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Three Levels To Living

Think of there being three levels to living. Level One might be called reactionary. At this level, a person lives in the moment, but without higher-order goals or purpose. Depending on the quality of circumstances, this person will experience a greater or lesser degree of fun and pleasure.

Level Two is represented by the person who acts to attain highly valued goals. Examples include having a happy relationship, financial security, success in a career. People who live at this level open the door to satisfaction and happiness.

It is when people have a passionate purpose for their life that they live at Level Three. This occurs when a person develops the burning “why” behind what they do and then intentionally expresses this “why” throughout the fabric of his or her life. Those who live at this level experience deep fulfillment and even joy, on top of many moments of fun, pleasure, and happiness.

What About You?

At which of these levels do you live your life? If you are like most people, you live either at Level one or Two. Hopefully you have fun, enjoy your life, feel some degree of happiness and satisfaction. Good for you.

But, I promise, you can gain even higher levels of happiness and satisfaction than you’ve known. How? By actively creating and acting on your own personal, passionate purpose.

Live It

Determining your passionate purpose is an act of creation, not discovery. That is, you can determine on your own what is it that you decide your life's purpose to be. It’s a process, but, like me and untold numbers of others, you can do it with commitment and effort. As I go into in great detail in my forthcoming book The Happiness Handbook, you need to follow a three-step process.

Step One – Reflect on these questions. What is the central theme of your life? What do you or could you do that would provide you and others the most value, make the biggest contribution, have the most positive impact? About what are you most enthusiastic? What kind of person would I most like to be? Answering these questions gives you hints to your passionate purpose.

Step Two – Create Your Purpose. Sit down and write a brief statement that captures your passionate purpose. Note that this is not a list of goals, but the “why” behind the goals.

Step Three – Live Your Purpose. The last step is to plan precisely how you will act out your passionate purpose within the major roles you play in life (e.g., husband/wife, parent, son, daughter, and friend, employee, etc.)

Going Forward

To be happy, you must work at it. There is nothing that will aid you more in your quest for happiness than to live each day by a passionate purpose created by you. I wish you Godspeed in this quest.

- By Russell Grieger, Ph.D.

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If your goal is to read a lot of books–there are a few obstacles to overcome:

Keeping track of the books you want to read
Refining the list down to ones you’re going to read in the near feature
Actually reading them
Retaining the important parts
Keeping Track of What You Want to Read

Nothing is worse than wanting to get a new book and facing the empty Amazon search bar, their shallow recommendations staring back at you, KNOWING that there’s something better out there for you, but not being able to remember the 10+ books that you really wanted to read but never wrote down.

I have a two pronged solution for this:

1. Evernote

I have one Evernote note (started in 2010) with almost every book that has caught my eye in the last three years. It’s pretty huge. Evernote is great for this purpose because it also has a mobile version, so wherever you are you can pull out your phone and type the book in for later.

I also use which is a really simple bookmarking service to collect books. Typically these are ones that I find on Amazon that I want to save for later. Both of these options are good for maintaining your list–though if you have to choose one, Evernote is probably the best because it works on mobile.

The biggest problem with this is that it gets really unwieldy after a while. It’s hard to keep track of which books you’ve already read, and it’s hard to find the books that you have top of mind in a list that’s 100s of lines long.

Refining the List

To refine my list I use Trello. For example, when this summer began I took a bunch of the books from my Evernote list that I felt like I wanted to read and put them into a Trello Board called Books. On this board I categorize them into two lists: “To Read” and “Backlog.”

“To Read” is composed of things that I want to read immediately. “Backlog” is composed of things that I want to read some time this summer. Whenever I’m in a bookstore or I get a book recommendation that I’m really excited about I put the book into my “To Read” list.

What I find often is that when I first hear about a book it will get me excited and I’ll want to read it immediately. But after a few days or weeks it will excite me less. If that happens I’ll move the book from “To Read” to “Backlog.” And after a while if it stays in “Backlog” I’ll move it back to my Evernote list.

Actually Doing the Reading

I have a rule for myself: I never read more than one book at a time, and I always finish every book I start.

I started doing this because I had a tendency to read five books at once. When you get into the habit of doing that, you end up never actually finishing anything. You’ll read a book for a few chapters, and then put it down for another one. This is annoying and doesn’t get you the satisfaction of reading a book from start to finish. By limiting myself to one book at a time and committing to finish it, I actually end up reading more books than if I read a bunch of them in parallel.

Retaining What You Read

I have a couple of techniques for this depending on the book. For every (important) physical book that I’ve read since I high school I do exactly the same thing: I take a blank sheet of paper and fold it four ways into a square. I put the title of the book at the top and the date. Then as I’m reading I take notes on important themes or messages on the piece of paper, and write the page number that it shows up in. If I see the theme pop up in another section of the book I’ll go back to the original note and add the new page number.

By the time I finished with the last book I read, Fooled By Randomness, I have a list of all the things I found interesting / insightful about it, and a list of all the page numbers where those things were discussed. This makes it really easy to pick up a book a few years after you first read and it figure out exactly what I thought was important about it. It also makes it easier to write about the books because I can usually pull out good quotes really quickly.

The other thing I’ve started to do recently is to write up my notes in Evernote. Having a piece of paper stuck inside the physical book is great (and doubles as a nice bookmark) but if you’re somewhere other than your house, it’s frustrating to not be able to access the information wherever you want. Typing the notes into Evernote on the other hand gives you access any time, from anywhere.

The other good thing about writing things out (whether by hand or by computer) is that you tend to remember them better. I’ve always been bothered by not remembering the things I read, and this seems to be a nice way to get the most out of the time you spend reading.

Now you know how I read. What do you do?

-by Dan Shipper


About the Book:

Why do some people feel a perpetual state of lack and fear about money, while others feel genuinely prosperous, regardless of the size of their bank accounts? Why do some people shudder with dread when it comes to setting financial goals, while others embrace it with enthusiasm and confidence?

What makes the difference? Could it be in their relationship with money itself?

People who enjoy a healthy relationship with money share common habits and traits. So, how do they think, and what do they do differently? Are these behaviors hardwired in an individual's psyche, or can they be learned?

In this provocative book, psychotherapist Dr. Charles Richards provides unexpected and encouraging answers to these questions. Based on his research and expert interviews, Dr. Richards shows how each of us can develop a thriving relationship with money and create a rich and rewarding life.

A t the book's heart are the stories of people who have faced adversity with courage and created extraordinary lives. Their accounts along with Dr. Richards' interviews with finance professors, legislators, entrepreneurs, and mavens of success pave a path to a brighter future for us all.

Today we live in a trying economic environment. Every day, popular financial advisers exhort us to hunker down, play it safe, and protect ourselves from an uncertain future. To the voices who promote fear and doubt, Dr. Richards answers with balance, wisdom, and optimism.

The Psychology of Wealth is for anyone interested in succeeding personally or professionally, and in achieving true prosperity. It offers golden steps on the path to a better life.


“A book can become your best companion in times of crisis.

Not only do you learn in the journey of your pages, but rediscover yourself, with your virtues and defects ... often makes you

question everything, even life itself.

The books are fantastic, as they not only transport you to other places and the awakening of sensations, curiosity, laughter,

hilarity, sadness, etc. Other times, it can give you a quiet space in truculent moments, and lead you to a level of peace,

acceptance, healthy optimism, that I will never tire of recommending it.

Never stop reading, there are no excuses ... there are always some minutes in any place, at any time and a huge universe for all


― Liz Hay