Month: December 2021

Heart Wisdom – Ep. 137 – Gratitude and Generosity

Gratitude is a gracious acknowledgment of all that sustains us, a bow to our blessings, great and small. Gratitude is the confidence in life itself. In it, we feel how the same force that pushes grass through cracks in the sidewalk can invigorate our own life.

Part of what we have to offer the world with our gratitude and our trust is not how accomplished and wise and thoughtful we are; we offer the world our humility, our presence, our heart, and our brokenness as well.

The post Heart Wisdom – Ep. 137 – Gratitude and Generosity appeared first on Jack Kornfield.

How to Find Possibility

When I was in a stuck burned-out place in my career, I couldn’t see a different path. What I would tell my past burned-out self now is:

You won’t see what’s possible for your life until you move out of being stuck. Yet, to do so, you first need to leave. Yes, that makes leaving even more terrifying. Know that possibilities will be waiting for you once you are able to open to them. They’ve been trying to get your attention all along.

This is the story of how I came to find the possibilities seeking to find me. 

What came before I saw possibility?

I didn’t believe I could leave my career without a plan. I believed once I figured out what I wanted to do next, then I could leave.

I had so many rules about the perfect conditions needed for me to leave that I shut down. Unable to consider options.

When my daughter was born, suddenly I no longer cared about well-laid plans or perfect conditions. Suddenly it was clear to me: I had to go. For my family. For my health. For my life. So I listened to the wise inner voices calling me to leave. And I left.  

What is possibility?

Opening to the likelihood of something that doesn’t yet exist—a state, a way of being, or a reality – coming to be.

How did I find possibility?

It started when I was still working in my past career. It started while I was in and out of my own burn-out cycles.

Step 1: Watch others find possibilities

Long before I left, I noticed curiously that others left their careers without something else lined up.

“What’s next for you?” I asked a colleague on her last day at the organization.

“I’m traveling for nine months. We’ll see what opportunities come up me after that.” There was a lightness in her voice. She sounded so free.

“Wow, that’s great you are able to do that” I tried to hide my look of surprise: she was leaving without something else lined up?  

“I need a break! I’ll miss the people. But I won’t miss the work,” she smiled.

Others left with similar stories. It was always these women who caught my attention: the stressed, burned-out ones who needed a break. The ones who didn’t know what they were going to do next. Or what they even wanted to do next.

How could they leave without a plan? It intrigued me. Scared me. Did they know something I didn’t? They must have because they actually left. And I was still there, stuck, unable to make a change.

Over time, after others left, I watched something amazing unfold: some didn’t find another position at a company. Some created something new from nothing. Some built a career that was meaningful and fulfilling to them.

What I learned from watching others leave is that it is possible for something new to arise. They showed me that possibility exists. If they found possibility, maybe I could find it too.

Step 2: Intentional space

My intentional space came with a baby.

I craved a break from doing. From a fast-paced environment. From tight and often unrealistic deadlines. From working harder, faster. I was so tired of it all.

I craved slow, quiet space. With minimal external demands. I needed time in being energy.

It was not easy being home with my daughter at first. The newborn weeks were especially challenging. But, over time, as my daughter became more settled in this world, I found the space I needed.

In whatever time I had, I began to focus on my own development. Completing program exercises during my daughter’s naps and listening to program recordings on walks. A practical program on how to start a consulting business. A women’s empowerment program.

When I sat down to focus on a journaling exercise from the Feminine Power program about connecting with my deeper desires, I stared blankly at my notebook. The prompt stared back at me: “What do I most deeply desire to contribute in my life?”

The instructions specified to put the pen to the paper and write what comes up. I began: “I don’t know. I have lost touch with what I want to contribute.” I sunk into the chair, feeling heavy. My heart ached.

I was so disconnected from my career interests and aspirations. It was then I realized I would need to intentionally reconnect to my deeper career desires. To take time to repair what had been cut-off.

It was uncomfortable. To not know what I wanted or what would happen. To be in between what was and what would be.

It was when I became curious that possibility began to peak in. I wondered: how will things unfold? I wondered: what’s next for my career?

