Ever since I was little, I've loved reading and feeling like I was in another world. Harry Potter was another favorite (Lord of the Rings, not so much). As I got older, my books changed into what was on the NYT Bestseller's list and would make me rich and successful overnight. Richest Man in Babylon, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, How to Win Friends and Influence People and did you know Rich Dad, Poor Dad has like 5 other books? I read them all and more.
I read and read and read and imagined how I would be the ultimate of happy, successful, and effortless all in one. Sharing my musings of what's possible with all my friends. It did make for interesting conversation! Although, they may have just been polite...
Then I evolved into being a 'spiritually enlightened' person and read all those good ones like The Four Agreements, The Alchemist, The Power of Now and so on. Oh, how I felt enlightened except when I couldn't be present in the moment (which come to think of it, is still most of the time!). Maybe if I just read one more book....LOL.
While I've never counted, it's fair to say I've read hundreds of books up until now.
And then all of a sudden, I stopped. The thought of reading another personal growth book made me want to throw it out the window and jump out with it.
I was sooooo tired of reading and improving. And well if it wasn't enjoyable, why do it?
Because one thing I learned from life is that life's too short to do things you find a chore or a bore.
Plus when was I going to start LIVING life? I could keep reading about everyone else's life or start living my own. I chose the latter and use books to enhance my life...instead of pretending about what my life could be.
So the last few years, I went back to my roots for reading. READING FOR FUN (was that also the program in elementary school with the Pizza Hut coupons?).
I wanted to go back to reading being something I enjoyed and that meant some light reading (aka chick lit). And then sneaking in some personal growth that was incredibly interesting and I took my time with. Time to actually absorb and embody what I was reading.
So here are my favorite 5 books of the year that I highly recommend out of the 7 I read. Ok, I lied, it was probably more but who's counting? ;)
- The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron - LIFE CHANGING. It's all about finding your creative self and takes you on a 12 week journey to discover it. Trust me, this is not just for artists or vocalists...this is for anyone who wants to do more in their life. I turned this book away for a long time thinking it just wasn't for someone like me (since I believed I had zero creative bones in my body). Funny thing is this book allowed me to explore who I am and realize I AM creative. That my ideas and desires have space to be shown in the world and to stop allowing my mind ('The Censor') to stop it. One of my favorite things from this book "All too often, it is audacity and not talent that moves an artist to center stage.” SOOO true! And I realized I was going to be more bold and audacious and I LOVE IT. Give yourself 12 weeks and a few hours each week to do it. It will change your life.
- Bossypants by Tina Fey - DIED LAUGHING. You have to get the audio version of this book because Tina Fey basically narrarates her life story and I couldn't stop laughing. It's like her on SNL but talking about her life as the geeky, awkward one and it's hilarious! However, disclaimer...I listened to this on a road trip with my parents and it was AWKWARD. So only listen to this with people you aren't embarrassed in front of. She's very candid about a LOT of things.
- Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhani - BENDING REALITY. This book basically took all the concepts I have learned in the personal growth space and put it all in one easy to read book. My favorite part of the book was the idea of B.S. rules we let ourselves live by (Brules as he calls it) and how to think beyond those and realize we live in a big world with unlimited possibility. And I couldn't agree more...go start living your best life!
- The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion - ENDEARING. This book was light and fun and the perfect bedside table book. "Hilarious, feel-good novel narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love." It's the kind of book where you're rooting for love but in the weirdest of ways. If you want to turn your brain off before going to bed and just relax, this one is great!
- My Journal - VULNERABLE ACCEPTANCE. This one was unexpected and fun to read. Some parts were cringe worthy as I recalled immense pain in my life and others were lit up and like YES! in remembering many adventures I had been on. Observing my wave of emotions made me realize that I am exactly who I am. Some days great, some days eh and overall, just a normal human being. A woman with emotions that makes me dynamic, interesting and on a quest to a greater me. What made my journal especially interesting is I stopped writing 'formally' years ago. I stopped making it a status of my life and more just a stream of conscioussness...using it to just let my thoughts flow. Many times, just words or emotions were enough and I loved seeing my ability to let go. So if you have a journal, read it. If you have one, but haven't written in it, start today. And if you need to get one, here's the one I have: In the midst of our lives, we must make the magic that makes our souls soar. Just don't worry about making it perfect in any way, shape or form. Promise?
And that's my top list of books for this year. We'll see what's to come next year!
How about you? What was your favorite book you read this year? I only read based on recommendations now so would love to hear what you suggest. Comment below and share what's a must read to change your life or to just chill out. Both are so very important.
p.s. If you want to LIVE YOUR LIFE instead of just wishing or imagining it, let's chat! I am opening up my spots for one on one coaching in the new year. You can apply for a complimentary coaching session here to get clarity about what you want, what’s been holding you back and a powerful next step to move forward. If there's a fit (trust me, we'll both know!), I'll invite you to a coaching program that can transform your life.
Apply for your complimentary coaching session - It's YOUR time to live your best life and you can feel it. SO excited for you!
p.p.s. I have a special surprise I'm going to release next month! It's going to change your life and I can't wait to share it with you! If you want a sneak peek, send me a note at Shazia@TheLifeEngineer.com and I'll tell you the secret. ;)