9 Things: Books That Changed My Life

A friend of mine over at Tetesan Cinta Deetopia posted this a while ago. Books that changed our life. What does it mean actually? Books that made me realize something about my life and nudge me into the direction I’m heading right now? I guess so. I hope this post can also give you some insight into what kind of journey I’m in right now, and perhaps you could even get to know me better.

Some of these books I read a long time ago. I didn’t really remember what was exactly in the book, but I remember the lesson it taught me. So, without further ado, here is my list:

  • Being Happy!Being Happy! by Andrew Matthews
    The first time I read this book was some time during my teenage years. It was on one of those angst days when I feel like all the world had turned against me and I won’t ever get a boyfriend (which was the most important thing as a teenager!). Good old days that I’m so glad I’m out of it :P. Anyways, one thing that really struck me from this book was a cartoon of a grave with the headstone saying, “Here lies a person who will be happy tomorrow.” Right then I was determined to be a happy person now. Why must we wait to be happy? This book also taught me to smile to the world if I want the world to smile back at me. Give, and you shall receive. Be happy, and all the joy shall come to you. I stand by it, and most importantly, I am happy now.
  • Rich Dad, Poor DadRich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
    This book is an eye opener for me. I always thought before there’s only one way to live my life. Go to university, get a good grade, graduate, and get a job in a big multinational company. At one point when I’m about to finish my degree, I felt trapped. Somehow it’s not a life I feel like doing. I’m just so happy to know there’s another way to it. This book also opened my eyes on financial education, how money could be a different game for other people. We might or might not cut out to be entrepreneurs or business owners but it’s important for me to know there is always a choice.
  • The Blue Day BookThe Blue Day Book by Bradley Trevor Greive
    For those of you who haven’t read this one, please do! It’s such a wonderful little picture animal book guaranteed to make you smile by the time you’re on the last page. I know now we have sites like icanhascheezburger.com, but this book was way before that. Plus there’s some happiness wisdom to get you through those blue days 🙂
  • The AlchemistThe Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
    The very famous “follow your dream” fiction book. Almost everyone I know had read it. It gave me the nudge to follow my dreams, to try and discover my personal legend. It was one reason I got the guts to be a novelist. It also somehow ensures me, that even if it’s not an easy road going there, I will get there eventually and I will be happy on the way because I’m following my bliss!
  • The Creative LicenseThe Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to be the Artist You Truly Are by Danny Gregory
    The most important lesson I got from this book is to appreciate and cherish every moment in my life. Even if it’s just a bread I have for breakfast, because tomorrow it will be a different bread ;). As we grow old, it’s so easy to fall into routines and never really enjoy the moment we are in.
  • Think BIGThink BIG and Kick Ass in Business and Life by Donald J. Trump & Bill Zanker
    After a while being an artist, working on my own at home. It’s very easy to retreat into a role of being satisfied to what I have. Yes, it’s important to have gratitude, but it’s also equally important to have ambition. When I set out to be a writer, I didn’t want to be just published. I want my book to be a best seller in Amazon. Crazy? Maybe. But I’d rather be crazy and aim for the stars! Don’t let adversaries stop you. Keep going and dream big. Also from this book I’m glad to know that it’s okay to take revenge from time to time :P.
  • LinchpinLinchpin by Seth Godin
    This book helped me understood the possible source of my bad procrastinating habit. It wasn’t from hating my job, but it’s a part of my brain which tried to sabotage me. A part that is scared of change. Good for me, he named that part lizard brain. Since lizards gave me the creeps to start with, it’s easier to switch the mindset to ignore the lizard, thus banish procrastination!
  • Jamie's ItalyJamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver
    My first cookbook. I know I can cook but I didn’t know how good. Mind you, cooking isn’t my hobby but eating good food is. So, I know I love Italian food but it’s not always affordable to eat out over here. This book convinced me that we could cook as good as a restaurant menu. Not all, but some. Oh, and I said ‘we’ because I can’t cook without the hubs being my second in command :).
  • What I Talk About When I Talk About RunningWhat I Talk About, When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
    I love how Murakami compared running with writing a novel. I wasn’t a runner back then, and although I’m not even sure I’m a runner now, I could relate so much on how writing a novel is comparable to running a marathon. His book inspired me to get more in shape, as I believe a healthy body is a good host to achieve a healthy and creative mind. This book inspired me to run, at first just to feel the connection stated in this book. As time goes by, I started to like running, the serenity I felt and the ease of tension afterwards. A little note: I actually sucked at running. I could run for more than an hour but I could only go at an average of 6 km/h. Slow but sure, like a tortoise :D.

There! I wrote it all down. It took me longer than I thought, but it’s been fun to think back on them. How about you? Do we have a book in common? Please share me yours 🙂

9 Things: Keeping My Spirits Up

Sometimes those non happy days are just inevitable, be it a bad news in the mailbox, dark clouds on the horizon, eternal winter darkness, or simply too much stress combined with PMS. What to do… what to do?

I don’t like to be a self pitying whiny writer. Yes, I know I rant from time to time, and cried out of frustration, but I know it’s bad for my well being. I’m believer in if you put your energy into something, you’ll make it stronger. So it’s definitely better to put the energy into good things and keep my spirits up.

I need this list myself as a reminder of things I could do to pick myself up when I’m feeling down. Not in a particular order since each point has its own magic moments.

1. Exercise

Aerobic exercises increased production of Serotonin, resulting in a better mood. I tried to do some sort of aerobic activity at least twice a week, and then yoga or pilates on the other days. I need yoga and pilates to maintain my back and posture (which suffers from all these years I spent working on computers).