I found glimpses of what could be. Glimpses of a fulfilling and meaningful life I could create for myself. I discovered the seeds of what I desired to contribute. 

Step 3: Do something

I didn’t magically discover exactly what I wanted to do. I didn’t envision my dream career in that space. That’s not how I found possibility.

Intentional space reignited me to move forward. To start with what I knew. To begin right where I was. 

Starting was clunky at first. I was learning how to start my own business. I was learning what it was like to be a consultant instead of an employee.

It’s in the living, the doing, that possibility has room to seep in. As I took more action, I learned what did and didn’t resonate with me. I learned the direction I wanted to go next.

Step 4: Come into aliveness

“Notice where your eyes light up and go towards it. If your eyes glaze over, ignore it.” A consultant suggested.

Another consultant shared an ah-ha that occurred while she was working with a client: “Wow, I love this work. How could I do more of this?” She lit up as she spoke. She realized she could find more of it. She could do more of it.

On a training program, the facilitator said: “What do you do when there are business decisions to make? You choose what you feel a big ‘Yes’ to.”

This is where aliveness resides.

When I started to go in the direction of what resonated for me, I felt a spark, igniting me. Tingly sensations spread through my whole being, radiating out. Bringing me into aliveness. In my excitement, ideas shot up so fast of how I could do more of this, like beams of light flying towards me from all directions.

Possibility blooms in aliveness. In places full of life.

This is how you find possibility: by coming into a relationship with aliveness. By going in the direction of what lights you up. By choosing what you feel a “yes” to again and again.  

What I believe now about possibility

I needed to pull myself out of where I was to see possibilities.

I needed to stop listening to limiting beliefs trying to keep me safe that really kept me stuck.

Ultimately, I needed to start to trust in possibility. Then, I could begin to grow into something beyond what I had been before or what exists now. 

There is nowhere for possibility to go when limiting beliefs reign. Possibility can’t break through the heavy fog of burnout, of stuckness. It hits a wall where there is no opening.

Possibility needs an opening. That’s how the light of aliveness gets in. Radiating its energy out into the world. Pulling you into fields of possibilities.

If you feel stuck or burned out, if it’s been a long time since you’ve felt lit up: it doesn’t mean it always has to be that way. There are ways to find your way back to aliveness. Where possibility flourishes.  

find possibility

The Impact of Self-Awareness on Relationships

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How to Develop and Cultivate a Growth Mindset


There is no denying that modern life throws countless hurdles in our way. However, as Marcus Aurelius used to say, “the mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting. What stands in the way becomes the way.” What this ancient Roman emperor meant by this is that as long as we are able to grow and constantly change our frame of reference we can turn every obstacle into an opportunity for improvement and look for solutions in new creative ways.

For all these things to be possible, though, we need to be ready to await challenges with open arms and adopt a growth mindset that will help us turn every challenge into an opportunity to make ourselves better. Let’s see if we can help you with that.

Take some time to reflect

Your goal here is to get a good look at yourself with all of your good qualities and your shortcomings. This may feel painful at first, but knowing where you can make improvements is the first step in making those improvements. It’s also very important to embrace all of your peculiarities, quirks, and flaws as a part of your personality, don’t fear them, and use them to your advantage. For instance, Richard Branson – one of the most famous celebrities with ADHD – used the grit, creativity, and energy necessary for dealing with this disorder to fuel his business empire. Throwing problems under the rug wouldn’t help a bit.

Remove friction

In order to develop any new habit you need to make that habit easy and appealing while at the same time trying to make all the things detracting you unavailable and repellent. For instance, if you want to encourage yourself to learn, give yourself a small reward for every new skill or bit of info you acquire. Surround yourself with books and people who love to grow. Associate new habits with the existing ones. If you are into fitness, fire up an audiobook while you are running. At the same time, all the things that are slowing you down should be made hard to access and come with some sort of small penalty.

