Two Books to Help Create the Life You Want

“I possess the greatest power ever bestowed upon mankind, the power of choice.” – Andy Andrews

Imagine this scenario in your head: You are driving 80 mph on the far left lane of the highway, rocking to your favorite song on the radio when suddenly a red sedan enters into your lane, cutting you off. You gasp and clinch onto your steering wheel for life while digging your foot into the brakes.

What do you do?

    1. Speed up and cut off the bastard.
    2. Curse the bastard and flip him off hoping he’d see you in his rear view mirror.
    3. Thank God you’re safe and sulk because your day has been ruined.

I was a typical number three person, but I do know a few family members and friends who are number one and two. My heart always races when I’m in the car with these family members and friends, not from being cut off, but from fear of what will ensue after their ultimate revenge. Now, I say I was a number three because I no longer sulk when a person cuts me off in traffic. I am now a number four. What is a number four, you may wondering? You get to create that alternative. You get to create an alternative that does not require you to jump into aggressive mode – or killing mode – an alternative that does not involve feeling like the victim of a crime scene. My number four is to immediately recognize I am safe, the other person is safe – yes, that is a hard one to do – acknowledge that my heart feels like it is about to jump out of my rib cage, and then quickly imagine the other person has explosive diarrhea. Now, you don’t have to imagine that, you can choose to maybe imagine the person having a medical emergency. The point is you get to create your reality, a reality that will not make you feel like a helpless victim who was brutally cut off and forced to mope.

If you are the kind of person who feels like nothing ever goes your way, the truth is – I don’t want to be ruthless – it’s your fault. As the great Viktor Frankl said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” While others resorted to cannibalism and lost their sense of humanity, Frankl’s profound insight comforted him amidst the awful conditions of the Nazi concentration camps. I won’t dive into details but you can read more about Frankl’s experiences as a prisoner in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning.

So, coming to such enlightenment is not something you miraculously wake up to. You don’t go to sleep as a grumpy troll and wake up a spiritual philosopher because you want to start creating the life you desire. There are layers and layers of limiting beliefs, destructive habits, and fears we have to slowly peel back. These layers keep us alive, safe, but they also hold us back from living. They allow us to believe we are victims of life and we have no choice. However, as humans, we have the ultimate gift: the power of choice. Below are two of my all-time favorite books, in no specific order, that will help you take ownership of your life and begin creating the life you want to live.

1. The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

“The way we perceive our life’s circumstances will determine how we respond to them. If we see our difficulties with lack, judgment, and fear, then we’ll respond with lack, judgment, and fear, in effect blocking all guidance from the Universe. But when we choose to see the same issues with love, we create space for miracles.”  

This book is a great start to realizing life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you. In other words, you are not the victim of life and you can create anything in your life – good or bad. Gabrielle does a tremendous job in guiding her readers to recognize their power to create and to how to use it to disable limiting beliefs, negative comments, additive patterns, and fear-based habits. She mentions throughout the book this higher power or energy called “the Universe“, which is readily available to guide and provide for us. If we tune into this energy, in any situation, and become align with it through prayers, meditations, or mindful practices we instantly create the reality we want. Here is a great example she mentioned in the book:

The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith by Gabrielle ...

“…we can interpret a fight with our spouse as another reason to consider a divorce, or we can choose to see it as a powerful opportunity to learn and grow stronger as a couple. We can perceive a negative health diagnosis with complete terror or a change to slow down and truly start embracing each moment with gratitude. No matter how dire the circumstances, we can choose to perceive with love or with fear. Our own interpretation determines our perception of the reality we experience.”

This love she talks about refers to the Universe. In any given situation, we have the power to choose to tune into loving thoughts and use positive words that will immediately shape the experience of our reality. In order to do this, it requires a higher level of self-awareness which can be achieved through various mindful practices and meditation. To choose love, all the time, requires healing from trauma, fear, and repressed feelings. Gabrielle highlights the importance of giving yourself permission to witness rage, anger, and resentment to begin healing. When you recognize and name the trauma for what it is, you can begin to express feelings associated with the pain, then reframe the experience. When we are healed, we can choose to love every time and when we are aligned with the loving energy of the Universe, “no person, situation, or circumstance can take away [our] peace of mind.”

2. The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews

“…life itself is a privilege, but to live life to its fullest – well, that is a choice!”

