The ‘ONE THING’

Another book review from reader to reader…

Do you feel busy, overwhelmed and frustrated with your never-ending to-do list? I know the feeling. We are living in a such a busy world that most of us feel we are running in a rat race. And surprisingly when one to-do list is done, the new will magically reappear. So how can we stop this madness?

Well… Since you’ve asked, my answer is this:

Read the book by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan ‘The One Thing’ – surprisingly simple truth behind the extraordinary results

‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan

Rating: 9.5

Level: very easy read in simple terminology

Date: 26/09/2018

Synopsis

This is the best tool that will show you the way how to remove the stress from your life by having fewer distractions, less stress, panic and more of satisfaction on staying on track and achieving results.

So how can you have more by doing less?

Simple – first and foremost is by focusing on the ONE THING. The main thing I’ve learned from the book is that our to-do list will actually never end, right? It cannot end. When you finish one task, another will follow.

We simply need to be ok that the to-do list is a never-ending project.

Authors give tools, reasons, explanations why and how The One Thing in life should be and could be implemented, and what massive difference it would make.

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A very practical book with clear explanations, easy terminology and super inspiring!

A Few Nuggets from the Book

  • ‘Extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make your focus’ (The One Thing). We actually are all over the place especially nowadays when the technologies are at its peak! When the phone pings every few seconds. When emails keep coming through looking for our attention. When you turn on the computer and keep getting even more requests looking for our input or reply. And we all feel like we are continuously fire fighting… So then the important stuff doesn’t get done 😦 Therefore it’s important to focus on what is the most important thing that has to be done ignoring everything else until the ‘one thing’ gets done.

‘Be like a postage stamp – stick to one thing until you get there’ (Josh Billings)

Let’s stop being busy fools…

  • ‘The key is over time. Success is built sequentially. It’s one thing at a time’ (The One Thing).
  • ‘There can only be one most important thing. Many things may be important, but only one can be the most important’ (Ross Garber). I know I feel that usually, one thing is more important than the other. But is it really? I personally get distracted easily and drop the focus especially from the important stuff that pushes me a little bit out of the comfort zone… Know the feeling? The One Thing becomes challenging and difficult to distinguish often enough just because we’ve bought into too many ‘other things’ which is really only a background noise 😉
  • Multitasking and juggling is an illusion and a lie. It divides our attention and we lose the main focus which gets us off a track too quickly.
  • ‘You can become successful with less discipline than you think, for one simple reason: success is about doing the right thing, not about doing everything right’ (The One Thing). Well, this is an eye-opener for me, Mrs. Perfectionist…
  • So here is the main question according to the authors, we should ask ourselves daily: ‘What’s the ONE THING I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?’ (The One Thing)

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Other books by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan

  1. Summary of The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.
  2. The Millionaire Real Estate Agent: It’s Not About The Money… It’s About Being The Best You Can Be!
  3. SHIFT: How Top Real Estate Agents Tackle Tough Times (with Dave Jenks)

The moral of the book and my blog post is – let’s have a big picture of the life we wanna live and have a small focus every day on what’s the One Thing I need to do continue to get where I want… Easy, right?

Lots of love,

Agne Jonele

‘Eat, Pray, Love’ Book Review

From reader to reader…

‘Eat, Pray, Love’ by Elizabeth GilbertScreenshot 2018-11-28 at 14.08.40.png

Rating: 9.5/10

Level: average but language is simple

Date: 21/11/2018

Read in 18 days

Synopsis

This is a book about a woman’s journey. Elizabeth is in her thirties and has it all (you would think) but she is not happy! She has a good career, a big house, a husband who wants to start a family but Elizabeth is torn because she feels that something is missing in her life, she feels confused, lost and in a real panic! She finally decides to find the missing pieces and starts her journey of searching, learning and getting to know herself and the world, finding happiness.

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What I loved about this book

I found this book truly amazing and fascinating. And I am not the only one! ‘Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love touched the world and changed countless lives, inspiring and empowering millions of readers to search for their own best selves.’ Official Elizabeth’s Website

Many of us think that when you have all the usual and standard boxes ticked then you are happy. But that is rarely true. Life is so much more than a successful career, a big house, beautiful kids, handsome husband etc. You can have all these things and still feel unhappy, anxious, depressed. In her memoirs, Liz revealed it all – her struggles, complicated emotions, her anxiety and her search for happiness.

In Bali people come to search for the balance between wordly pleasure and spiritual devotion.