Make learning efficient and easy

Every new habit is much easier to develop if you see tangible benefits and score results. So, if you are losing focus while going through some challenging material over and over again, try using different resources. For instance, Australian students who use UNSW notes for studying have great success with this strategy since the materials are made by former students and use their experience to make learning simpler. Also, try practicing the things you have learned, use previous learning knowledge to promote new learning and teach it to other people. This is the best way to understand some new topics.

Take on new challenges

Here, we can learn a bit of two from bodybuilders. You see, you are not making gains with weights you can lift. To stimulate your muscles to grow you will need to try the weights you can lift. Sure, you will fail and you will fail more than a couple of times but at some point, your body will adapt and you will pass the milestone. This same philosophy can be applied to all other areas of your life. Take new challenges, especially the ones you think you can’t handle and don’t be afraid of failing since it is an essential part of every development process. The more adversity you experience the better results you’ll get.

Fuel your growth by fostering grit

Grit can be described as a positive attitude that promotes overcoming obstacles on the road to some goal. To get that powerful mental fuel you will need to find your North Star that will guide your future efforts – something deep within your personal core you value more than any comfort you will have to sacrifice to grow. Tie your goals to that invaluable part of your personality. Want to master some new skill? Remind yourself you are, for instance, a social animal. New skills will help you get more friends and sustain an active social life. Act from this deep need for connection and you will find the strength to persevere.

Develop habits instead of pursuing specific goals

Specific goals are an excellent tool for structuring short-term learning sessions. But, in terms of personal growth, they do more damage than harm. If you reach them you burn out the sense of gratification. If you don’t, you feel frustrated. So, instead of trying to learn how to play the guitar until some specific date, focus on developing a habit of playing every day for at least half an hour. Even better – ditch the results altogether, and turn playing into something you enjoy pressure-free. These new habits won’t only bear stronger results – they will make you fall in love with music which is a very powerful motivator.

We hope these few tips will help you get an idea or two about the small strategies you can use to fall in love with learning and develop a growth mindset. Change and evolution are essential for professional and personal development. Instead of looking at these changes as detriments, we need to embrace them and stay positive whenever we come into a position to learn something new. These few tips we gave you are far from a complete guide, but they are an excellent place to start your development.


Sophia Smith is beauty and lifestyle blogger, graphic designer and a food enthusiast. She is very passionate about eco-friendly and green topics, sustainable fashion, and conscious business. Sophia’s other hobbies centre around her love for yoga, wellness rituals and living in balance with nature. She loves sharing meaningful content that inspires people and has covered topics ranging from organic beauty products and sustainability to self-care and mental health. Sophia has contributed to a number of publications including Eco Warrior Princess, Naughty Nutrition, Herbs Mother Earth Living, Sivana Spirit, Urban Naturale, Carousel, and Cause Artist. You can find out more about her writing by following her on Twitter @sophia_bri.

Image courtesy of George Milton.

Conscious Living Quotes for a More Mindful Life

Conscious Living Quotes

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Reading conscious living quotes can transform the way you look at yourself and at your life. It would also change the way you interact with your environment.

What does conscious living mean?

It means being conscious and aware of yourself, your thoughts, the words you say, your actions and your reactions.

It means choosing to be positive and optimistic, kind, patient and considerate.

Conscious living also means expanding your consciousness and awareness beyond the ego and beyond limited thinking.

It also manifests as spiritual awakening and inner peace.

Conscious living also means improving yourself, your abilities and your skills.

A person who adopts conscious living learns the use his or her inner powers and mental powers.

Here you will find ideas, suggestions, advice and quotes about conscious living, which I have written for you. May they inspire, motivate, and help you adopt conscious living in your life.

Please share the quotes and advice with your friends and in your social media accounts, mentioning this page as the source.

Conscious Living Quotes

“The past has gone away, the future has not arrived yet, what is here and now is the present.”

“Being conscious of your actions can save you a lot of wasted time and pleasant situations.”

“Look around you, see what’s happening around you. Don’t be always immersed in the screen of your smartphone.

“While walking, look up at the sky and notice the color of the sky and the shape of the clouds.”

“When was the last time you looked at the moon and the stars above?”

“When eating, focus on eating, when drinking, focus on drinking, and when dressing, focus on the act of dressing.”

