Today’s post is all about getting your $H!T together. I’m going to share my list of the best books to get your life together. This isn’t just a look-at-me-reading-in-a-fancy-dress post. This is a kick in the ass. If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, lazy, uninspired, depressed, or just need a change. These books are not only going to change your mood but your life.
Tim Ferriss – Tools Of The Titans
This is my first must-buy book. I tell everyone about it, and with good reason. I consider this the ultimate self-help reference guide of all time. Everything from fitness to happiness is in this monster of a book. If you want only one of the best books to get your life together, this is it. Tim separates the book into Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise. So if you need to loose a few pounds, BAM this book. If you need to make more money, yup this book again. Even if you are not interested in sections of the book, get it anyway. You never now when something may come up. I’ve been following along with Tim Ferriss since his first book, The Four Hour Work Week. I remember reading this book for a second time during a huge transition in my life. I had given up my online untraditional business dreams because I (stupidly) listened to friends and family who made me feel an online business such as the ones I was pursuing were “scams”, “not real jobs”, and “wastes of time”. Like a fool, I listened to a bunch of basic and pretty unsuccessful people. Good intentions they may have had, but they just didn’t get it. Long story short (you can get the full story on my Business Mentoring site, The Business Darling here), I finished university and worked a “real job”. Five years later I had a nervous breakdown. My husband and I went to Taiwan for a few months where I read his book over and over, met new friends, and decided to listen to myself. I came back and have been starting online based businesses every since. When I get bored doing something, I just start another one. I can run multiple ones at the same time. I can do anything I want. It’s what I was doing before this book came out and I let other’s influence my life. This book gave me a reference and the permission to tune out the noise of negativity. Now I have several online sources of income and fun. I work on them less than part-time. I call them “free-time” incomes. I stay at home with my munchkin full-time. I work in my “free-time”. So back to Tools of the Titans, this book is based on notes and extra insights from Tim’s wildly famous podcast. He has interviewed some amazing people. I had NO IDEA Jamie Foxx was that interesting. Arnold Schwarzenegger was another amazing guest with some unexpected wisdom to drop. It’s a testament to what a great interviewer Tim has become through his podcasting journey. He has truly found his calling. Arnold Schwarzenegger provided the intro for Tools of the Titans. A fitting choice, as he proves he’s more than just protein shakes and power lifting. Because of this podcast, I’m so much more open to everyone’s story. You have no idea how people get success in their lives and if there is anything listening to their stories can teach you, it’s that step one is not caring about what other’s think. I don’t want to give all the good details away, so just grab your copy. You’ll need a few extras to give as gifts. When people come over to dinner parties and they mention something the book covers (and something will come up as the book is overflowing with information), I toss them a copy to keep. They always run back days later wanting to go on and on about what they read. The excitement people have from these nuggets of gold is pure joy to me. I kinda can’t stand people who poo-poo self-help books. I feel bad they are closed off to escaping their situations and expanding their wisdom. There is only such a limited amount of information you get from those in your life. Their world views are likely similar and they can be stuck in that world. There is so much more out there and others have done what your circles have thought to be impossible. Learn from those that say you can, and have. Moving on… The next must have book is Essentialism by Greg McKeown. Most ladies are familiar with Marie Kondo The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Well, Essentialism is like that for your entire life. Your business, your space, your soul. So I’ll YouTube Marie Kondo showing me how to organize, but I’ll be reading Essentialism because it totally makes me want to toss out all sorts of things, relationships, tasks that clutter my life. While I’m not into the Maris Kondo method of thanking each item. I mixed in a little Essentialism and I just ask myself do I LOVE it? If I don’t LOVE LOVE LOVE it, better not to have it take up space. Everything taking up space in my life is stealing from my well-being if looking at it doesn’t ignite good feelings. When it comes to business Essentialism is a must. Before I do anything I ask myself if this will produce the maximum impact. If it’s just something nice to do, but will have a little impact….I just don’t do it! This way of life fits perfectly with me. I’m all about getting the most out of doing the least effort. It’s not lazy, it’s SMART. Freeing up time for what excites you the most is what just doing what’s absolutely essential is this is all about. The book also discusses important things like setting boundaries. It brings up why we should not be solving problems for others because this will help them learn how to help themselves. Accomplish more by doing less.