And even though this book is a novel and very well written one, full of humor, it is also an amazing spiritual guidance full of education. There are so many little nuggets I picked up from the book that really gave me that light bulb ‘aha’ moment! The old medicine man Ketut in Bali raised this question ‘Why everyone so serious in yoga?’. ‘To meditate only you must smile. Smile with face, smile with the mind, and good energy will come to you and clean away dirty energy’.

‘Too serious you, make you sick’

And we do actually forget to smile. It’s easy to smile when you feel happy, or someone told you a joke, or someone smiled at you. But can we use this method as a therapy? To help to be happy? To activate our hormones to feel positive?

Or another great nugget was about the view of your age! So many people talk about how old they are or complain that they are getting old… In the book, the old man Ketut once again revealed that age is only a number and it only matters how old you FEEL… Elizabeth perfectly revealed in the book that the estimation of the age changes by the day based on how Ketut feels. If he is tired, he says ‘I may be 85 today’. And if he is upbeat and energetic, he says ‘I think I am 60 today.’ So really – how old do you FEEL today?

This novel is so inspirational and touched so many lives! ‘The book became so popular that Time Magazine named Elizabeth as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.’Official Elizabeth’s Website

Other Books by Elizabeth Gilbert

  1. At Home on the Range
  2. Pilgrims
  3. Stern Men
  4. The Last American Man
  5. Committed: a Love Story (a follow-up story after ‘Eat, Pray, Love’)
  6. Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It
  7. The Signature of All Things
  8. Big Magic
  9. City of Girls

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If you haven’t watched the movie – do that. If you haven’t read this book – do that too! It’s an amazing story full humor, emotion, struggle and inspiration.

Lots of love,

Agne Jonele

‘Nights of Rain and Stars’ Book Review

From reader to reader…

‘Nights of Rain and Stars’ by Maeve Binchy

Rating: 9/10IMG_1070

Level: Easy read, simple language

Date: 03/11/2018

Read in 7 days

Synopsis

Amazing book about the challenges and troubles of four different people who are complete strangers to each other. Four strangers from different countries (Ireland, Germany, England, and America) traveled to a small village in Greece trying to escape their worries, troubles, and concerns.

The beautiful village and all the locals welcomed the four individuals while suffering from their own troubles and challenges. Book revealed many fears, doubts, sorrows the four strangers had that so many people could relate to.

What I loved about the book

I really enjoyed the book because it involved six different stories with troubles and challenges that everyone can relate in one way or another. Maeve Binchy was moving from one character to another while slowly involving them together. She has an amazing talent in storytelling sharing various emotions and moving a reader from the extremes – from love to hate, kindness to cruelty, dedication to betrayal and many more. Maeve Binchy managed to tell the story in such an extraordinary way that a person dealing with a problem could not see a solution whereas the solution was so absolutely clear to everyone else. Which is exactly how it is in life – our problem always seems like the biggest and impossible to solve when everyone else feels that their challenge is much more complicated. We can always see a way out for others’ problems but not our own.

Other Books by Maeve Binchy

  1. A few of the girls (short stories)
  2. Maeve’s times (non-fiction)
  3. Chestnut Street (short stories)
  4. Quentins
  5. Minding Frankie
  6. Full House (short stories)
  7. A Week in Winter
  8. Heart and Soul
  9. The Maeve Binchy Writers’ Club (non-fiction)
  10. Whitethorn Woods
  11. Star Sullivan (short stories)
  12. The Builders (short stories)
  13. Scarlet Feather
  14. The Return Journey (short stories)
  15. Aches and Pains (non-fiction)
  16. Tara Road
  17. Evening Class
  18. This Year it will be Different (short stories)
  19. The Copper Beech
  20. Circle of Friends
  21. Silver Wedding
  22. The Glass Lake
  23. Firefly Summer
  24. The Lilac Bus
  25. Echoes
  26. Dublin 4 (short stories)
  27. Light a Penny Candle
  28. Victoria Line, Central Line (short stories)

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Have you read this book? Or any others by Maeve Binchy?

Comment below with your thoughts – would love to hear your view or recommendation!

Lots of love,

Agne Jonele

 

18 Ways Gratitude Can Make You Rich

‘Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty.’ (Christian Science Hymnal)

When we think about being rich, we think about money. But richness is so much more than finances! Be rich from the inside, rich of all positive feelings, rich of generosity, rich in love… Believe in magic, admire things around you, share the love.