“Mindfulness behavior leads to greater awareness, focus, and efficiency.”

“Open your mind to new experiences, welcome change and progress.”

“Make conscious living a way of life by becoming more mindful of your thoughts and your actions.”

“Staying in your comfort zone can lead to stagnation. Getting out of it, no matter how uncomfortable this might be, would bring new experiences, new life and improvement.”

“You can change how you react to situations and people. You can avoid hasty reactions, which can lead to unpleasant situations.”

“Conscious living means paying attention to your choices, decisions and actions. This helps you make better choices.”

“Good relations start with listening and paying attention to people.”

“Smiling and laughing is part of living positively and consciously.”

“A thought infused with a strong desire and belief is a powerful thought. If you keep pouring mental and emotional energy into it, eventually, it would manifest in your life as something real and tangible.”

“Visualizing a positive result every day, would prompt your subconscious mind to seek ways to turn your mental image into reality.”

“Spiritual awakening is like opening all the windows and letting the sun and the light fill your room.”

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“Dare to be optimistic. It doesn’t cost you money or time. It’s free, and makes you feel better, more confident and more energetic.”

“The thoughts you go to sleep with at night, grow and affect the next day. Choose positive thoughts and reject the negative ones.”

“Always strive to be fully conscious in your actions. This would help you be more efficient, avoid mistakes and live more fully.

You might like reading Positive Thinking Quotes.

Meditation, Mindfulness and Conscious Living Quotes

“Meditation is one of the best tools for awakening your consciousness from the slumber of everyday life.”

“Meditation expands the consciousness and awareness beyond the ego.”

“Plant the seed of meditation, and you will reap the fruit of peace of mind.

“Meditation disciplines the mind and puts it under your control.”

Daily meditation is the antidote to worries, stress and nonstop thinking that disturbs focus and tranquility and wastes mental energy.”

“Meditation is the gateway to the world of inner freedom and bliss.”

“Frequent meditation expands your awareness and makes you conscious of greater truths.”

“As you dive within, and as you your mind becomes still, so you experience a state of deep awareness or pure consciousness.”

“Practicing meditation and mindfulness regularly are sure steps to living more consciously, being more attentive, and increasing self mastery.

“Directing your attention several times a day to what is going inside your mind, would help you calm your mind and master it.”

“Give your brain some rest, by switching off the movements of the mind. As the body needs rest, so the mind needs rest.”

“Mindfulness enables you to direct your awareness to living in the present moment. It makes you more conscious of the fact that you are a conscious being and can direct your attention to where you choose.

“Mindfulness makes you more conscious of the fact that you are a conscious being and can direct your attention to where you choose.

“Practicing meditation and mindfulness every day, would eventually lead you to higher state of consciousness.

Conscious Living and Conscious Positive Attitude

“Reality is the mirror of your thoughts. Choose well what you put in front of the mirror.”

“When you say, ‘I can’t’, and expect the worst to happen, you close the doors to the land of success and accomplishment.”

“Clear thinking produces definite results. Muddled thinking leads to lack of results.”

“Train your mind to think in terms of ‘it is possible’ and ‘it can be done’.”

“When you expect the best to happen you create positive vibes.”

“Do not let circumstances influence your thoughts and moods.”

“Choose your thoughts, and soon your life would mirror those thoughts.”

“A positive attitude helps you see beyond problems and obstacles and find ways to overcome them.”

“Focusing on the good in your life makes it grow.”

Calm Down the Chatter of Your MindPinPin

Calm Down the Restlessness and Nonstop Chatter of Your Mind

Discover how to stop overthinking, free yourself from nonstop thinking, and enjoy tranquility.Get the eBook

Chasing Happiness: The Road to a Balanced Lifestyle

Chasing Happiness

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Without a doubt, most people want to live a balanced lifestyle, but it’s often easier said than done.

It’s not always straightforward to figure out how to move forward in life, and it can be a lonely road for those who get carried away and try to do everything on their own.

While it might not be easy, the road to a balanced lifestyle is well worth the time and effort, as it can help you lead a happier and more inspired life.

