Book Ideas- A Brainstorming Session

A few months ago, I started writing a book about elderly people and technology. I got to about 50 pages in before I got bored of my own writing and stopped. I still like the topic but not sure if it’s something I am passionate enough about to rewrite and continue talking about. I have also realized that I continually try to write fiction stories when all I read and write are non-fiction things. I once learned that in order to become a good writer of any genre, you must read and write it. So, if I am not reading or writing fiction regularly, perhaps fiction is not the best genre to start this writing journey in.

Then, when I reflect on non-fiction topics, I think about my own life and if there is anything interesting I can write about that would be engaging for not only my own interest but the interest of a larger audience. I’m sure there is something unique about my life that I might be overlooking, so perhaps that is something to practice exploring to discover a non-fiction topic. I love writing and learning about the various topics that I try to present here on the blog such as gratitude, presence, development and understanding ourselves, but since I do not have all the answers to these topics, I feel I cannot write as an expert on them at all. I believe I am a practice but not a preacher at this point. Still, I hope I can provide content that can inspire, teach and motivate others from a genuine place.

One non-fiction topic I have thought about writing was taking one lesson I have learned in my life and turning it into a sort of fiction/non-fiction approach to present the lesson as a story like the Alchemist or Richest Man in Babylon. I would just have to narrow down that one lesson.

Regardless, this post alone has helped me to brainstorm I bit more about what topics interest me and what topics I could write diligently about that would also captivate an audience, so thank you for listening.

 

 

Luck or Attraction?

Many of us have a tendency to credit “luck” for things both good and bad. When something positive happens to us, we may say we just “got lucky”, and when something negative happens we say we just had “bad luck”. I have never been a proponent of the idea that things happen for no reason at all and we also had nothing to do with it.

For a simple example, I think about why a particularly negative co-worker of mine constantly has problems with his computer, outlook, traffic, and the list goes on, while I find myself to never have any of these issues or at least not to the extent he experiences.

Our energies have much more to do with the way our life is going more than just sheer luck. I will paraphrase the Alchemist saying, when you want something, the universe conspires to help you achieve it. The same is true with negative thoughts. If we are constantly complaining and being negative, that is the energy that is sent out into the universe and the universe will return this energy in a negative form because you have asked for it.

Now, with all of that being said, being more of a believer in attraction than in dumb luck, I am beginning to understand that luck does exist in some form. It is luck to be born into a family with wealth, connections and experience, for example. Perhaps you aspire to be a doctor and your father happens to be a successful doctor, alumni to a prestigious university and well connected at the school. Even if your grades upon application to medical school are average, do you think you might have a better chance at gaining admission than someone who is slightly above average with no connections at all? Of course you do, and you were simply born with that advantage. There is no way you would have been able to manifest this fate in the womb of your mother.

However, we are all dealt a different deck of cards when we are born. Some of us are luck in other ways, more simply, even just being born in a safe neighborhood in the United States of America has been your luck.

Still, luck can be the starting point for some people but attraction remains to be the more determining factor when it comes to the trajectory of the rest of your life. Dealt a good or bad hand, as we grow up, it is up to us to determine what we will attract in our lives. We have full responsibility.

Perhaps the student who grew up with a well-connected doctor father who is an alumni of a prestigious university DOES have a better chance at getting in than you do, BUT you have the ability to ATTRACT a similar advantage.

Even without luck, we can manifest this same chance luck with attraction. Perhaps you are able to network and connect with another well-connected doctor and university alumni through your research and effort to reach out to befriend this person. You may not have been born into this connection but you were able to create this connection and the same advantage as the student born into connection.

It is easy to make an excuse for other’s success and say things like “oh, well they have a shore house because the grandmother left them money, we can’t do that” or “oh yeah, she got that job because her father knew the principal of the school, lucky her.” Yes, maybe these people did have a built-in advantage but it does not mean that just because you did not have one that you cannot achieve the same.

I encourage us all to define what we want to do in our lives, and begin to live each day manifesting positive thoughts for the accomplishment of what we want to do and recognizing opportunities for action that will help you get there even if you were not luck enough to have it given to you. Attract it.

“What is This Here To Teach Me?”

In life we expect to encounter our share of failures, whether it is as trivial as not being selected for the softball team or having a business deal fall through. No matter the magnitude of failure, they all exist to teach us something as long as we are open enough to listen to the message. The most successful people in the world have all risen from failures of the past, and have adopted them as contributors to their story, not a tarnish.

It is easy to give up after failures, not wanting to face family at holiday parties and admit to the lack of tangible accomplishments. It is easier for us to give the whole thing up and just stop feeling the pressure of others expecting something from us, right? Well, that feeling of embarrassment exists to do just that, to have you give up in order to protect us. Our minds, which were once wired for protection from predator threat in the wild, are still wired for protection but protection from negative emotions. Now that we no longer have to fear the attack of a wild animal, our minds have evolved to protect us from mostly social fears. It is the protective mind that will tell you that you should stop if you don’t want to feel that embarrassment or rejection again. It will stop you if you let it.