Remember when you were a child and you believed that life was magical? Full of richness and spark?  Life was magical and exciting, and the smallest things were utterly thrilling? Children see everything as magic, breathtaking,  astonishing, magnificent. And then life experiences, elder siblings, parents, teachers, aunts, and uncles slowly but surely plant that doubt seed, we become disillusioned and the magic disappears…

But does it really? Rhonda Byrne in her book ‘The Magic’ says that ‘the magic of life is real, and it’s far more breathtaking, awe-inspiring, and exciting than you ever imagined as a child. You can live your dreams, you can have anything you want, and your life can touch the stars!’

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So how to keep that magic alive?

Believe in it. Don’t question, don’t analyze, don’t try to figure out if it is going to happen and how is it going to happen. Just believe…

‘Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.’ (Roald Dahl)

I have read R. Byrne book ‘The Magic’ a few years ago and I was blown away. That was the time that everything changed for me. And by everything I mean my view of life. I started actively working on self-development and this book was the best starting point. Why? Because it reminded me what is important…

Gratitude

The answer to riches is only one – gratitude. And no, gratitude does not mean saying ‘thank you’ when someone opens the door to you or brings you a present. This is simply good ethics. Gratitude is feeling thankful for the things around you, people in your life, opportunities in your day and every small detail, feeling, possibility… It’s a Universal law.

‘Whoever has gratitude will be given more, and he or she will have an abundance. Whoever does not have gratitude, even what he or she has will be taken from him or her.

Therefore, if we don’t take time to appreciate things around us, within us, for us, if we don’t take time and express our gratitude, you will never have more. We tend to wish for more and talk about it daily, but do we actually stop and think how much we already do have? Take time and acknowledge it and you will see the magic happen. The amazing fulfilling feeling will pervade you.

Rhonda Byrne ‘The Magic’

Back to the book. This is the one I have recommended to a number of people. I had such joy after reading the book, it was the best gift choice for many of my friends and family for at least a year 😀

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Why did I like it so much?

  • It’s practical – you need to do daily tasks
  • Easy to read and understand
  • Gives you very clear instructions
  • Helps to gain a new habit
  • Makes you think
  • Expands your view to gratefulness and magic in our life

Daily ‘Magic’ Tasks

‘Knowledge is a treasure, but practice is the key to it.’ (Ibn Khaldoun Al Muqaddima)

We have so much information these days and access to even more of it. But knowing makes no difference unless you use it and implement the knowledge, so practice what you’ve learned. And R. Byrne’s book is doing exactly that. The book is designed to practice gratitude mindfully daily for the 28 consecutive days. Every day you need to write 10 things you are grateful for and say genuine ‘thank you’ for them all – say it, write it down, feel it! Gratitude is a feeling and a very positive one that attracts even warmer and positive feelings.

‘When you sincerely feel the gratitude, the law of attraction says you must attract more of those things into your life. Your gratitude is magnetic, and the more gratitude you have, the more abundance you magnetize.’ (Rhonda Byrne)

When I read the instructions of the book I was shocked by the difficulty of the task! 10 gratitudes a day for 28 days? That is like 280 things I need to ‘come up’ with to be grateful for. I thought this was simply IMPOSSIBLE! ‘No wonder the magic happens to only a few of us – those who have 280 different things they are grateful for’, – I thought to myself. I am grateful for my mum, dad, my kids, my house, my car… Maybe another few things, but this is nowhere close to 280!

Familiar?

Let me reveal this for you – we ALL have 280 things we are grateful for and many MORE!

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18 Gratefulness Categories

There are 18 different categories and subjects discussed in the book and can and should be considered expressing gratitude. It all helps to think about the past, the present, and the future.

  1. Health and body
  2. Senses & feelings
  3. Work and success
  4. Money
  5. Relationships
  6. Passions
  7. Happiness
  8. Love
  9. Life
  10. Nature: planet Earth, water, air, and the sun
  11. Material goods and services
  12. Out of negativity
  13. Food
  14. Dreams and desires
  15. Outcomes
  16. Surroundings
  17. Mistakes
  18. Any subject of your choosing

‘Life is playfulness… We need to play so we can rediscover the magic all around us’ (Flora Colao)

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So really, when you start working on counting your blessings in each step of the way… man, you see how much we take for granted. Gratitude can help you fix the broken relationship, learn from mistakes, reveal positive out of the negative experience, cure lack of health OR money. It gives that satisfactory feeling that life is actually great! And we need to help reprogram our brain to think positively, abundantly and happily 😉

Have a magical life full of abundance and happiness!

