Book Cover

Blocks of Life—The Book!

I am please and excited to announce the publication of the new Blocks of Life Book! Get all the BOL goodness in one place plus additional insights about how to create a happy, meaningful, and fulfilling life.

You can find the book on Amazon (just click on the link!).

The desire to lead a wonderful life is a universal human trait—just consider the many self-help books promising to reveal the one “true secret” of happiness and success, based on the author’s personal experience.

Such books miss a vitally important point: what brings one person fulfillment may bring another person stress. Each person takes a different route to a meaningful life—there is no single path.

Blocks of Life accepts this truth and builds on it.

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Sad girl in bed, backlit scene.

Acceptance

It is what it is.

As we journey through our lives, certain people, events, and conditions will come and go, sometimes when we really don’t want them to. Some of these we will have influence over, and some we won’t.

Some of these things are relatively minor. Catching a cold, having a fender bender, having a game rained out—these are things most of us can roll with without too much agita. But each of us, at some time or another, will also face the big things: divorce, losing a job, death. These things are harder to accept quickly, nor should we try to.

In any case, a better sense of how we handle adversity can take away some of the stress associated with our negative responses to those events, big or small.

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Woman driving a convertible car at the beach.

Drive

Who’s in the driver’s seat?

Who (or what) drives our actions, decisions, and thoughts?

Some people go through their lives firmly in the driver’s seat. They know what they want and they do what it takes to get there. But even the most self-assured people have others who guide them, advise them, or otherwise influence them. They may be in the driver’s seat, but there is usually someone else in the car with them.

On the other extreme are people who are just along for the ride. Someone else is (or a series of people are) in the driver’s seat, and they may not even know where the car is going. These people might lack the confidence to make their own decisions or may be susceptible to manipulation or control. They are drawn to others who have strong visions even if they don’t share them, because the others provide them with a sense of direction, which they would otherwise lack. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with this—some people are just naturally more comfortable in a supportive role—it is important for us to move our lives in ways that we understand and approve of. Even if someone else is driving, we should be aware of the route and destination.

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Ticket. A Woman holding her passport and ticket while standing in an airport.

Ticket

For me, one of the most interesting times in life is buying a plane ticket. Seems pretty straightforward, but to me that’s an exciting moment—one filled with the promise of adventure.

When buying plane tickets, many people buy the nonrefundable kind because they’re cheaper. When we click that button, we’re making a commitment to the trip and all it entails. We’re taking a leap of faith. We have faith that our seat will be there, that the plane will get us where we’re going, that the 1,001 arrangements we made will pan out. Maybe it’s commitment to having a good time or to achieving a goal.

In all of our lives, we don’t personally handle all the details. In the simplest transactions, we take many things on faith. When we do something as basic as buying milk, we assume that it was properly handled, that it was processed correctly, that the date stamp is right. We don’t check each of these things. We are making a leap of faith, and we are leaping every day.

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Habit. Girl practicing violin.

Habit

We are what we do.

Each of us has activities, things we do day in and day out, over and over. Our habits become part of our psyche—part of our identity.

A famous statistic from Maxwell Maltz said that it takes a minimum of 21 days of doing something to make it a habit. Subsequent research suggests that it takes more like a minimum of two months and up to eight months before an activity becomes ingrained. So, if we want an activity to become part of our lives, we know what we have to do to make it happen.

However, knowing this is easier than doing it. We have to be motivated to do something day in and day out, for that long. To get that kind of motivation, we must have a clear image of how and why those activities should be part of our lives. That means that we should be able to consistently fit them into our routines and recognize what they will contribute to our happiness, health, or fulfillment.

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