Tag Archives: books

A Good Story

Sometimes all it takes to motivate us is a good story.

a good story

Good storytelling moves us–it inspires us and it enlightens us. Good storytelling motivates us. It asks us to stand up for our current beliefs or question them. Good storytelling brings people together. It make us laugh. It makes us cry. And it challenges our every day decisions. A good story can warm our hearts. It can make us angry or it can sober us up. A good story doesn’t need a happy ending. A good story invites us to take an adventure or to go on a journey. Good stories teleport us to different times and different spaces. They are one true way to escape our own realities and step into someone else’s –or a different world.

Good stories are what move us-shake us-make our hairs stand up on our skin-and drive us.

Good stories are what we come back to when we’re searching for that one quote or one paragraph or one chapter that somehow managed to encapsulate everything we couldn’t put into words ourselves.

More than anything good stories stay with us. 

These are the books filled with stories or moments  that have stuck with me–that have and continue to move me–some since childhood–some since only more recently. What’s on your bookshelf? What motivates you? What books and stories do you always go back to?

1. Born Standing Up, Steve Martin

“I was seeking comic originality, and fame fell on me as a by-product. The course was more plodding than heroic: I did not strive valiantly against doubters but took incremental steps studded with a few intuitive leaps. I was not naturally talented—I didn’t sing, dance, or act—though working around that minor detail made me inventive.

I was not self-destructive, though I almost destroyed myself. In the end, I turned away from stand-up with a tired swivel of my head and never looked back, until now. A few years ago, I began researching and recalling the details of this crucial part of my professional life—which inevitably touches upon my personal life—and was reminded why I did stand-up and why I walked away.”

2. Yes, Man, Danny Wallace

“Take the stupidest thing you’ve ever done. At least it’s done. It’s over. It’s gone. We can all learn from our mistakes and heal and move on. But it’s harder to learn or heal or move on from something that hasn’t happened; something we don’t know and is therefore indefinable; something which could very easily have been the best thing in our lives, if only we’d taken the plunge, if only we’d held our breath and stood up and done it, if only we’d said yes. // The fact is saying yes hadn’t been a pointless exercise at all. It had been pointful. It had the power to change lives and set people free… It had the power of adventure. Sometimes the little opportunities that fly at us each day can have the biggest impact.”

3. Wild, Cheryl Strayed

“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.”

4. Bossypants, Tina Fey

“Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it. // There are no mistakes, only opportunities.”
“Am I just chasing it because it’s the hardest thing for me to get and I want to prove I can do it?”

5. On Writing, Stephen King

“Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life. // Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don’t just make speeches–Just believing is usually enough.”


6. The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin 

“It’s about living in the moment and appreciating the smallest things. Surrounding yourself with the things that inspire you and letting go of the obsessions that want to take over your mind. It is a daily struggle sometimes and hard work but happiness begins with your own attitude and how you look at the world.”

7. Siddartha, Herman Hesse

“It may be important to great thinkers to examine the world, to explain and despise it. But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration and respect.”

8. Love With a Chance of Drowning. Torre DeRoche

“Dedicated to those who dream–and those who dare fall for dreamers.”


9. The Art of Travel, Alain De Botton
 

Journeys are the midwives of thought. Few places are more conducive to internal conversations than a moving plane, ship or train. There is an almost quaint correlation between what is in front of our eyes and the thoughts we are able to have in our heads: large thoughts at times requiring large views, new thoughts new places. Introspective reflections which are liable to stall are helped along by the flow of the landscape. The mind may be reluctant to think properly when thinking is all it is supposed to do.At the end of hours of train-dreaming, we may feel we have been returned to ourselves – that is, brought back into contact with emotions and ideas of importance to us. It is not necessarily at home that we best encounter our true selves. The furniture insists that we cannot change because it does not; the domestice setting keeps us tethered to the person we are in ordinary life, but who may not be who we essentially are.

If we find poetry in the service station and motel, if we are drawn to the airport or train carriage, it is perhaps because, in spite of their architectural compromises and discomforts, in spite of their garish colours and harsh lighting, we implicitly feel that these isolated places offer us a material setting for an alternative to the selfish ease, the habits and confinement of the ordinary, rooted world.”

10. Oh the Places You’ll Go, Dr. Seuss

“Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!”

Believe in the Possible

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Later this week, I’ll be posting an update about my 99th hobby–an evening of paint your own pottery. And in less than two weeks I’ll be writing up the experience of trying 100 new things–in less than 100 weeks. This “project” started out as simply that–a project–a quest to try 52 new things in 52 weeks. But had I known how the challenge  would expand my life, I may have set the hurdle of completing that many hobbies a little bit higher to begin with. Maybe I would have said 75 hobbies–or maybe I would have started out with 100 hobbies. But that’s the best part about challenges–we can’t predict what their outcome will be–what they will truly mean to us at the end–or what lessons they will present–or hardships–or triumphs.  

Would I tell EVERYONE that they should try 100 new things in 100 weeks–or less? No. But would I tell EVERYONE to challenge themselves? To set out on a goal–and to watch themselves exceed that goal? Absolutely. Maybe you don’t want to try 52 new things in 52 weeks–or 100 in less than 100 weeks–that’s COOL--It’s a kind of a crazy goal–(and crazy goals are good too), but maybe you want to try one new thing this month–or even just this year. Maybe you want to dedicate time to reading one new book every few weeks–or exercising three times a week as opposed to simply one or two. Maybe you want to train for that marathon you’ve always talked about. Or maybe you want to start that photography business or take a photo of the sunrise every morning. Maybe you want to travel the world–or meet every person who is still alive. Maybe you want to try a new dance class each day of the week or maybe you want to write the next best screenplay or enter that 48 Hour Film Project and win it. Maybe you want to produce a web series or write six new jokes for your stand up comedy gig. Maybe you want to take the baby steps toward jump starting your first business (a salon? a restaurant? a tour guide company?) Or maybe you want to just start saying yes a little bit more. GREAT. Whatever it is-Go Do It. Get out of your comfort zone and believe in yourself. This “project,” though gimmicky, maybe at first, was never about me trying  52 or 100 new things–it was about challenging myself and then inspiring you to want to challenge yourself, to refuse the word no–to break out of your shell–to believe that you could step up to the plate against Randy Johnson, and smash the ball out of the park.

When it comes to the challenges you want to take on–full force–don’t doubt yourself. Never doubt yourself. Because the truth is–no one else is. And if for some reason they are, step up and prove them wrong because no matter WHAT they say–you are capable of anything.

And I mean that. I mean that more than anything in the world. No matter what your challenge is–you are capable of exceeding your expectations of that challenge, and no matter what your dreams are–you are capable of achieving them.

SURE sometimes your dreams may seem out of reach- or “too big” or  too”impossible” to conquer. It may feel like EVERYTHING is working against you. BUT when the walls are closing in – when gravity is pulling you down – you’ve gotta fight to believe- to believe in all you’ve worked for – to believe in those dreams you’ve been reaching for so brilliantly- to believe in yourself – and to believe in the possible. Because it’s easy to say that anything is possible -to preach it to someone who is struggling or to internally tell yourself that “you can do anything”- but to BELIEVE it – and I mean to REALLY believe that anything is possible -well that – that takes a special person -that takes someone who will push those walls back – who will defy gravity and who will prove to you that indeed- ANYTHING is possible. So whether or not today is your day – or this week is your week – this month your month or this year your year – don’t get down. Do not let your dreams go. Keep your head up. Believe in the possible.

believeinthepossible

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