Getting Into Minimalism
It’s been because of Essentialism that I’m starting to get into minimalism. Not the extreme kind, but the kind that works for my life. Both Essentialism and Minimalism are cousins. I like to think of Essentialism as being your life philosophy and Minimalism as the process you developed to live that philosophy in every area of your life.
Essentialism VS Minimalism
The difference between the two is only investing in and hanging onto the things/people/tasks that are “essential” to each of our individual versions of “the good life” as opposed to trying to “make do” with as few things as possible. I also like to think of it as rejecting that BUY BUY BUY commercialism that has been violently injected into our culture. You’ll notice that I reuse a lot of fashion pieces on this blog. That is because I reject that having the latest style is essential to my happiness, but I am willing to buy and go out of my way to purchase and take care of the few pieces that I enjoy enough to use over and over again. I actually try and stay away from trends for the sake of trends. An essentialist may purchase several key pieces that make them happy, get used often, and they feel beautiful in. While a minimalist may try to get by on only having one item. It’s more about the amount of stuff. So why have a dining table if you live alone. Just have a desk you use to work at and eat it. Have less is the goal of Minimalism. Only have the essentials to your version of living a good life, is Essentialism.
I haven’t found any good books on what I find works for me in my version of Essentialism + Minimalism, but here are some key points I follow:
- If I haven’t used it, worn it, looked for it, or found it useful in 6 months…it’s out! I have collected a lot of kitchen appliances through the years. I bought I pressure cooker once to make my own beans, and I’m so scared of the thing. It’s huge, why keep it? I try to think of things as taking up rental space in my home. If I set the value of that space in my home as $4 a month, and haven’t used it in a year, that’s $48 it has cost me for just sitting there. It didn’t cost that much to buy and wouldn’t cost that much if in the future I absolutely had to replace it. So I TOSS IT! Think of the effort and wasted time from not being able to have that space empty or taken by something you love and use.
- Same goes for friends. If I have to constantly expel effort trying to call them and make plans, that they just don’t show up for or constantly cancel and disappoint me. Why would I expend that effort on them? Wouldn’t it be better to strengthen the relationships with people I already have participating in my life? It would even be more beneficial to seek out new people then force something that isn’t working. Less relationships, but BETTER relationships.
- How many cleaners do you own? I found I can pair down all the cleaners to just safe non-toxic ones. I buy a HUGE bottle of white vinegar, a huge bag of baking soda, non-toxic dish soap, a mason shaker jar, and some glass non-toxic spray bottles. Sure I could be fancy and add essential oils, but who’s got time for that? I don’t have 8 different cleaning products and a huge toxic mess I have to worry about with my child. I have a few items and I make all I need. It works perfectly and disinfects better than that toxic garbage. It’s great for saving money too!
- Every girl loves shoes. I have a very hard to find shoe size. I’m size 5. Most designers don’t even make it. I got into the habit of buying anything in my size. I amassed a huge amount of shoes that I never wore. Now I only buy from places I can return or try them on before hand. Zappos has been a great resource! I don’t suffer through heels. I don’t want those gnarly deformed old lady feet when I’m older. I use shoes with great cushion and insoles. I also look for real leather because the synthetic stuff just doesn’t feel right and causes more foot pain. Then when it’s time, I get them fixed! You can’t do that with disposable cheap shoes. It creates less waste and you can feel the difference in quality.
- Spending money, but saving time. Time is money! In order to focus on work as much as possible and have time to eat well and healthy, I budgeted these extras. First I use grocery delivery services. The only organic grocery store is so far away and overcrowded + the traffic back and forth is awful. It steals almost an entire day. So I use the delivery service and get that time back! I also don’t have the time to spend getting recipes and shopping lists for healthy meals. I don’t know enough about being a chef and if left to my own ideas, it would be pasta and rice dishes. I use Sun Basket now because it’s organic, has healthy options, and offers Paleo.
- I consider my brand of Essentialism that I purchase higher quality beautiful items I enjoy looking at over getting by on less or multi purposings items as a traditional minimalist. It’s confusing but works for me. I don’t feel deprived or cluttered with things I don’t use.
I’m beginning the process of starting a whole new post on my brand of Minimalism. Look out for it. I’m hopeful if will inspire you to create YOUR own brand of Minimalism too!
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The Best Books To Get Your Life Together that YOU Love!
I want some more book recommendations. Share your secrets, darling! Get to the comments and let me know your best books to get your life together. Photography: CatsMeowPhoto