Lite Inspiration from Scott Stratten

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Lite Inspiration from George C. Fraser

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In this thoroughly uplifting book, the author shows us how we can have a better life. By adopting and practicing the eight principles, he assures us that there’s hope for a better situation whatever our circumstances.

Osteen is the Senior Pastor at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. It’s the largest Protestant church in the United States. He took over the ministry from his father after he passed away in 1999. Young, handsome and charismatic, he has attracted a very large and diverse congregation. He’s been called the Positive Pastor, the Smiling Preacher, America’s Pastor, and so on. The author is light on scripture and doctrine, and heavy on faith and hope. His motivational message focuses on optimism and positivity which accounts for it’s appeal to a broad variety of followers.

The author devotes an entire chapter to each quality:

  1. Keep Your Vision in Front of You
  2. Run Your Race
  3. Expect Good Things
  4. Have a Positive Mind Set
  5. Commit to Excellence
  6. Keep Growing
  7. Serve Others
  8. Stay Passionate

These are the foundation for living your best life. I would add gratitude as the ninth quality. Although he mentions it, I feel it’s important enough to stand alone. I like that he shares experiences from his own life that relate to the eight qualities. It makes him seem more accessible.

There are many quotes from the book that I like. One of my favorite passages is:

“You may have fallen down, but focus on the fact that you got back up. You’re here today. You may have made a poor choice, but dwell on your good choices. You may have some weaknesses, but remember your strengths. Quit focusing on what’s wrong with you and start focusing on what’s right with you. You won’t ever become all you were created to be if you’re against yourself. You have to retrain your mind. Be disciplined about what you dwell on.”

I had the pleasure of meeting the author briefly at a book signing on October 7th at Barnes and Noble in New York City. He was promoting his new book The Power of I Am, which I’m also looking forward to reading.

DSCF2791I also attended the author’s Night of Hope on October 16th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The response was so great that the evening program sold out and a matinee was added. The inspiring program included music and singing by his son and daughter who are in the choir. His wife, mother and brother also spoke. He invited ministers from local churches to speak briefly to the audience. He’s been involved with World Vision for many years and volunteers were present to sign up people to sponsor a child. It was touching to see the child that he sponsors come up to the stage to say a few words of gratitude. It was the first time the child had been to the United States.

I enjoy watching Osteen’s sermons on TV on Sunday mornings. I always feel good after hearing him speak. His basic message, said in many different ways, is that God always has our back, no matter what. I don’t think we can be reminded of that too many times.

Reading this book took my understanding of the author’s inspirational message to another level. I was impressed by his real-world wisdom and unconditional optimism. This is the kind of book that anyone would benefit by reading.

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Lite Inspiration from Joel Osteen

JoelOsteen

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For many of us, stress in the workplace is simply a fact of life. Regardless of the type of job we have, to a greater or lesser degree, we’re faced with issues and problems that we have to deal with. It can be very difficult not to take things personally and feel like we’re a victim of circumstances.

That’s where this little gem of a book comes in. But don’t let it’s small size fool you. It’s packed with practical advice and helpful strategies for handling the many stressors we all experience at work. It’s reader-friendly format makes it easy to navigate the short chapters and focus on the ones that apply to you and your particular situation. And the author uses lots of examples from his own life to help illustrate the points he makes.

The author, who passed away in 2006, was a psychotherapist and motivational speaker. A self-confessed optimist, he states “I believe that practically anyone can make at least incremental improvements in the quality of their lives by making small daily changes in attitude and behavior.” In other words, change must come from within us. As our awareness increases and we gain more perspective, more of the things we formerly considered to be a “big deal” will now seem like “small stuff”.

This book is part of the popular “Don’t Sweat” series of books that Carlson has written, and is the result of many requests he received from readers asking him to write a book focused on the workplace. It’s divided into 100 short chapters, each focusing on a different topic. The advice and suggestions are both practical and motivational. Some of them are just common sense that we all need to be reminded of once in awhile.

Some of my favorite chapters are:

#17:  Create a Bridge Between Your Spirituality and Your Work

#28:  Stay Focused in the Now

#45:  Recover Quickly

#55:  Accept the Fact That There’s Almost Always Going to be Someone Mad at You

#67:  Make Someone Else Feel Good

#75:  Strengthen Your Presence

#78:  Don’t Let Negative Coworkers Get You Down

#80:  Stay Close to Your Center

#81:  Forgive Yourself; You’re Human

#88:  Eliminate the Worry Factor

#95:  Don’t Sweat Your Critics

This book is an easy read with valuable insights and lots of wisdom. Best of all, you can quickly refer back to relevant chapters when you need a refresher. It would definitely make a great gift, especially for a co-worker or boss.

