Choose Yourself – Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream – Review
If I had to sum up Choose Yourself in a sentence, I’d actually quote directly from the book:
“If you lower your expectations, for instance, your expectations are easy to exceed.” – pg. 5
What happened to your dreams? No seriously? What happened to your dreams? Remember when nothing seemed impossible? Remember when you wanted to…
Whatever happened to those beliefs, to the feeling that you would reach your goals, and nothing would stop you? What have you (and me) – traded for those dreams?
We’ve traded our dreams for the “reality” that our lives have become. We’ve traded our dreams for being reasonable. We’ve traded our dreams to fit in. We’ve traded our dreams to make others more comfortable around us.
But here’s the question we must dare to ask…
Is it worth it?
Are all these things worth what we’re trading for them? I don’t know what the right answer is for you, but for me the answer is an emphatic NO!
Okay then, if your answer is no as well, then we must dare to ask ourselves – what are we going to do about it?
It’s this that James talks about in Choose Yourself – sort of.
Throughout the book James, challenges the status quo and helps the reader to question why they do what they do, and accept what they accept. Why allow others to provide your validation? Why allow others to determine your self-worth? Why allow others to steal your dreams?
James takes the first few chapters of the book to build a case for why it’s important that you “choose yourself”. He shares candid (and funny) personal stories about his journey to learn to choose himself. It’s through these stories that James lays a clear foundation for what’s to come.
How to Choose Yourself
Before you can choose yourself you’ve gotta have a better understanding of who you are. Who are you really? Besides our physical bodies, we also have an emotional body, a mental body, and a spiritual body.
THE MENTAL BODY
THE SPIRITUAL BODY
The Simple Daily Practice
“Why do I put so much emphasis on the Daily Practice? Am I trying to sell a religion or something?
No, I put emphasis on it because it’s the only thing that’s ever worked for me. Following that practice is the only thing that “unstuck” me, pulled me off the floor, saved my life, and actually propelled me to success.” – pg 55
Why a Daily Practice?
When we’re at our bottom, it often appears that our external world is causing all of our difficulties. However, most often, it is our internal lives that need to change. External changes always begin from the inside.
“External changes in your life are like the final ripples of the ocean that lap onto distant shores.” – pg 57
James provides 26 simple daily practice ideas with the intention of you doing ONE thing every day. Here are a few of them:
-Sleep eight hours.
-No junk food.
-Express thanks to a friend.
-Write down your entire schedule. The schedule you do every day. Cross out one item and don’t do that anymore.
-Read a chapter in a biography about someone who is an inspiration to you.
-Make plans to spend time with a friend.
As you can see, each of these is easy and simple to do. Go ahead and pick one and do it today.
What If I’m In a Crisis?
“If you are in the middle of a rainstorm, there is an abundance of water. Think of the bounty that can be grown with that water. If you are in a traffic jam, there is an abundance of cars. Think of the human achievement those cars represent in our short history on this planet. Turn despair on its head.
With each obstacle, turn it into a moment where you can reflect on the bounty that is in your life.” – pg 62
Forget Finding Your Purpose
This chapter was very profound for me. I’ve often whined about not knowing my purpose. About wanting something to pour my passion into. After reading Choose Yourself, I realize that my lack of purpose was nothing more than an excuse.
“Forget purpose. It’s okay to be happy without one. The quest for a single purpose has ruined many lives.” – pg 77
Okay Great! Now How Do You Actually Choose Yourself?
As James clearly points out in Choose Yourself, choosing yourself is about not allowing others to dictate and determine your self-worth, nor control how much you earn. James makes a strong case for leaving the corporate (paycheck-to-paycheck) world behind and starting your own business.
Here are James’ 7 Rules for venturing out on your own:
Rule #1: Take out the middleman. Put yourself in direct contact with were the money flows from.
Rule #2: Pick a boring business. Stop looking for the next BIG thing. Start looking for ways you can improve “ordinary” businesses.
Rule #3: Get a customer! Don’t worry about VC money, building a product, etc. Instead, find a customer – aka someone willing to give you money in exchange for something of value.
Rule #4: Build trust while you sleep. Look for opportunities to have others validate your credibility. Let them vouch for you.
Rule #5: Blogging is not about money. Blogging is about exposure. About making connections.
Rule #6: Say YES! Say yes, and then figure out how to pull it off. Don’t wait until you have everything figured out before you say yes.
Rule #7: Customer Service Treat people like human beings. Treat them like someone who wants to give you money…because they do.
You’re probably thinking all of those are great, but I don’t have any ideas for a business. Don’t fret! James provides some ideas to help get your creative juices flowing. Look for areas that people need help with:
-getting in shape
Ideas are the easy part. Taking action is where most people fail. Select an idea – get a customer – get going!
Be a Kid Again
“When you’re a kid, everything has a question mark at the end of it. Only later do they turn into periods. Or even exclamation points. ‘Will I get over this?’ becomes ‘It’s too late.’ becomes ‘I can’t get over this!’
My only hope for my future is I learn to dot the landscape of my life once more with question marks instead of periods. To turn judgments into queries. To turn ‘this’ into ‘that’? To make every problem a maze. To be like a six-year-old.”
The stories and his writing style in Choose Yourself will completely draw you in and you’ll feel like you’re sitting with him chatting over a cup of coffee. If you’re feeling down, overwhelmed, overworked, unappreciated (or even the exact opposite), then I recommend that you pick up a copy of Choose Yourself!
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