It’s not books that change your life, it’s thinking. It’s coming face to face with something that is different to you. It’s working with thought as you would clay.
So are five sets of other people’s thoughts that have made me a better person this year. What are yours?
1. Mindsets by Carol Dweck
If you struggle with jealousy and insane feelings of inadequacy, fear of not being the best or publicly failing or have a confusion as to why anyone would work their ass off for 10 years just to come 2nd place, pick up this book. It is hands down the most influential book on my life to date.
I’m still working on changing my thoughts from a fixed mindset to a growth one but it’s so freeing to think that I can be smarter if I just work for it and that every challenge is a learning opportunity rather than a example of my own stupidity. *thumbs up*
2. How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran
It was almost shocking to me to come across an image of a woman that was not the lovely, graceful beauty of a hollywood actress, model or wise old dame nor a raging, short haired angry lesbian nor a powerful, lonely, hard working intelligent 30-something. No. Caitlin Moran was just… Caitlin Moran. So conservative and ’normal’ in some senses (married with two kids) and so shockingly abnormal in others (skunk hair and pot smoking). That brash, sarcastic side of me I sometimes try to cover with ladylike sweetness found a soul mate and there’s no turning back from realising you can just be whatever you are.
3. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Read this book to understood the beauty in doing, working and creating simply for the exercise of it rather than the accolades or potential success. It’s technically a book about how to write but in reality its so much more. She’s got this dry sense of humour and wry way of looking at life that makes you feel better about how unimportant your own is.
It will motivate you to get to those things you feel compelled to do, day after day, even when you have nothing externally to show for it and can’t remember why you keep doing it in the first place. Like writing a blog.
It’s not a book, it’s a weekly newsletter filled with everything that is good and deep in this world. I learnt about creativity. I found guidance from people who are successful and immortal to the suicidal and forgotten. It will give you best bits of the best books, make you feel like a cultured and well-read person and inspire you to think about more than just what’s for lunch.
5. My Own
It’s not finished yet and maybe it never will be published but the process of writing my own story helped me reconcile myself from it. That’s not a typo. I meant to say ‘From’.
When I had my first conversation with the girl who was to become my best friend over the next year, Kendyl, we were sitting on the back of a couch at the Boutique night club in St Kilda, on our third or fourth Vodka Lemonade. Despite the fact she was swaying slightly, didn’t know my name and probably couldn’t even hear me over the music, I poured out the whole shebang; it was a full-on conversation to essentially communicate, ‘I used to be kind of like a Priest! And married! Now I’m not! Let’s get more drunk!’.
The amount of minutes between meeting someone and telling The Story slowly expanded over the next 2 years until I realised the other day that my closest Spanish girlfriend didn’t even know I used to be married. I unstuck The Story from Me by dropping it into Scrivener. It’s currently a cacophony of really impacting paragraphs and emotional drivel that someone will have to help me sort out next year.
Now I’m writing a new story but not with a keyboard… just with my life.
Thank you to the writers and curators who have spoken to me this year, in ways that made me angry and hate myself for not having your wisdom and finesse and with words that made me realise you felt exactly the same way. That we all do. That we’re all working our shit out. That we probably always will be. And that the best way to live life is not to try to be the best or get it right but just simply to be a human and squeeze the most out of every second of this consciousness we’re so lucky to have.