I love reading inspirational books. I guess once I read Chicken Soup for the Soul as a youngster, I was hooked. Self-help books always seem to get me thinking and some are so powerful that they are able to change you. Below are the top books that have impacted my life and my favorite quotes from them.
My dad gave this book to me and although it is fiction, I think about it often. There are 9 insights in the book and the messages really spoke to me.
“It says that whenever people cross our paths, there is always a message for us. Chance encounters do not exist. But how we respond to these encounters determines whether we’re able to receive the message. If we have a conversation with someone who crosses our path and we do not see a message pertaining to our current questions, it does not mean there was no message. It only means we missed it for some reason.”
Because of this, whenever I bump into someone I know, I always try to make a point to talk to them.
After reading this book, I was able to start my own business teaching children’s theater classes. I read it every morning and it really inspired me. It wasn’t an easy road, but I remembered this quote from it and didn’t quit.
“Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.”
This is another book my dad always told me to read. It sat on the shelf for years and when I finally read it, I was deeply moved. It really strengthened my faith. There was so much I wanted to discuss with people after reading this book, that it inspired me to start a book club.
“Don’t ever discount the wonder of your tears. They can be healing waters and a stream of joy. Sometimes they are the best words the heart can speak.”
This book really opened my eyes to eating unprocessed food. After reading it, I started only getting baked goods from bakeries that made them fresh each day or making my own and eating the way my great grandmother would eat.
“What would shopping this way mean in the supermarket? Well, imagine your great grandmother at your side as you roll down the aisles. You’re standing together in front of the dairy case. She picks up a package of Go-Gurt Portable Yogurt tubes—and has no idea what this could possibly be. Is it a food or a toothpaste? And how, exactly, do you introduce it into your body? You could tell her it’s just yogurt in a squirtable form, yet if she read the ingredients label she would have every reason to doubt that that was in fact the case. Sure, there’s some yogurt in there, but there are also a dozen other things that aren’t remotely yogurtlike, ingredients she would probably fail to recognize as foods of any kind, including high-fructose corn syrup, modified corn starch, kosher gelatin, carrageenan, tricalcium phosphate, natural and artificial flavors, vitamins, and so forth.”
I read this book 12 years ago and at the time I remember it took me a while to read, but it opened my eyes to so much. I started changing some of my habits, especially pointing fingers at people.
“Listen twice as much as you speak.”
My husband gave this to me when we were dating and I think every couple should read this. It goes through 5 love languages-Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. When you read the book, you can take a test to find out what your love language is. It is amazing to find out what you define as love and once you know what others define as love, you will be able to show them love in a way that resonates with them.
“When your spouse’s emotional love tank is full and he feels secure in your love, the whole world looks bright and your spouse will move out to reach his highest potential in life.”
This book was one of our book club books and I was surprised to see this type of book written by Elizabeth Gilbert at first, but she exceeded my expectations. I loved when she talked about not having your art make a living for you, but you make a living, so you can do your art. This book also made me start doing projects and completing them before talking about them to everyone.
“Dearest Fear: creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand you’ll be joining us, because you always do. I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do in my life, and that you take your job seriously. Apparently your job is to induce complete panic whenever i’m about to do anything interesting- and may I say, you are superb at your job. So by all means, keep doing your job, if you feel you must. But I will also be doing my job on this road trip, which is to work hard and stay focused. And Creativity will be doing its job, which is to remain stimulating and inspiring. There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognize and respect that you are part of this family, and so I will never exclude you from our activities, but still- your suggestions will ever be followed. You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not to allowed to touch the road maps, you’re not allowed to suggest detours, you’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude- your not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.”
I decided to follow the whole 30 plan with my husband and we both lost a ton of inches. More than that it changed the way we look at food and made us look at the ingredients more. I discovered that corn bothers me by eliminating grains, corn, beans, sugar, dairy, and anything processed for 30 days.
“The food you eat either makes you more healthy or less healthy. Those are your options.”
I love improv and have always felt that improv taught me so much about life. This book proves it. I even taught classes on how to apply improv to your life and to your classroom and this book really inspired me.
“Writers write to discover what they have to say bringing to consciousness what they already know. It is the same with speech: speak to discover what you want to say. Sculpt, correct, refine, and redirect your thoughts on the fly as you speak. Authentic speech includes lively editing as part of the process.”
This book taught me to let go of things I do not need or find joy in. When I first read it, I followed everything to a T, because I am a rule follower. After time passed, I wasn’t able to keep up with everything in the book, but some things really stuck!
“Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.”
I have utilized this book so much, working with kids. It really teaches you so much and many things I applied from this book have worked. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who works with kids or has a kid.
“Some children can tell you why they’re frightened, angry, or unhappy. For many, however, the question “Why?” only adds to their problem. In addition to their original distress, they must now analyze the cause and come up with a reasonable explanation. Very often children don’t know why they feel as they do. At other times they’re reluctant to tell because they fear that in the adult’s eyes their reason won’t seem good enough. (“For that you’re crying?”) It’s much more helpful for an unhappy youngster to hear, “I see something is making you sad,” rather than to be interrogated with “What happened?” or “Why do you feel that way?” It’s easier to talk to a grown-up who accepts what you’re feeling rather than one who presses you for explanations.”
What books have impacted your life?