You may have noticed a shift in my perspective lately, or at least in my awareness. While there are multiple causes of it, a massive one is actually the books I've been reading. One of my favorite podcast hosts, who is also a wildly successful businessman and incredible thinker, put out a list of books that have had the greatest impact on his life and his career. And because of my massive admiration for this person, and my own determination to progress through life, I dedicated myself to read (or listen to) all 30 books on his list. I'm currently on book #9, and while not every book, so far, has had a PROFOUND effect on my life, every single book has had SOME effect on my life. I've never before considered how much of a gift it is to be able to read the thoughts and intimacies of some of the most brilliant and interesting minds in the world. I'm so excited to be learning from these incredible authors, and I'm equally excited to share my learnings with you. My desire is to always be improving and growing as a person, and I hope to inspire others to improve and grow alongside me.
"True self-confidence is “the courage to be open—to welcome change and new ideas regardless of their source.” Real self-confidence is not reflected in a title, an expensive suit, a fancy car, or a series of acquisitions. It is reflected in your mindset: your readiness to grow."
-Carol Dweck (Author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success; book #1 on the list)
I recently read a fantastic book called "Can't Hurt Me" by David Goggins. If you're unfamiliar with David Goggins, he is an extreme badass, spending most of his career at the elite level of Navy SEAL, completing Army Ranger and Air Force Tactical Air Controller training, (both near impossible for most people), just to see if he could, and eventually joining the grueling world of ultra-marathons and ultra-triathlons at the highest level in the world. While he is way more extreme than I, and most people on this planet, I finished his book with a huge desire to see what I'm made of. To push my own limits and see what I'm able to overcome along the way. This manifested itself while on a family vacation in Lassen Volcanic National Park. The two highest peaks in the park are Mount Lassen and Mount Brokeoff. And for my entire life I've always unconsciously assumed to simply hike one in a day and to hike the other another day. But my new Goggins inspired mindset made me question that assumption, and so, alongside my very brave aunt Hannah, we hiked both peaks in the same day. And to be honest with you, we kind of dominated them, completing both far quicker than we expected. And although we were tired afterwards, we both agreed that we could have gone back to the first peak to do it a second time. Which will almost certainly be the next mission.
"You are in danger of living a life so comfortable and soft, that you will die without ever realizing your true potential."
The past couple weeks I've spent my weekends with family up at Lassen. It's been lovely seeing everybody and catching up on life. And also to explore the area after last year’s massive fire. While a huge percentage of the National park did burn, we were all pleasantly surprised to see that most of our favorite spots were spared. In this case, much of the lovely King's Creek Trail was unfortunately charred beyond belief, but that did not take away from the beauty of the waterfall. A diamond in the rough.
"Life keeps throwing me stones. And I keep finding the diamonds…"
-Ana Claudia Antunes
For whatever reason, lately I've been spending a lot of time contemplating my role in the world; specifically my impact on it. While I like to think my mere presence is enriching enough (just kidding), I'm realizing that I'd like to have a more profound effect. I'm finding myself unsatisfied with the thought of the next 20+ years of my working life consumed by something that doesn't have a direct and significant impact on either my clients, my community, or perhaps even the world. And while I am still lacking clarity on what exactly that next chapter entails, I feel I'm inching closer and closer to it every day.
"People have enough to live by, but not enough to live for. They have the means, but no meaning."
-Viktor Frankl (Man's Search For Meaning)
I just finished a fantastic book called Grit, written by Angela Duckworth. The book took a scientific look at what causes some humans to achieve astounding accomplishments, while others falter. Now, the typical narrative is that high achievers are inherently smarter, stronger, more creative or more talented; that they're simply built that way. And if you're not one of those fortunate people then you're out of luck. However, Angela's research showed that natural talent, while helpful, actually had very little to do with achieving outrageous success. Grit. Grit is the common denominator amongst highly successful people. The unwavering passion, unyielding perseverance and an absolute unwillingness to give up, even in the face of monumental failure or overwhelming defeat. In addition, it wasn't just that these high achievers refused to quit, it's that they insisted on learning as much as possible from their failures, to grow from their defeats, and to apply what they learned to be even stronger the next time around. And, if necessary, to continue that cycle for as long as it took to achieve their goal. So remember to not overly glamorize the successful. While they may have natural talent, it's much more likely that they simply want it more than you, and worked way, way harder to get it.
"For if we think of genius as something magical, we are not obliged to compare ourselves and find ourselves lacking…To call someone “divine” means: here there is no need to compete."