Lots of love,

Agne Jonele

 

‘I hate mornings’ vs ‘I love mornings’

So how many times you’ve heard a saying ‘Oh, I’m a night owl, I can not wake up early in the morning’. I used to say the same thing myself. And I still enjoy the morning snooze 🙂 Nevertheless, about a year and a half ago I found out that it is not a ‘condition’, it’s not set in stone and it can be changed. Waking up early in the morning or last minute in the morning is simply a habit and habits can be gained or changed.

A lot of people hate mornings. And even though ‘hate’ is a very strong word, many of us struggle with the early mornings and wake up moaning, complaining and, of course, rushing afterwards. Well, this is some set-up for the new day… Great start one could say 😉

The ‘night owls’ (including me) would follow the pattern above. And would press on that snooze button continuously. I even had a system – I would set up my alarm precisely the last minute I NEEDED to wake up to be able to get ready on time. I was not up for pressing the snooze button, I had a better way (ha ha ha). You can only imagine how stressful it was each and every morning running around, rushing and stressing about any unpacked school bags, unprepared clothes or lunches etc. When I started my days like this it was not easy then to rewind and switch on the positive gear. So why I kept doing this? A simple bad habit…

“Considering that our habits create our life, there is arguably no single skill that is more important for you to learn and master than controlling your habits. You must identify, implement, and maintain the habits necessary for creating the results you want in your life while learning how to let go of any negative habits which are holding you back from achieving your true potential.” (Hal Elrod)

I’ve heard so many times that in order to be successful you simply need to watch what successful people are doing and repeat their steps. Interestingly enough majority of my idols (Tony Robbins, Tim Ferris, Jim Rohn and many more) would have a set early morning routine. They would never jump into their day before taking their time to set their mind and prepare mentally, physically and spiritually. And even though I love them all dearly, I would always give myself an excuse that ‘I am a night owl and cannot do that’.

Until one day in January 2017, I was introduced to an amazing book called ‘The Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod. And THAT changed my perception and had a great positive effect on my life.

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“How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life. Focused, productive, successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days—which inevitably create a successful life—in the same way, that unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre mornings generate unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre days, and ultimately a mediocre quality of life. By simply changing the way you wake up in the morning, you can transform any area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible.” (Hal Elrod)

According to Hal the sleeping in, and not being able to wake up, is simply having a lack of purpose in life or running away from life and troubles. And I was just like ‘whaaatttt?’. It really made me think. And start taking action. I never really thought I could do anything like that. I loved my comfy bed and pillow early in the morning. But after reading ‘My Miracle Morning’ book something shifted. I think Hal Elrod is simply very influential 😀 But it made sense!

“Remember, the moment you accept total responsibility for *everything* in your life is the moment you claim the power to change *anything* in your life.” ~ Hal Elrod

I’ll give you a quick review of what Hal talks about in this book. In simple terms, he suggests the One-hour a day formula. Powerful!

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The Miracle Morning book reveals Life S.A.V.E.R.S. — a set of six simple, life-enhancing, life-changing daily practices, each of which develops one or more of the physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual aspects of your life so that you can become who you need to be to create the life you want.

Life S.A.V.E.R.S. – a set of six simple daily practices that helps me rock it!
They are:

  • Silence
  • Affirmations
  • Visualization
  • Exercise
  • Reading
  • Scribing (journaling)

What does Hal mean by this and what do I do?

Silence

‘When there are peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt’ (St. Frances de Sales)

Time for meditation. This is a biggy for me 🙂 Our minds work so much all the time and I sincerely believe that my mind is twice or three times more busy than anyone else’s… Not kidding. I feel I cannot switch off and it is a real challenge for me to sit quietly and stay centred. But again – that is another habit. So for me, tools are important. I found an amazing free app that I use for meditation called ‘Insight Timer’.

Affirmations

‘You can use affirmations to start programming yourself to be confident and successful in everything you do, simply by repeatedly telling yourself who you want to be, what you want to accomplish and how you are going to accomplish it. With enough repetition, your subconscious mind will begin to believe what you tell it, act upon it, and eventually, manifest it in your reality.’ (Hal Elrod) Not sure if you are aware how much we talk to ourselves. Which is simply talking to your mind and responding to the thoughts. Interestingly enough those thoughts naturally are somewhat negative: ‘you cannot do it’, ‘what are you thinking’, ‘how stupid was that’, ‘why did you do that’ etc. Our mind never encourages us, actually quite the opposite. That’s where affirmations help to reprogram our mind and change the direction.

