As you may already know, I love self-help books! I’m a firm believer that personal development and regular self-reflection are essential components of self-care and living a full and happy life. I say that because I’ve struggled through some seriously hard times and without some kind of spiritual guidance believe I would be a very sad and lost soul, because I was, before I started doing personal growth work (yoga was the gateway drug).
Yet all that being said, it was refreshing to read a completely different take on success in Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success. I was handed this book by my boyfriend who witnesses how hard I am on myself when success doesn’t come flooding through the doors. It’s more of a trickle with occasional gushes and blockages. He thought the ideas presented in this book would give me a new perspective, a necessary one, and he couldn’t have been more correct.
Everyone will extract their own golden nuggets from the masterfully told stories in this well researched and intriguing book. But if you find yourself at a stage in your life wondering why it’s taking so long to get it together, this is a must read.
Gladwell pulls apart some of our most well-known success stories and shows that it’s not all about hard work and perseverance. Though those are indeed necessary ingredients, so are massive amounts of opportunity, help, nurturing, timing, culture, history, and guidance.
If you aren’t quite satisfied with where you find yourself, or you’re having a hard time getting to where you want to go, it’s worth it to examine where you came from, what tools you were given, what support and guidance you received. If you come up short, cut yourself some slack and know you’ve probably had to do way more work than you realize just to be a relatively high functioning human being.
I’ve always hesitated to criticise my childhood and find fault in my upbringing for my own personal setbacks. It felt like a cop out. But the truth is, blaming myself is a cop out. I am who I am from a collection of experiences. If you are an adult, that means you had a childhood, and your childhood helped mold you into who you are.
But here’s the cool part. It’s not about wallowing or feeling sorry for yourself. On the contrary this book helped me to see that I have COME SO FAR! The truth is I’m already experiencing massive success given how much I had to learn and acquire and cultivate in order to be able to love and value myself, to embrace the joy of womanhood, to have gorgeous friendships and a loving partner, and to be an entrepreneur! Though my success might not be newsworthy, it is massively valuable nonetheless.
Some of us are given a great deal of guidance and opportunity at a very young age, while some of us have to learn to find guidance and opportunity as adults. If you are the latter, you might feel like you’re falling behind, but chances are you’re doing a great job. Keep reaching out for help, find your mentors, create your support network, and always be open to opportunity.
I would love your thoughts on this. Please share in the comments below.
P.S. For my Self-Help Book All Star List, click HERE.
P.P.S. If love is a trouble spot for you, I invite you to sign-up for the free Love Detox interview series, hosted by Alicia. It’s already a couple days in, but it’s not too late to sign-up and get access to all the goods, including an upcoming interview with yours truly. Sign-up HERE.