It can be frustrating for those who don’t know where to start, but there’s no need to fret. Here are a few step-by-step tips to help get you on the road to a balanced lifestyle.

1. Never Underestimate the Impact of Family and Friends in Your Life

First and foremost, it’s surprisingly easy for time to get away from you as you try your best to further your career.

Such a thing can lead to an obsession, where you no longer interact with family and friends to climb the career ladder.

One reason why people get anxious and depressed is they often feel like they’re on their own.

Fortunately for most, family and friends are never far behind, especially if you take the time to catch up. All it can take is a few minutes a day catching up with the people you love, and you’ll find yourself invigorated and inspired as a result.

It would also be wise to remind yourself about your goals, such as through photos of friends, family, vacations, and more.

2. Speaking of Photos, Turn Your Favorite Memories into a Source of Inspiration

While it’s true that the best moments in life don’t last, the memories certainly do – especially if you take the time to find what really matters to you.

For those who enjoy social media platforms such as Instagram, it’s fantastic to have a record of so many memories, but it’s also just as easy for those photos to get lost in a tidal wave of new memories.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a physical scrapbook of your favorite moments?

While there’s nothing wrong with digital photos, there’s nothing quite like having a physical scrapbook in your hands that you can leaf through. If you want to print your own Instagram photo book, click here.

3. Look Into Your Favorite Hobbies – Or Go for Something New

Enjoying life is all about, well, enjoying life.

It’s challenging to appreciate what you have when you’ve got a full plate of responsibilities, but even more so when you’re not interested in enjoying your favorite hobbies during your free time.

There’s no reason to spend every waking moment working or thinking about your job, as it will only lead to problems down the line.

Instead, go back to your favorite hobbies, or perhaps look for something entirely new, as it’s up to you to make your fun. So long as you find it productive, it’s well worth doing.

Chasing happiness can be a challenge that not everyone is ready for, but it’s surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it.

The tips above will help you get on the road to a healthier, more balanced lifestyle, allowing you to make the most out of both business and pleasure.

Listen Again: An SOS From The Ocean

Original broadcast date: June 25, 2021. For centuries, humans have relied on the oceans for resources and food… but even the deepest sea has its limits. This hour, TED speakers discuss how we can save our seas to save our planet.

My 20 Best Self-Improvement Articles of 2021

best 2021


Here are the top self-improvement articles published in 2021 at The Emotion Machine. Did you miss any of them?


I always say “this year has been the best year yet,” but I guess that’s just the nature of progress.

The Emotion Machine first started in 2009, so it’s wild to think that I’ve been writing about psychology and self-improvement for over 12 years now.

The truth is I don’t see an end to it.

Self-improvement is a constant work-in-progress – there are always new opportunities to learn, grow, and improve.

That’s a perspective that I’ve ingrained into myself. So as long as I have new things to learn, I’ll keep adding and building to this website.

Let’s now take a look at the best articles published in 2021. Then I will recap some key habit changes I’ve made this year.



Emotions


1. Positive Emodiversity: Embracing the Full-Range of Positive Emotions

Emodiversity describes the variety of emotions we experience on a daily basis. Research shows that emodiversity can often be a better predictor of physical and mental health than the raw calculation of “positive” vs. “negative” emotions.


2. Emotional Valence vs. Arousal: Two-Dimensional Model for Emotions

The two-dimensional model of emotions is a simple but helpful way to classify your emotions and better understand them. It categorizes emotions based on their degree of “valence” and “arousal.”


3. The Physical Sensations Behind Emotions: Improving Awareness of the Mind-Body Connection

When you experience an emotion, how does it feel in your body? Learn how to identify the physical sensations behind your emotions to become more self-aware and emotionally intelligent.


4. Negative Emotions: Create A Plan to Respond to Them in a New Way

The current way you respond to your negative emotions doesn’t have to be the only way. Create a plan and choose a new way to respond to your negative emotions before they happen.


5. Let Bygones Be Bygones: Forgiveness and Letting Go of Emotional Residue

When you have a bad argument with someone, how quickly can you let it go? The answer can make all the difference in your happiness and relationships.



