April 6, 2008

"What Should I Do with My Life?"

by Po Bronson

Book Description:
In What Should I Do with My Life? Po Bronson tells the inspirational true stories of people who have found the most meaningful answers to that great question. With humor, empathy, and insight, Bronson writes of remarkable individuals—from young to old, from those just starting out to those in a second career—who have overcome fear and confusion to find a larger truth about their lives and, in doing so, have been transformed by the experience. What Should I Do with My Life? struck a powerful, resonant chord on publication, causing a multitude of people to rethink their vocations and priorities and start on the path to finding their true place in the world. For this edition, Bronson has added nine new profiles, to further reflect the range and diversity of those who broke away from the chorus to learn the sound of their own voice.

Memorable Quotes:

Nothing seemed more brave to me than facing up to one's own identity, and filtering out the chatter that tells us to be someone we're not.

Curiosity is a raw and genuine sign from deep inside out tangled psyches, and we'd do well to follow the direction it points us in.

“Fear is like a wound within our emotions,” (Za Rinpoche) said. You heal a fear much like you heal a cut on your hand. If you ignore a cut on your hand, it will get infected. But it will heal itself if you pay attention to it and give it time. Same with fear. First, recognize its existence-what kind of fear is it? Is it fear of poverty, of loneliness, of rejection? Then use common sense. Don't let the fear get infected. Often we burn 70% of our emotional energy on what we fear might happen (90% of which won't happen). By devoting our energy to our other emotions, we will heal them.

Tell them it's okay not to have an answer, but it's not okay to stop looking for one.

People who don't have passions don't struggle.

...your place in life. It's not a puzzle that can be figured out on paper. You have to try something, see if it works, and learn from it.

The right question is, How can I find something that moves my heart, so that the inevitable crap storm is bearable?

Being guided by the heart is almost never something an intellectually motivated person chooses to do. It's something that happens to them - usually something painful.

...mistaking intensity for passion. It's a common mistake. Intensity is external; passion invokes something inside you. It's a call-and-response with your soul. It's not just adrenaline.

We all have our ways of looking at the world, and we have to ask, “Am I looking through my own eyes, or am I looking through glasses I don't even realize are there?”

Inevitably, getting into an environment of like-minded people – inevitably, it means you have to ditch your old support system, family or friends or coworkers or dorm-mates. You have to inflict pain on people who love you. Oh, they can still be your friends, still love you – but the seat you've saved for them at your Inner Circle has to be given to someone new. And this is never done without the sting of rejection and the collar of guilt.

Traveling can take you away from all those influences (deadlines, parents chirping in your ear, friends wanting you to go out), quiet their din, and allow you a kind of silence to consider who you are as an independent entity.

“And when you start to think that you haven't been the pilot of your life for a long, long time, you have no other choice but to hear what your soul is saying.” unknown

Traveling without a plan is a way to rehearse the improvisational approach, and open your mind to the sense of adventure. You learn to trust the laws of chance.

Don't doubt your desire because it comes to you as a whisper...

The things we really want to do are usually the ones that scare us the most.

It's okay if you don't have it figured out, as long as you don't stop figuring.