When it comes to happiness, I believe it is found in our ability to be a present as possible and not focusing on the past nor anxiously awaiting the future. We need to focus on the current moment and do the best we can in that moment. We kill our chances at happiness if we focus on the wrongs done to us in our past, or if we are too busy thinking about how to take revenge on those who have done us wrong. We need to learn to live in the moment, lean into challenges, and live our lives on principles. The books today are all about that. Here are my top three books that have had the biggest impact on my happiness…
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
In my opinion, this is the best book on living your life in the current moment. As the author says, “There is never a time when your life is not this moment.” The current moment is all we really have. Mr. Tolle does his best to help us understand that and stay focused on the current moment. He provides ways to move more deeply into the Now and avoid unconsciously going through life responding and acting in a way we have been conditioned to since birth.
This book has helped me to really look at myself throughout the day and pay attention to how often my mind is either in the past, or thinking about the future, rather than focusing on the present moment. Throughout the day, I battle my unconscious nature and do my best to ensure I am always thinking in the present. This is no easy task, but I am trying. I also read quotes from this book on a daily basis to help me stay as present focused and conscious as possible.
The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday
This book uses the ancient philosophy of Stoicism to inspire people to attack all the challenges (obstacles) in life and find the positive opportunities in them. Mr. Holiday shares that we can get through these obstacles with perception, action, and will. A lack of money, time, or resources should not be a reason we do not do something. Nor should we allow a lack of skill, fear, or self-doubt hold us back. Mr. Holiday encourages everyone to see opportunities in our challenges and use them to grow emotionally stronger.
My key takeaway from this book was that we can’t control everything that comes at us in life, but we can control how we respond to it. With that in mind, I try to “lean into” any challenges that come my way and see them as if I had chosen them. Then I work with them for the best outcome possible.
How To Find Peace by Beau Norton
Beau Norton has quickly become one of my favorite authors. This is because he has put out a few short books that get right to the point. He gives you exactly what you need to know and doesn’t put too much distracting fluff in there. In his book, How To Find Peace, he talks about the world being perfect exactly the way it is, and that the only thing we need to do is change our perception of how we think the world should be. He shares four basic principles for peace of mind:
1. Seek to understand, not to be understood;
2. Seek to love, not to be loved;
3. Look for the beauty in all things;
4. Focus on the process and surrender the outcome.
I respect his brevity and directness in getting to the point. Think about it. If you can simply employ those four basic principles, you can find peace in your life. Now, these are easier said than done, so they need practice. Practice these until they become your way of life.
All of these books on happiness come down to three things you need to remember:
1. Live in the current moment and focus on the present. Don’t be consumed by past and future events;
2. Understand that life will throw obstacles and challenges your way. Lean into them and make the best of them.
3. Live a life on positive, solid principles that are good in nature. This is how you find peace and happiness.
The Obstacle Is The Way and How To Find Peace are pretty simple reads. They are easy to follow and are written simply. The Power of Now is a bit more deep and abstract. You have to put your thinking cap on and re-read some things two or three times to understand. These are all great books that I strongly recommend reading regularly.