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Lite Inspiration from Frida Kahlo

FridaKahlo

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Lite Inspiration from Oprah Winfrey

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I recently attended a one-day workshop with Julia Cameron at the Open Center. It was based on her best-selling book of essays The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life. Julia is a prolific and versatile writer best known for The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, a groundbreaking book that has sold over a million copies. If you’re a writer, or want to write, this is a book you need to read. And if you’re able to attend one of her workshops, better still.

Julia is a champion and unconditional supporter of writing and writers. For her, writing is as natural and regular as breathing and she urges us not to make it a “Big Deal”. She believes that everyone can be a writer and has developed exercises (initiation tools) to help develop and nurture the writer in all of us.

The workshop consisted of us doing several of the exercises in the book and breaking up into groups of three to share what we wrote. This was a lot of fun and Julia encouraged us to “steal” ideas that we liked from each other. We also had to give each other written positive feedback (popcorn) about what we wrote. I received some very nice comments.

I enjoyed all the exercises, but my favorites were:framed JuliaCameron2

  1. making a list of the things I love
  2. making a list of the accomplishments I’m proud of
  3. writing badly
  4. naming and describing my censor

One of Julia’s most well-known exercises is called Morning Pages. They’re three long-hand pages of stream of consciousness writing. You can write about anything that’s on your mind, large or small. I’m not a morning person, so I resisted getting up earlier to do them. As it turns out, I really like this exercise. It allows me to do a sort of “data dump” onto the page right after getting up. It feels especially good when I have a lot on my mind.

Another exercise she strongly encourages are Artist’s Dates. These are once-weekly solo trips to a place that interests us. The idea is to replenish our “creative well” on a regular basis with sensory experiences. She asked us create a list of things we’d be interested in doing, and I got more ideas from others in my group. I had an artist’s date to Michael’s, the craft store. It’s a fun place and I always get ideas and inspiration when I visit.

Julia likens her writing to a spiritual practice, and several times throughout the day she read excerpts from Prayers to the Great Creator: Prayers and Declarations for a Meaningful Life, a compilation of her four classic prayer books. She also did some singing, and I noticed that she has a very nice voice.

The workshop was well attended and it felt good to be in the company of so many people that share my interest in writing. I would definitely take another workshop with Julia if available.

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Lite Inspiration from Julia Cameron

JuliaCameron

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I just completed the sixth and final week of Arianna Huffington’s Thrive OCourse, an online course based on her book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder. After going through her six-part course, I’m amazed at the amount of wisdom the author has demonstrated, and been willing to share with all of us. Although the course has ended, the journey continues as we keep working to integrate the tools she’s given us into our lives.

Lesson’s intention: The theme of this week is giving, and it’s not limited to just money. We can also give of our time, talents, and skills.

Reading assignments: primary reading 235-245; supplemental reading 224-235, 254-258, 259-261

Life audit: We can find out what kind of giver we are by taking a quiz offered by The Christian Science Monitor.

Keystone habits: Two new habits that we’re encouraged to start practicing.

The first habit is to make small gestures of kindness and giving a habit, and pay attention to how this affects our mind, emotions and body.

The second habit is to use a skill or talent we have to help someone who could benefit from it.

Trackers: These are the tools that help us track our progress and stay on course.

Guest teacher: Adam Grant, a Wharton professor and author of Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success tells us that giving in small ways everyday can have a big impact on our energy, happiness and success. He urges us to make giving an important part of our lives and gives us the following two assignments:

  1.  Do 3 more “5 minute favors” per week
  2.  Discover how we can use our talents and skills to give to others

Community board: A place to communicate with our thrive tribe, or community of supporters. There have been many great posts made by the participants of the class and I’ve really enjoyed reading them.

Live “office hours”: This is a time when Arianna is available to answer our questions.

This week’s key points: We need to go beyond being Go Getters to being Go Givers. Giving back is an important part of the cycle of life. When we give on a regular basis, that generosity makes us feel good and reminds us of the abundance in our own lives. The transformitive power of giving is felt by the giver as much as the receiver.

I love this quote that Arianna included at the end of the final class:

And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, “This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!” And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, “No. This is what’s important.” -Iain Thomas

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