This book is my favorite of all favorites. Andy Andrews does an incredible job at intertwining self-help with fiction and it’s the fiction piece that allows our imagination to run wild. Typically, when I read a self-help book it can become dull, but that does not happen, not even once, with this book because of the fictional piece of it. The book introduces a devoted and struggling husband and father, David Ponder, who is fired from his executive position of a 500 Fortune company. Seven months later, he is fired again from his minimum paying job at a warehouse. These events send him into despair and he curses at God or the Universe for conspiring against him, “why me”.  Eventually his breakdown leads to his encounter with a life and death experience that sends him through a time warp, meeting seven historical figures: Harry Truman, King Solomon, Joshua Chamberlain, Anne Frank, Christopher Columbus, Abraham Lincoln, and the Archangel Gabriel.

From each encounter, David collected seven scrolls revealing the seven decisions that determine personal success. In addition to the knowledge and help you receive from The Universe Has Your Back, this book will encourage you to make bold decisions that will help you to live the life you want. We’ve all heard or have asked at one point, like David, the infamous phrase “why me”. This book will strip you from your state of helplessness during times of trials and tribulations and hand you the answers to your question. However, the crucial part about receiving the answers is practicing and applying them in your life. I will not review all seven decisions, but I will review my top three favorites.

The first decision is, “The Buck Stops Here“. I love the simplicity of the statement and the significance of the message. Andy states we are responsible for our past, present, and future. We cannot pass our responsibilities to someone else or blame others for how we feel. When we do so, we discredit our ability to choose. Take ownership of your past, your emotions, and your success. “The ultimate outcome of anyone’s life is a matter of personal choice.”

The second decision is, “I Will Seek Wisdom“. When I was younger, I indulged over the idea of having multiple friends, especially on social media. However, as I became wiser, I realized the number of friends you have is not important, but the quality of the friendship is what counts. I decided then to seek after friends who can contribute wisdom, experiences, and quality into my life. Andy says that if you desire to create the life you want to live, you have to counsel with wise men, “people who has accomplished what you wish for in your own life“. Be intentional with who and what energy you surround yourself with, because like Gabrielle Bernstein mentioned in her book, The Universe Has Your Back,when you dwell in an energy of positivity and power, you become a magnet for miracles.” I will leave the second decision with an excerpt from the book:

The Traveler's Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal ...

“…we are always and forever influenced by those with whom we associate. If a man keeps company with those who curse and complain–he will soon find curses and complaints flowing like a river from his own mouth. If he spends his days with the lazy–those seeking handouts–he will soon find his finances in disarray. Many of our sorrows can be traced to relationships with the wrong people.”

The fifth decision is, Today I Will Choose to Be Happy“. The key word here is choose. People falsely believe that happiness is something you have to find and chase or pursue, but really, you can choose right now to be happy. If the life you imagine or wish to create involves happiness, you have to choose happiness now; not tomorrow, not next week, not next month, nor next year; but NOW. I would like you to reread the quote from Viktor Frankl, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Choose happiness now! Andy mentions that to choose happiness is to be grateful for the trivial things, instead of always waiting to be showered with glamour to celebrate and invite happiness into your life. Happiness is not an emotional phantom floating in and out of my life. Happiness is a choice.”

I’d encourage you to grab the book and read all of the seven decisions because they are all great and each contribute to creating the life you want. There you have it, two books to help create the life you want. When I started this article, I planned to share four books, however, to do that I would have to write an entire book and right now that is not something I’d like to do. If you decide to pick up the books, be sure to read it, then read it again, and again and again. To create the life you want, you need to work everyday towards it. You can’t create the life you want by simply lavishing over the idea, then forgetting it. I’m still working every day to create the life I want.

Go ahead and reimagine the scenario at the beginning of this article. What would you do?

  1. Speed up and cut off the bastard.
  2. Curse the bastard and flip him off hoping he’d see you in his rear view mirror.
  3. Thank God you’re safe and sulk because your day has been ruined.

I hope you opted for number four this time, where you get to create a positive alternative inviting loving thoughts and positive energy into your life. If you can make this simple choice, you can begin to create the life you want. “There comes a time in every person’s life when a decision is required. And that decision, should you make it, will have a far-fetching effect on generations yet unborn. There is a thin thread that weaves only from you to hundreds of thousands of lives. Your example, your actions, and yes, even one decision can literally change the world. Let me say that one more time. One decision, that you make, can literally change the world.

Honorable Mentions

A Teacher's Guide to The Alchemist eBook by Paulo Coelho ...

Not Nice: Stop People Pleasing, Staying Silent, & Feeling Guilty ...


References:

  1. Andrews, A. (2002). The Traveler’s Gift. Nashville: W Publishing Group.
  2. Bernstein, G. (2016). The Universe Has Your Back. Hay House, Inc.

One Comment Add yours

  1. hannahcjohnston says:

    This is brilliant – thank you so much for sharing! Love the references, love the quotes taken from them, and love your interpretation of what it means to be able to CHOOSE! 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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