“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. Once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” ~ Muhammad Ali

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I simply write them down and read them over every morning. Later I found an amazing app called ‘Think Up’ where you can record your own affirmations and then play them and listen to them anytime anywhere. You can have a few different types: affirmations for your health, money, career, self-esteem etc. Whatever you are lacking and need to work on. Listening to your own affirmations on the go recorded with your own voice works powerfully.

Visualizations

We all heard about creating vision boards, right? I hope you tried it before because it’s actually a very fun exercise. We did that with the kiddies some time ago and it’s an amazing and fun way of spending an afternoon.

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We created our vision board at least 5 years ago and in the meantime, we grew out of some wishes and desires, some have already happened and others will happen. According to Hal Elrod ‘Visualization, also known as creative visualization or mental rehearsal, refers to the practice of seeking to generate positive results in your outer world by using your imagination to create mental pictures of specific behaviours and outcomes occurring in your life.’ As human beings what we tend to do is focus on negative or things that have not happened more so than what we desire and work towards.

“Ordinary people believe only in the possible. Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but rather what is impossible. And by visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as possible.” ~ Cheri Carter-Scott

So why not try it? No harm, right? 😉

Exercise

We all know we need to exercise in order to stay healthy, fit and full of energy. But how can I have time for the exercise? Do it first thing in the morning. Get it out of your way! ‘Eat that frog’ – as Brian Tracey would say 😀

“If you don’t take time for exercise, you’ll probably have to make time for illness.” ~ Robin Sharma

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What exercise do you like? Exercise doesn’t mean it has to be a 100k cycle or half marathon. Sometimes it can simply be some yoga or pilates, a walk around a block. What about a swim? Just move that body! There is so much focus on the exercise lately because most of us are sitting in the office, at the computers the big part of the day and then move to the sofa in front of the TV…

Understandably this was not an issue 50 years ago when people were working in the fields, doing a lot of physical work, heavy lifting, carrying and much more. But what happened now? We don’t move that much. We use the car to bring kids to school, go shopping, travel to work, use the lift instead of the staircase and find any other possible shortcut. This is normal and we all do that unless we are very aware of the lack of physical activity. ‘When you exercise for even a few minutes every morning it significantly boosts your energy, enhances your health, improves self-confidence and emotional well-being, and enables you to think better and concentrate longer.’ (Hal Elrod)

Reading

My favourite part… 🙂 I love books. I LOVE reading. But… I used to go for the easy read, the reading for pleasure, anything from the fiction section. After reading ‘The Miracle Morning’ I started to gear more towards educational or motivational reads. My mornings are now dedicated to educational material and evening time I read a novel. I never thought I have time for different books nut now reading 10 pages every morning I finish a self-development or other type of educational book in a month or so. How cool is that?

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“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body and prayer is to the soul. We become the books we read.” ~ Matthew Kelly

The key is to learn from the experts—those who have already done what you want to do. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. The fastest way to achieve anything you want is to model successful people who have already achieved it. And we can do that by reading their books.

Tim Ferris once said that evening time should be for helping to settle and calm your mind, therefore, evenings should be for an easy read. So I keep enjoying my novels in the evening but now also have time for the important literature 😉

Scribing

Hal uses this name for journaling. It’s simply writing down your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly. And if you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health. As well as your positive ideas: gratitudes, achievements, desires and plans. This exercise is simply for putting everything on paper. I find that helps me clarify my thoughts. No matter how far technologies have progressed, pen and paper is still an amazing exercise for the mental well-being. Don’t make it complicated – get a journal, start writing and keep writing. It’s your thoughts, your ideas, your emotions. No one needs to read it or see it.

“Paper is to write things down that we need to remember. Our brains are used to think.” ~ Albert Einstein

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Simple, right? As Jim Rohn would say: ‘simple, but not easy’ 🙂

I am still working on these habits. I start and I drop it. I do few things and I ignore the others. It takes time and practise. But what I love the most is the clarity and simplicity of this practice. Having an hour for myself in the morning before I start the day and jump into mummy duties is the most enjoyable and satisfying practice. This time is really precious. I would highly recommend to try it 🙂

Lots of love,

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