
When students don't ask themselves what's truly important to them, they end up pursuing the things that other people tell them is important. This is true when it comes to what classes they choose to take, and even what career they choose to pursue.
I've spoken to many students who are pursuing a particular course of study just because other people think it's a good idea. That's a recipe for unhappiness in the long-term!
People who haven't learned how to find enduring happiness as a student will potentially become unhappy workers, and even unhappy parents. The problem of unhappy students is one that we cannot ignore.
Happy students are much more likely to discover their passion and their calling, which will lead to more happiness and success in their careers and beyond.
Is happiness a choice?
Yes, happiness is a choice, much more than it is a feeling. Besides, when we think of the people we admire and respect the most, we'll probably realize that they are people who have done many things to make themselves unhappy in the short term. But in the long term, they became people of courage, commitment, conviction and character. These are the things that contribute to your happiness in the long run.
So happiness really is a matter of making day-to-day decisions that will result in you becoming a bigger person who will be able to add more value to other people's lives. At the heart of it, happiness isn't just a personal thing.
Where in the world are students most happy?
That's not an easy question to answer, because even though I've had the opportunity to travel to many different countries, I haven't been to every country in the world.
But I have observed that the happiest students are the ones who are given plenty of freedom to explore and discover. I think it's a sad fact that the longer students are in school, the less curious they become! Students who are encouraged to develop a spirit of curiosity— rather than a spirit of competition— are the ones who end up the happiest and also the most successful.
We live in the Information Age where there's so much knowledge available online. Education shouldn't be about forcing students to memorize facts and equations— you could easily find that information on Google or Wikipedia. Education should be about teaching students to care— to care about what they're learning and doing, and to care about the world around them.
The happiest students are the ones who have learned to care.
Very excited to share some thoughts on a new book titled, The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success by Les McKeown. I must say the book is a must for anyone involved or interested in organizational development and teamwork. Mr. McKeown articulates a reliable way for groups to form and perform as a team. As someone who thinks the word team is as worn out as the word leadership, it's refreshing to read a thought leader who truly understands what the word means in the real world.
I am biased in my fondness for this book because he described me, personally, in one of the chapters. It was rather haunting, but in a good way.
Mr. McKeown has a vast background in working the land of organizational development. He applies this in a way that is understandable and relevant, regardless of your position/role.
Here are some key take-aways I gained from the book:
This post is not long enough to give you all that the book delivers. But the book really is like guidebook. You owe it to yourself to check it out.
Had a chance to dig into a new book recently titled Take the Stairs by Rory Vaden. The book takes a path I like, namely, it doesn't pull any punches. Rory makes it clear that if you want success you better be prepared to do the hard work, but in the end it's worth it and most truly successful people get this.
He also takes on our cultural norms (at least in America) and plays the true contrarian. Fortunately he doesn't leave you with long-winded diatribes. Solutions are found through-out the book. In the end, the resounding theme goes the direction of no easy path to true success. The following are some of the things I liked about Rory's insights:
All-in-all the book is worth the read.