Grow With Me

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Becoming: Former first lady Michelle Obama’s memoir was inspiring. She’s the epitome of dedication and work ethic. If a black girl from the southside of Chicago can get two ivy league degrees and become the first lady of the free world, nothing is impossible. I’m happy I was alive to experience and read it.

“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”

The Alchemist: I started the book and couldn’t put it down. I read it again taking notes. It is a personal favorite. I’ll be re-reading this book for years to come. Too many favorites to list:

Making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.

The Artist’s Way: 25th Anniversary Edition: Julia Cameron developed a 12-week workbook to help all types of artists with creative blocks. A good read and mental exercise. Two activities are essential for the completion of the book: 1) write morning pages every day – journal 3 pages of whatever is on your mind 2) have a weekly artist date with yourself

An artist date is a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist…..a play date you plan and defend against all interlopers. You do not take anyone on the artist date but you and your inner artist, a.k.a. your creative child.

How to Win Friends & Influence People: Dale Carnegie, the professional development guru, provides practical tips (taken directly from book cover):

make friends quickly and easily, win people over to your way of thinking, improve your conversation skills and become more entertaining, and acquire new clients and customers.

The Seat of the Soul: Author Gary Zukav provided some insightful nuggets. I enjoyed the chapters on Choice & Intentions the most. I like the quote below from the book:

When the deepest part of you becomes engaged in what you are doing, when your activities and actions become gratifying and purposeful, when what you do serves both yourself and others, when you do not tire within but seek the sweet satisfaction of your life and your work, you are doing what you were meant to be doing.

The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential: John Maxwell explains leadership. If your leadership skills require upgrading, he provides a blueprint on how to become a leader. Quote from Level 3 Production:

“Do what you do so well that those who see you do what you do are going to come back to see you do it again and tell others that they should see you do what you do.”

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: It took me a while to get through this book. It is a necessary read for anyone wanting to uplevel their life. I particularly enjoyed the section on “The Power of a Paradigm Shift.” Excerpt from book:

Kuhn introduced the term paradigm shift and shows in his book how almost every significant breakthrough in the field of scientific endeavors is first a break with tradition, with old ways of thinking, with old paradigms.

Man’s Search for Meaning: A story of suffering and perseverance. I cannot imagine being imprisoned in a concentration camp and fearing death everday. Viktor Frankl does a great job of giving graphic details of hell on earth. It makes you not want to ever have a bad day.

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

The Purpose Playbook: I didn’t know what to expect when I downloaded Kyle Dendy’s book on my Amazon Kindle app. It was a riveting read. Kyle is young but full of wisdom. I was impressed.

“People fail in life not becasue they aim too high and miss but because they aim too low and hit.”

Crushing God Turns Pressure Into Power: I adore all things Bishop TD Jakes. I’m drawn to his delivery and interpretation of biblical characters and events. He’s a master storyteller and has a way with words. Similar to this:

But waiting was far more beneficial because the Lord was working on something marvelous in a secret place. He was working on my character. He was working on my heart. He was working on my nervousness. He was working on my wisdom. He was working on me, boiling off every single impurity because there was no way God was going to present to the world an unrefined, unfermented, underdeveloped product.

The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?: Rick Warren wrote a 40-day devotional on discovering your purpose in God. It provided good biblical references and insight. I’ll be using the devotional on repeat.

“Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.