Who else wants to improve their life?
I do and I learned that taking notes from your favorite books can help improve your life, by offering insight into your mind, situations and emotions. Understanding why you enjoy the books that you do and uncovering the lessons you can learn by dissecting those truths has the capacity to propel your life to new heights.
There are books that stick with you long after you finished the last word. They sit on your shelf in a place of honor or on the nightstand beside your bed. They are the books you visit time and time again. They evoke something in you, resonating within your soul, penetrating your mind or stirring your emotions. Whether it’s an incentive to be better, understand love a little bit more, pursue your purpose or gather inspiration, we cling to those favorite books and re-read the words often to remember and feel that way again.
The next time you pick up a book to re-read the words that mean so much, ask yourself a few questions:
What lessons can you learn from your favorite books? Why do you like them? What do they mean to you? Is there an emotional resonance? Does it impact your mind or thoughts? Do you feel it in your heart? Why? And, how do I apply this to my life?
The first book on my list may surprise you. Lessons from Madame Chic is one of the works that had the most impact on my life. It poked the bear, so to speak. I found this book at exactly the time I needed it – when I needed my “closet” decluttered. This book shared the author’s, Mrs. Jennifer L. Scott’s, experiences in Paris and the interesting cultural differences between French and American people. I had been living in a state of excess for years: too many clothes, odd trinkets from my youth, old toys from my childhood, extra items to have “just in case,” and it weighed me down. I wanted to be better. This book was the catalyst for starting a journey that was much more profound than just my closet. It began a path to live a life free from stuff that holds me down or back, and focus on what really matters and to live my best every day. I realized a lot of the material items I carried with me was filler for a void that I was feeling deeper in my spirit. What I didn’t realize (until after I started my decluttering process) was that I not only decluttered my house, I decluttered my mind and, in turn, my life. This book pushed me to contemplate why I had what I had, why I did what I did, think about my choices and be better.
Speaking about my spirit brings me to my next book.
The Screwtape Letters. I discovered this little gem about ten years ago and have never read the same book twice. I own three copies (one included in a collection of works, one I keep close & one I keep to share) and have read it many times. This satire by C.S. Lewis, who is now my favorite author, tells of the correspondence between two demons coming to earth on a routine possession. It may sound dark and diabolical, but I can assure you it’s different than what you think. And, this book will make you think…many things, about a lot of things. While a work of fiction, I believe there is a thread of truth to every good novel and it opens my mind to question. Lifting the box off of your imagination, to a place without guidelines or restraints, is a beautiful thing. It evokes my spirit and makes me shift my perspective. This book helped me open my mind.
And, on that thought… What if we shifted our perspective on how we view our job? Those we work with? Our employer or employees? What if people mattered?
People Over Profit. This book showcases how employees and employers should grow together. Dale Partridge explains that both are valuable. This is a wonderful book for those who are leaders or are becoming them, with tons of nuggets of insight in a relatively short read. Interestingly enough, I was reading this book on my breaks at work and had it sitting on my desk. While I was out on an errand, the director of my department was sitting in my chair, as she spoke to my manager. When I came back, she asked me about it and we chatted about the principles within the pages. I never did find out if she read it, but shortly after that, we began reading books to build up our development, like The Energy Bus and The Secret, which are both excellent reads. I enjoy books about engagement and development, because no one does it alone. We all need help and need to help others. Too often, we’re inundated by areas of our “weaknesses” when in reality, they are simply areas of opportunities to grow. This book reminds you how to be for someone, it shows how you impact others, how what you do matters and that people are valuable. A great quote from the book, “How you make others feel about themselves says a lot about you.” I’ll never forget that. This book helped me see people more clearly and in a different light.
While we’re on the subject of people and value, I think the next book will enrich your life in way you may not be prepared for.
The Book Thief. I read Markus Zusak’s book for the first time only weeks ago. I say it that way, because I’ll read it again and again. This book had a lot of ticks on my love list: words meaning something, WWII, different sorts of love & being narrated by Death. If you’ve read through my blog articles, you know I believe in the Power of Words, in an abstract sort of way. And, this book played on that. I’m not giving much away on this one. But, I will say this book gave me all sorts of feels, hitting everything. I love this book.
Since we’re on the subject of love, we come to the most important book in my life.
The Bible. I encourage you to find a version of this book you understand and read the entire work for yourself. While I view it as God’s divinely influenced and infallible word, I also view it as a history book and a love letter from God, giving examples of all the beauty and battles of life. It gives insight, knowledge, life and love. And, the word “love” is recorded a lot: approximately 310 times in the King James, 348 in New American Standard, 538 in the New Revised Standard and 551 times in the New International Version. I thought about how it talks about “love” enough to cover nearly every day of the year. Sometimes almost twice. I believe that’s the key here. Love. Love God, love yourself and love others. And, love is definitely something we could all share, give or receive from others just a little more. Should I leave it at that? Perhaps for now. This book peaked my curiosity to unravel the mysteries of love and the universe. A tall order, yes, but nevertheless accurate. This book opens my mind and helps me to understand and love better. And, that’s only skimming the surface.
I lessons I learned from these books may be different than the lessons you would. The lessons you learn from your favorite books are unique to you. They are special to you. And, they can propel you to live your best life. If you take the time to reflect and dig deeper, you may begin to see a pattern. I hope you do. And, I hope those lessons propel your life to new heights. Because by understanding ourselves, we can learn to help ourselves grow and, in turn, help others.
By sharing what a book means to you and why, you have the ability to paint a world, plant an idea or capture a belief to help another person understand. Those few words, whether spoken or written, can inspire and motivate someone to be the best they can be.
And my friends, helping someone be their best is a truly beautiful thing.
So, re-read those books and learn the lessons that are uniquely yours.
This is not an ad, but I wanted you to know all the books listed are available on Amazon. (at time of article) Happy reading!