Relationships


6. Protest Behaviors: Unhealthy Ways We Try to Win Back Love and Attention

Protest behaviors are actions we take when something is going wrong in a relationship and we’re trying to “fix” it. While they can often come with good intentions, they are ultimately an unhealthy and potentially toxic way of expressing ourselves.


7. Everyone Is a Complex Web of Factors – Don’t Take Anything Too Personally

Once you recognize that everyone – and every action – is the result of a complex web of factors, it’s easier to not taking anything people say or do too personally.


8. The PAC Model: The Parent, Adult, and Child That Exists in All of Us

According to the PAC Model, we all have an inner “Parent,” “Adult,” and “Child.” By identifying which one is manifesting itself in any given moment, we can take more control over our thoughts and behaviors.


9. Parasocial Relationships: Feeling a Connection With People We’ve Never Met

“Parasocial relationships” are one-way relationships we develop with celebrities, media personalities, or fictional characters from TV shows, movies, or books. While they are normal and healthy, we have to be careful that they don’t replace our need for real-world connection.


10. Sorry, Your Complain Meter Is Filled For the Day!

What if you can only complain about 3 things each day and then you lose speaking privileges – how would that change the way you go about life?


11. The Power of Checking In On People: How to Preserve Your Social Connections

Who is someone you haven’t connected with in awhile? Reaching out and checking in on them likely means a lot more to them than you realize.



Habits


12. Why a Daily Self-Care Routine Is More Important Than a Vacation

Every day is a “mental health day” if you make self-care a part of your daily routine.


13. Creating Flow: Finding Activities that Balance Challenge and Skill

Flow is a state of consciousness where action and awareness become one. It’s when a person is so fully immersed in an activity that they lose their sense of time and self. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls it an “optimal state of experience.”


14. Micro-Breaks: Keep Your Mind Fresh and Energized Throughout the Day

Micro-breaks play an important role in keeping our minds fresh and energized throughout the day. Are you taking advantage of the power of micro-breaks?


15. How Reading Fiction Improves You and Your Brain

Reading fiction has shown to have a variety of cognitive benefits including boosting empathy, verbal abilities, moral attitudes, motivation, and social skills.


16. Scattered Workout: Why You Should Spread Out Your Exercise Throughout the Day

Do you have trouble getting enough exercise? A “scattered workout” – where you spread out different exercises throughout your day – may be an easy and convenient approach to becoming a healthier and fitter person.



Thinking


17. Give Yourself Credit: The Essential Habit Behind Self-Esteem

Give yourself credit. Are you appreciating your small wins? Here’s why it’s important to find those daily “+1’s” to build confidence and self-esteem.


18. Imagination: Your Ultimate Entertainment System

Your imagination is one of the most important skills you can learn to develop, do you know how to use it?


19. Sherlock Holmes: Lessons on Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving

While a fictional character, Sherlock Holmes is an excellent example of critical thinking and problem-solving that we can all learn from. Here’s a breakdown of his philosophy and approach to thinking.


20. Synchronicity: Finding and Embracing the Little Meanings in Life

Synchronicity is when two events occur in life that seem special and meaningful, even when there is no apparent causal connection between them. Have you ever experienced it?


21. Archaeology: Are You Stuck Digging Up Your Past?

Are you trapped in a game of “archaeology,” where you’re constantly digging into your past searching for answers but unable to move forward?



3 Key Changes I Made This Year

My lifestyle and daily routine have gone through many big changes over the past decade, but they are still always evolving and changing in small ways. Here are the most noteworthy changes I’ve made this year.


1. Reading fiction

One of the most surprising changes for me this year is how much I’ve enjoyed reading fiction.

I’ve always been a consistent reader, but usually they were books focused on science, philosophy, self help, and non-fiction.

In 2020, I mentioned how I shifted to “reading biographies” which was a nice change for me (learning more about history and certain role models of mine), but I probably haven’t read a fiction book since my school years.

I began this year with a lot of sci-fi classics since those appealed to me the most, but I also branched out to some other literary classics.

