Reading as one of the most valuable tools you can use while working on your personal development. While your own mindset is important, if you are stuck, it is helpful to read other people’s ideas and collect questions that can help guide your thought process. Personal development books can be very useful tools for reflection. It took me a while to discover this world, but I will save you time and give you a great place to start with this list of five books that will change your life.
When I was growing up, I hated reading. I could never imagine why anyone would want to read for pleasure. I’d wonder why these people weren’t doing something fun instead. I couldn’t imagine wanting to read to improve your life. I. Had no idea about the personal development genre. I also couldn’t picture why anyone would want to read to simply learn something new unless it was a school assignment. Part of it was my attitude about reading, but the other part was that because of my visual impairment, there weren’t many books available to me. The ones that were available were mostly outdated and didn’t interest me. Then I got introduced to Audible and Kindle books. Once I had access to books that were interesting and relevant to me, I grew to love reading.
It opened me up to new worlds and ideas including personal development. I discovered what a powerful tool reading can be. I had read books to mostly gather information, but had never saw reading as a way to improve my life, but throughout this journey, I have found five books that have changed my life and they can change yours too.
The Five Second Rule
The Five Second Rule is an amazing book by Mel Robbins. If you listen to the Audible version, it’s as if she’s sitting right there with you having a friendly, but extremely honest chat. The major idea behind this book is that it takes us five seconds to make decisions. We can either take or lose an opportunity in five seconds. It’s amazing when you think about it. Mel explains it better than I can because it starts with her experience, but basically if we count backwards from five, it refocuses our brain and allows us to make quicker decisions that put us into action.
For example, let’s say you want to get out of bed earlier in the morning, but your habit is to hit the snooze several times. You can’t seem to get it together in the morning and it is having a negative impact on the rest of your day. When you hear that first alarm, start counting backwards from five and then launch yourself out of bed. Mell explains it as a space shuttle launching. It gives you momentum. It sounds so simple, but most of us don’t think of doing this. The 5 second method has helped me push through anxiety about making decisions. Too many of us stay in a space of being stuck. The 5 second rule pushes us to take action.
Take Control of Your Life
This is another book by Mel Robbins. I love her simple, but effective way of explaining things. Some people may be offended by some of the language she uses, but she doesn’t sugar coat things. It may make people feel uncomfortable, but if we don’t feel discomfort, we don’t grow. This book consists of Mel doing several coaching sessions, but the first one resonated most with me. Her client was a man named Dan who was a fraud he’d never find his life’s purpose. He felt stuck and had no idea what his next steps should be. This is where I was last year.
Reading Take Control of My Life helped me to look at things from a different perspective. I tend to be an over thinker and want to do everything at once, but this book helped me break my goals down into small achievable steps. It also helped me realize that what I needed to do was follow. My interests. I didn’t need to come up with a complete plan right away. Each interest you follow will give you more information which can help you decide what your next step will be. If you are interested in learning more, I’ve done a post on how I used the Brick by Brick method.
The Five Love Languages
The next book on my list is The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I recommend this book whether you are in a relationship or not. There is a version for singles, married couples and even love languages for children. This book is based off the idea that everyone gives and receives love differently and when we can tap into our partner’s love language, we can create a mutually fulfilling relationship. I will say that there are a lot of Christian references in this book, but I don’t feel it took anything away from the overall message. You can still certainly benefit from this book whether you are a Christian or not. According to Gary Chapman, the love languages are acts of service, words of affirmation, gifts, physical touch and quality time. I learned that my love language is gifts. It’s how I know I’m appreciated and how I show appreciation to others. However, I now know that the recipient of my gifts may be wishing I’d show my love in other ways. This would be a great book for couples to read together or separately, but to compare notes. If you find out what your partner’s love language is, you will make them feel more love. In turn, you will feel more love as well. It’s a win win! I wish I would’ve found this book sooner.
Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help YouFind – and Keep – Love
If psychology interests you, you’ll find this book interesting, but more importantly, if you’ve had troubled relationships, this book is a must read! Since I had a relatively normal childhood and had a decent relationship with my mother and other family members when I was young, I always figured I had a secure attachment style. However, when I read this book and completed the attachment questions, I learned that I have an anxious attachment style. Who wants to admit that? Certainly not me.
I was initially disgusted with myself and felt like I was doing everything all wrong. However, I am able to see where this style comes from and while I can’t totally shake the feelings of being anxious around attachment, I now have an understanding of how I can better manage my attachment related behaviors. I also learned that your attachment style can change over time and anxious people can become securely attached if they are able to create a secure environment with their partner. There’s hope for me yet! I’m making light of the matter, but I highly recommend this book whether you are currently in a relationship or not. It can also help you make sense of your past relationships.
Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race
Who would’ve thought that as a white person, a book about race would make such an impact? Considering current events, it’s obvious that most of us needed to do this work a long time ago. While this book focuses on anti racism and has strategies on how to spot and discuss racism across cultures, the parts that impacted me most were the discussions about what it means to be white. The author really breaks down the beliefs we have in white culture. I had never thought of it this way. She is also a New Englander and I could see myself in so many things that she was talking about. Especially in terms of family culture, keeping strong emotions to yourself, avoiding conflict and sticking to basic small talk. I always assumed that my conflict avoidance was just because I wanted to be a nice person and please others. While that is true, when I really think about it, that is how most of the women are in my family. We are peace makers. We are not happy unless everyone is getting along.
When I look back on my childhood, if I cried or showed other strong emotions, I remember feeling embarrassed or ashamed to be displaying that level of emotion in front of people. Even if I was just with my family. I felt like I needed to stay strong and push through whatever was going on regardless of my feelings. Showing sadness or hurt feelings were signs of weakness. At least that’s how I internalized it. We are uncomfortable with that level of emotion.
If someone gets angry in front of me, I either want to fix it quickly by giving them whatever will calm them down. If that won’t work, I just want to get out of that situation. The same goes if someone is sad. I don’t want to sit with that. I want to make them feel better. My first instinct is to try to find a way to make them happy again. Sometimes, that can’t happen and I hate when I can’t fix it for them. Now I realize that it’s more than my individual personality at work. It’s my New England culture and apart of being white. I’m not quite done with this book yet, but it has been an eye opener. While I originally checked this book out to have a better understanding of racism and white privilege, I ended up with a better understanding of myself.
What books speak to you? What books have had an impact on your life? Tell me in the comments.