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In a rut? Read these personal development books for an invigorating perspective

From the various social distancing measures enforced and relaxed, to the lockdown of certain districts, many individuals have felt an absence of feeling good about their lives. This term is defined as ‘languishing’ — the lack of purpose or belonging in life which leads to a sense of emptiness, emotion and stagnation.

Heightened feelings of languishing have been experienced by individuals all across the globe because of the global pandemic. The inability to see family and friends, working from home, falling into extreme poverty, lack of social protection and access to quality health care are all factors that contribute to your feeling of ‘bleh’.

To combat this feeling, try adopting the methods discovered by the following personal development authors from their books, below.

(Hero and featured image courtesy of Nong Vang on Unsplash)

1 /6

Atomic Habits by James Clear 

Atomic Habits is your guide to understanding more about your behaviours, specifically how to break your bad ones and adopt good habits. James Clear takes you on the journey of exploring the system of compound growth through the stories of CEOs, Olympic medallists and scientists who have used simple life hacks to self-improve, stay motivated and be happy.

His first theory states that habits are executed by a four-step pattern: the cue (i.e. an action or word) which triggers the craving, which encourages a response (i.e. another action), leading to a reward. This satisfies the craving and thus forms part of the cue.

To change an existing habit, Clear provides a four-step execution plan: Make the behaviour obvious, make it attractive, make it easy and lastly, make it satisfying.

2 /6

Everything Is Fucked: A Book About Hope by Mark Manson

The self-explanatory title explores the concept of hope and how we should not look at things as a means to an end but just an end itself. The doctrine of hope should stem from appreciating our own significance in the world no matter how uncomfortable that is to process.

Manson argues that hope is composed of three elements: The first, a sense of control; the second, a belief in the value; and lastly, a community.

3 /6

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie 

The book provides you with principles to make people like you, win people to your way of thinking and change other people’s behaviour by simply changing your own.

Want to learn techniques on how to handle people better? Don’t criticise, condemn or complain; give honest and sincere appreciation; and arouse in the other person an eager want.

4 /6

Ikigai by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles 

A brief insight into the lives of Okinawans in Japan and how they Ikigai, the secret to a long and happy life. Iki meaning “to live” and gai meaning “reason.” Therefore, your Ikigai is your reason to live.

To find your Ikigai, ask yourself: What do I love? What am I good at? What does the world need from me? What can I get paid for?

Once you have found your Ikigai, try following these techniques implemented by Okinawan centenarians, which include: Worrying as little as possible, surrounding yourself with good friends and being optimistic — amongst others.

5 /6

5AM Club by Robin Sharma

This morning routine was first introduced by Sharma over 20 years ago to maximise productivity through the story of two struggling strangers. It explores how waking up in the quietest hours of daybreak can give you time to think, express your creativity and begin your day peacefully.

The 5am Concept (between 5am and 6am): 20 minutes of movement (i.e., exercise), followed by 20 minutes of reflecting (i.e., journaling), followed by 20 minutes of growing (i.e., reading, for example). These 20 minute splits are not strict and can be varied according to your preferences.

6 /6

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers

The book teaches you about your fears: Why we fear and how to manage them. Rather than avoiding fear, Jeffers provides strategies to develop a stronger mindset to conquer your fear and live fully.

There are several different kinds of fear: Level 1 – the fear of what will happen to us, i.e. career change, meeting new people; Level 2 – our own ego and what happens in our inner state of mind, i.e. fear of rejection, failure; Level 3 – the essence of all our fears, i.e. “I can’t handle this.”

At the beginning of the book, she sets out a number of ‘truths on fear’. The key message is: Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.

Tanya Parmanand

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