A note from Charles...
Jim Rohn, entrepreneur and author, once said “Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” And for me, this is so true. I wanted to sit down and think about the books that shaped me into the person I am today, the books that were the most impactful, and I came up with a list of seven. I’m excited to share them with you, and I hope they offer you as much strength and self-discovery as they have provided me.
1. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
This book was a game changer for me. I bought it because I have always been interested in writing a book about my life experiences and lessons so that I could leave some knowledge to my family and friends. The book is written to help anyone gain confidence in trying to bring out their creative side. It’s the idea that we all have creative potential; we just need to start emptying our mind/intuition into stream-of-consciousness writing. And that I did! The more I wrote, the more I saw what was dominating my thoughts and actions, and the more I wanted to change. At first, change was hard, but as the writing made me more and more self-aware, a new self gradually emerged and stopped making many of the same mistakes over and over. We are constant works in progress, and change is imperfect and fun. Keep trying, laughing, and crying at your attempts and eventually opportunities present themselves to have breakthroughs, and boy, have those been special moments I cherish now more than I ever have!
2. Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl
This book is about one man’s indomitable strength to survive. It is less about his travails and what he suffered and lost and more about the sources of his strength to survive. Life is not a search for power but a quest for meaning or some sort of self-realization. His will to see and care for his wife and to teach about his learnings of the power of the human will gave him the reason he needed to overcome anything. There are three possible sources for anyone; contribution to a cause greater than oneself; loving/caring for others; and developing courage in difficult times. Only you have the freedom to determine your reaction to any situation. Life is a journey of self-discovery that can take you anywhere, and you can develop control of how you feel and how you react to anything that happens to you. It taught me that we must learn to see the lessons and meaning behind every experience and that difficult experiences can often be the most powerful catalysts for personal growth.
3. Becoming Supernatural by Dr. Joe Dispenza
This is a great first book if you are interested in the power of your internal world. Get ready to believe that you have massive untapped potential for change both physically and mentally. Dr. Joe does a great job of mixing both science and spirituality. He draws on a lot of research he has done at workshops since 2012 and how they have documented how many sick and unhappy people completely changed their lives. Quantum physics is a complicated subject, but I loved this book because it simplifies the subject nicely, especially as it relates to the power of energy in your life to attract what you have been missing. Beware! You are going to need to do some guided meditations to start this work, and you have to be ready to believe. And just as a little bonus if you do read this book, look for The Field by Lynne Taggart to read right after.
4. Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
I have always believed in the incredible power of habits for human change. There is a quote that says: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” This is a fun book that looks at more than 100 movers and shakers (many of whom you have heard of) and dives deep into what their routines are and what their advice is for high performance. What do they do in the first 60 minutes each morning and why? What are some books they give to their friends? What supplements do they take? How do they work efficiently? This book will truly get you motivated for change!
5. The Great Work of your Life by Stephen Cope
I have visited Kripalu many times in my life, and from each visit, I have taken ideas to change my life and my business. It only made sense to add this book to my reading list. Stephen has been heavily involved in The Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu scripture written more than 2,000 years ago and is one of the most magical spiritual texts ever written. It describes a path that anyone can follow if they are interested in exploring spirituality and self-realization. It does not postulate any particular religion but a journey inside to the deeper you. As for our purpose in this life, we all have a gift to share with the world and a reason for being here now. Your duty is to find the intersection between your gift and your passion and to illuminate it so that humanity can benefit it. This book spoke to me in many ways and validated the connection to how LesserEvil reflects my passion and my gifts.
6. The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz
A couple of years ago, I decided to stop worrying about what other people thought of me and decided that I should focus on what I thought of myself. If I could make some clear guidelines or agreements with myself, it would set the tone for living a more disciplined life. Ultimately, it’s me vs. me. If I can win against myself (my ego), I feel I can accomplish pretty much anything. I try to be a bit better every day in areas of my life that I want to improve. The Four Agreements is a quick read and is an amazing place to start this internal journey. Be impeccable with your words (say what you mean). Don’t take anything personally (most of the time people do things not because of you). Don’t assume anything (so many misunderstandings happen this way). And lastly, always give your best (sometimes your best changes, and that is ok).
7. Awareness by Anthony De Mello
This might be a little abstract, but I like to think of myself as two different living beings. I have a body and an ego that experiences the pleasures and pains of the world for a finite period of time, and I also have a life force that lives in me (and in all other living beings). This life force animates me; it is vast, beautiful, and never dying. I call this other side of me my awareness, and it can watch what is going on inside me and around me. By living more on behalf of my awareness, I can live more consciously and observe reality unfolding slowly. My existence is really a spiritual exercise. Nothing happening to me is personal, and I should try to understand the patterns, words, and concepts. If I look more deeply, I can see the beauty of love in everything and everyone. Just a quick tip: when reading this book, try to keep an open mind and see if you can put aside your identifications. This book might really appeal to your intuition.
I hope you enjoy these books as much as I have! They’ve truly been inspirational and life changing. Now onto the search for the next seven books!