Here’s a complete list of fiction books I read this year (in chronological order):

  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (1871)
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1885)
  • Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (1886)
  • A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle (1887)
  • The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells (1897)
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (1899)
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy (1905)
  • Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1912)
  • Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (1922)
  • Tales of Horror by H.P. Lovecraft (collection, 1920s-30s)
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)
  • The Stranger by Albert Camus (1942)
  • I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (1950)
  • Foundation by Isaac Asimov (1951)
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953)
  • Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (1957)
  • Dune by Frank Herbert (1965)
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke (1968)
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (1968)
  • The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (1974)
  • The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin (1974)
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (1979)
  • Neuromancer by William Gibson (1984)
  • The White Castle by Orhan Pamuk (1985)
  • Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (1992)

I bounced around a lot between different decades and authors to try to get as much variety as possible.

If I had to choose 3 favorites from the list above, I’d go with Dune (the movie this year was great too), Brave New World (still very relevant to today’s culture), and Siddhartha (great inspirational story of a Buddha-like figure).

I also mixed in some non-fiction as well:

  • Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith (2016)
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (2003)
  • Trust: The Social Virtues and The Creation of Prosperity by Francis Fukuyami (1995)
  • Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1990)
  • Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller (2010)
  • I’m OK, You’re OK by Thomas A. Harris (1967)
  • 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss (2007)
  • The Mission of Art by Alex Grey (1998)
  • On the Genealogy of Morality by Friedrich Nietszche (1887)
  • Silence: Writings and Lectures by John Cage (1961)

Reading is a natural part of my daily routine and I don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.


2. Playing Chess

Chess is a completely new hobby for me this year.

I’m still not very good at it, but I bought a chessboard to play with friends when we meet up, and I’ve been an active user on Chess.com, which has been an awesome resource to improve your chess skills (including weekly lessons, tournaments, and keeping track of stats).

One interesting thing about the chess hobby is that it has completely supplanted my video game habit. That’s not necessarily good or bad, just a shift in my interests.

Similar to video games, I’ve been using Chess as a form of microbreak throughout the day. I often play short 5-10 minute games to temporarily take my mind off of work.

In general, I always encourage people to try new hobbies. It doesn’t matter what it is – stamp collecting, photography, or knitting – learning new things always makes you a more balanced and well-rounded person.

When’s the last time you really tried something new?


3. Minimizing Social Media and Dating Apps

Our relationship with technology plays a big role in our overall mental health and well-being. It’s an aspect of life I try to be really mindful of.

A couple years ago, I turned off all notifications on my phone except for calls and texts (which are always from family and friends). I realized there just wasn’t any need to be notified constantly of emails and social media throughout my day (and these notifications were often more of a distraction than anything else). It was a big step forward.

I started off this year by deactivating my personal Facebook, which was another life-changer. That was the one place I’d always get sucked into political arguments and heated debates that wouldn’t go anywhere productive.

Depending on how you use the internet, it can bring out your “best self” or “worst self.”

I still use Twitter and social media to talk about psychology and share positive content, but that’s all I use it for anymore. I also have a new rule where I will reply to people once (if I have something to add), but I try to never get caught up in a constant back-and-forth argument. They are always a waste of time and energy.

Secondly, I stopped using dating apps like OKCupid, Tinder, and Bumble, which was another big energy-saver and confidence-booster.

There are a lot of problems with dating apps. I’m not against them completely, but many users on there are just looking for easy attention or compliments. It’s difficult to find people who are serious about a long-term relationship on there.

I can’t count how many times I’ve had an awesome conversation with someone and then they just randomly disappeared or “ghosted” me. It’s hard to commit to anything when you always feel you’re one swipe away from something “better.” The paradox of choice.

There are also a lot of spam accounts on dating apps these days (people looking for followers on their “modeling” account or whatever). Dating apps can often give a false sense of “dating” or “searching for love,” when in truth you could probably do a lot better in person.

The internet is just a tool and it’s important that we use it wisely.


Make 2022 The Year of Self-Improvement

The best time to change yourself was 10 years ago, the second best time is right now.

Join The Emotion Machine and let’s make 2022 the best year possible.

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