2. Motivational books or blogs

Sometimes all I need is someone else telling me that I’m not the only one who has problems and I can most definitely deal with with it. People had overcame it, so I can too!

3. Solitary walks

A nice walk calms me down. It’s the combination of physical activity, fresh air, and having a sense of the world around me. I love how I could just let go and take a random turn. It’s always wonderful when I end up somewhere I’ve never been before. A park, or a part of town I’ve never been to, shoe/clothing stores, art galleries, or make up counters ;). Yes, I admit I’m a shopaholic. Also I’m lucky I live in Berlin, which is relatively a safe city to walk around alone.

4. Sit in a cafe or a bench where I can see people passing by

This one is the contrary of a walk. I sit and see everything else in motion. It helps to know that the worlds still turns, people are still laughing, smiling, and things seemed to be… normal out there. No need to put whatever things I have blowing out of proportion.

5. Listen to uplifting music

It could be a song that has cheerful tune, contemplative feel, remind me of a wonderful event, a wonderful feeling (New Shoes- Paulo Nutini) Some songs on my list: Life is Wonderful (Jason Mraz), Un Nuovo Giorno (Andrea Bocelli), Acquarello (Toquinho), Fireworks (Katy Perry)

6. Count my blessings, and feel the gratitude of being who I am.

Be thankful of what I have. Because I sometimes forgot that I actually have a lot. Believe me, even if you’re in the lowest of low, you’ll still have something you’re grateful of. At the very least, being able to breathe and we’re still alive to make something out of ourselves, we still have the second (or third) chance.

7. Sleep

This one is actually my husband’s secret ingredients. Somehow it always worked for him. Perhaps it’s the fatigue that made the body thinks it’s weaker than it’s actually is? But yes, sleep. A nap, a good night sleep would produce the right strength to fight again on the next day :).

8. Eat

No, I don’t mean binge eating. I meant having a good healthy proper meal. A three course meal, or something that reminded you of a good time in your life. A meal that also would provide nutritions for the body.

9. Funny cat pictures

Yes, icanhascheezburger. If all else fails, laugh your heart out 😀

That’s my 9 things. Do you like to do the things I do? Do you have something else in mind? Please do share it in the comments section 🙂

And I’m leaving you with one of my favorite childhood tunes!

9 Things: Times You Took A Chance

I got this idea over from Karen at Make Up And Beauty Blog. When I first saw it, I thought it’s going to be quite simple, since somehow I managed to think of myself as a chance taker. I don’t know how much truth in there, since as I wrote down my list, boy oh boy, it wasn’t that many. I’ll let you be the judge.

If you’d like to make this a meme, you’re most welcome to do so. I’d love to hear what you thought about it. And please do link back when you post it!

Quoting Karen:

You know how it is. You’re faced with a choice — you can either play it safe and take the simply “okay” outcome, or you can go the riskier route and shoot for the potentially awesome ending

Just for me, the change would also involved something I might have believed in or scared of for a very long time. So here it is, in no particular order.

1. Standing up and get noticed

I was quite a shy person in school. More of a nerd, not really the popular girl. Then I decided for myself that I want to be that person that everyone would remember when they are out of school, and I started to be more active with my social life, kick out my shyness, volunteered for elections. Did I succeed? I don’t really know. Perhaps ask my old friends if they still remember me. LOL.

2. Starting our own company

It was a strange idea at that time. Everyone expected me to go join a company and work my career up from there. The truth was I feel sick to my stomach when I thought of being cooped up in a cubicle in a tall office building, wearing suits, and having the same office hour every day . Please, no offense to any of you who did this, it would be the most sensible idea for most people. It’s just not for me. Back to the topic, I was thinking of another way for creating an income. So me and my bf (now hubs) created a mobile game company. I love this experience, and even if creating softwares weren’t my passion anymore, I would do this all over again. Except this time, we will make smarter choices.

3. Studying in Germany

I was very excited for this chance. No fear at all. I can’t wait to go. Even if that means living in a different culture, far away from home. Living on our own, just me and hubs. It is one of the pivotal points in my life, and the experience that comes with it, is truly priceless for me.

4. Becoming a Writer, full time

Most likely some of my friends still think I’m crazy because of this. Because I went for something unrelated with my academic degree (Informatics and Digital Media). Well I had fun studying it, and it would provide a good side job, but I AM following my heart here. I went full dive to writing because I believe that when I feel that a dream is worth dreaming, it is also worth pursuing with all my might. Since lovely hubs is very supportive as well, why not?

5. Moving to Berlin

I separated this from the studying in Germany because our moving here was completely filled with uncertainty. I don’t want to go into details, but back then, all we had was the faith and the believe that this is what we both want. We were right, it turn out very well in the end. I’m so happy we took this chance, as I really came to love Berlin, and this city had been very inspirational for me.

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Musing Around

I haven’t really thought of my muse. Why? Maybe I was too practical before? Although admittedly I babble with myself every time I got some ideas in my head… hopefully that didn’t put me in the cuckoo category…

Anyway, the first time I seriously consider having my own muse is when Rebecca mentioned it in her post about Where Does Creativity Come From? It was interesting to me, knowing that I could actually blame the blockage on my creativity to my external genius. My muse. And then I never thought about it anymore, until Cat shares her muse.

So, I think I’ll create one right now. I want my muse to be a he. I mean, why muses usually female anyways? He’s a cool, calm, collected, fashionable looking gay guy who always knows what to say and when to say it. He has a million interesting ideas in his head that he sometimes –only sometimes– shares with me. Then I have to write it down into something legible and he will be standing in the corner, pouting, until I finished. Actually, I can see him pouting right now.

For now, I call him Apollo.

Come to think of it, he probably already existed since long ago… and I just couldn’t admit it.

How about you?