Knowing that each failure exists to teach us something is the most powerful thing to get us through the debilitating fears the mind as produced, and have us continue our journey to be great (whatever that may look like for you). Next time you are faced with a failure, ask yourself,

“What is this here to teach me?”

In my own life, I have found that the lesson to cultivate the persistence to continue pursuit after failure, alone has been enough to continue my journey. There are times when I do get discouraged and think things would be easier if I just gave up and throw up the white flag to all of the people who have never understood what I have been moving towards.

Who you are meant to be evolves from where you are right now. So, learning to appreciate your lessons, mistakes and setbacks as stepping stones to the future are clear signs you are moving in the right direction.

~ Oprah Winfrey, What I Know For Sure (2012)

Oftentimes these failures can feel like taking steps backwards, but the fact is that simply taking that action was progress enough because those who never took action could have never failed and learned, or won anyway.

Perhaps the answers are just you need to better equip you for the step in your journey. Keep going!

Creating Peace in a Chaotic World

In the book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl speaks of his experience in the Holocaust as a Jewish prisoner. Instead of focusing on the hardships and details of the event, which many of us are aware of, he speaks of the inner experiences of the prisoners who he shared a story with. Frankl speaks of the prisoner’s ability to find peace and joy inside themselves despite the horror and inhumane conditions surrounding them. He describes each prisoners appreciation for the small joys such as a sunset, being delegated one laborious task over another, finding humor in the direst of situations, and, for Frankl especially, the simple thought of a loved one’s presence, which gave him enough reason to survive.

Today, I think it is safe to say that the majority of us have never, and hopefully will never, experience a comparable experience to Frankl’s but we can relate to this idea of being dealt a difficult hand, so to speak, and finding ways to manage our emotions in those times of hardship. Frankl presents a useful lesson on how to cultivate joy in a situation where joy may not be found externally. He speaks of finding this within our inner selves, as he did with the thought of his wife and her love during his time in the camps.

Frankl’s point throughout the book is to prove the power of finding meaning for our lives and how it can give us the physical strength to rise above seemingly helpless situations. By giving our lives meaning and focusing our minds on that purpose, we cultivate our own reality and will to continue on our journey, no matter the circumstance. Frankl does not fully credit his salvation to his own luck, but rather, to his mentality and his ability to create peace within himself throughout his time in the camps.

This story proves the power of the mind, and its ability to give us the strength in times we may feel hopeless or physically powerless, as Frankl was living off of watery soup and a rationed piece of bread every day in freezing, inhumane living conditions. So, in our own lives, we can carry Frankl’s lesson with us in times we feel without hope, envision the things that bring you joy and that give meaning to your life, and know that you are capable of rising above it all.

Just Write!

I recently heard a TED talk a man was giving about his accomplishment of writing a novel in 30 days. Yes, 1 month. 50,000 words. The man joked how this book was no New York Times Best Selling novel but the completion in and of itself had been his reward.

In reflecting upon this man’s achievement and my own yearning to one day become an author “someday”, I thought “Why can’t ‘someday’ be today? Right?”

Wait, could I do that? Little ol’ me?! But Alex, do you even have a story to tell? Silly. EVERYONE has a story to tell. We don’t all live the same life, right? True. In fact, the fantasy of only “someday” writing a novel had stemmed from my belief that I don’t have enough experience in life or writing yet. But, in putting this task in a perspective parallel to the attitude of the TED speaker, WHO CARES IF IT SUCKS? START! This guy didn’t even expect his novel to be good, he just set out to write one in 30 days and he did.

The thought about the process in completing a book in 30 days is intimidating yet exhilarating! Just for the fun of it! That’s the thing. When we take our goals and aspirations too seriously, sometimes we ironically discourage ourselves from ever taking action. Instead, approaching a journey as leisure rather than a job, inspires action!

So, should I do it? Well, to get a feel for this challenge, my first task will be to finish the children’s book I wrote inspired by my grandma. I continually tell myself I will draw the illustrations and publish it into a book for her “someday”. Well, this month’s goal is to complete that (freaking) book! It’s already written for goodness sake! What the heck am I waiting for? Plus! Nowadays there are sites like LuLu.com, which allow you to self-publish and produce a physical book on your own. All of the resources are there! Let’s do it!

I am currently only 4 days into these work-in-progress illustrations, and sheesh, is it tough! Still, I am having a great time because I am envisioning the result throughout the process and the joy this book will bring my grandmother. Though these may be illustrations only a grandmother can love, boy, will she! The smile it will put on her face is all the motivation I need. 🙂

 

Last Month’s Writing Goal:

  • Begin a blog.- CHECK

This Month’s Writing Goal:

  • Complete children’s book and publish by April 30th, 2018.