Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert – A 27-min Summary

big magic

“Big Magic is a celebration of a creative life…Gilbert’s love of creativity is infectious, and there’s a lot of great advice in this sunny book…Gilbert doesn’t just call for aspiring artists to speak their truth, however daffy that may appear to others; she is showing them how.”
—Washington Post

“In [Gilbert’s] first foray into full-on self-help [she] shares intimate glimpses into the life of a world-famous creative, complete with bouts of paralyzing fear and frustration, in an attempt to coax the rest of us into walking through the world just a little bit braver.”
—Elle

“Elizabeth Gilbert is my new spirit animal… I have profoundly changed my approach to creating since I read this book.”
—Huffington Post

Book details:

Publisher: Riverhead Books (September 22, 2015)
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Genre: Self-Help, Creativity, Personal Growth, Motivational, Personal Success

Author

Elizabeth M. Gilbert (born July 18, 1969) is an American author, essayist, short story writer, biographer, novelist and memoirist. She is best known for her 2006 memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, which as of December 2010 has spent 199 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list, and was also made into a film by the same name in 2010.

Writer Elizabeth Gilbert on her new book “Big Magic” – q on cbc

Also check out this great TED talk: Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing creativity

Continue reading “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert – A 27-min Summary”

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work – Shawn Achor

From amazon.com:

Shawn Achor is the winner of over a dozen distinguished teaching awards at Harvard University, where he delivered lectures on positive psychology in the most popular class at Harvard. Today Shawn travels around the world giving talks on positive psychology to Fortune 500 companies, schools, and non-profit organizations. He has worked with doctors in California, executives in Hong Kong, teachers in South Africa, and bankers in Switzerland. Shawn graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and earned a Masters degree from Harvard Divinity School in Christian and Buddhist ethics. In 2006, he served as Head Teaching Fellow with Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar of “Positive Psychology,” a class that enrolled 1 out of every 7 Harvard undergraduates. For seven years, Shawn also served as an Officer of Harvard, living in Harvard Yard and counseling students through the stresses of their first year. Though he now travels extensively for his work with Aspirant, Shawn continues to conduct original psychology research on happiness and organizational achievement.

TOC

Part One: Positive Psychology at Work

  • Introduction
  • Discovering the Happiness Advantage
  • The Happiness Advantage at Work
  • Change is Possible

Part Two: Seven Priciples

  • Principle #1: The Happiness Advantage
  • Principle #2: The Fulcrum and The Lever
  • Principle #3: The Tetris Effect
  • Principle #4: Falling Up
  • Principle #5: The Zorro Circle
  • Principle #6: The 20-second Rule
  • Principle #7: Social Investment

Part Three: The Ripple Effect

  • Spreading The Happiness Advantage at Work, at Home, and Beyond

Short Summary

Part1 – Positive Psychology at Work

  •  we now know that happiness is the precursor to success, not merely the result. And that happiness and optimism actually fuel performance and achievement
  • in 200 studies on 275,000 people worldwide:  happiness leads to success in nearly every domain, including work, health, friendship, sociability, creativity, and energy.

Part 2: Seven Priciples

Principle #1: The Happiness Advantage
  • When we are happy—when our mindset and mood are positive—we are smarter, more motivated, and thus more successful. Happiness is the center, and success revolves around it.
  • Happiness boosters: meditation, looking forward to something, commit conscious acts of kindness, exercise, Spend money (but NOT on Stuff), exercise a Signature Strength, ..
Principle #2: The Fulcrum & The Lever
Changing your Peformance by changing your Mindset
  • Happiness is not about lying to ourselves, or turning a blind eye to the negative, but about adjusting our brain so that we see the ways to rise above our circumstances.
  • The mental construction of our daily activities, more than the activity itself, defines our reality.
  • The heart of the challenge is to stop thinking of the world as fixed when reality is, in truth, relative.
Principle #3 – The Tetris Effect
Training Your Brain to Capitalize on Possibility
  • Train your brain to scan the world for the opportunities and ideas that allow our success rate to grow.
  • The best way to kick-start this is to start making a daily list of the good things in your job, your career, and your life.
Principle #4 – Falling Up
Capitalizing on the downs to build Upward Momentum
  • Study after study shows that if we are able to conceive of a failure as an opportunity for growth, we are all the more likely to experience that growth
  • It’s about using that downward momentum to propel ourselves in the opposite direction. It’s about capitalizing on setbacks and adversity to become even happier, even more motivated, and even more successful. It’s not falling down, it’s falling up.
Principle #5 – The Zorro Circle
How Limiting Your Focus to Small, Manageable Goals Can Expand Your Sphere of Power
  • Feeling that we are in control, that we are masters of our own fate at work and at home, is one of the strongest drivers of both well-being and performance.
  • Happiness, and health have less to do with how much control we actually have and more with how much control we think we have.
  • No matter what you may have heard from motivational speakers, coaches, and the like, reaching for the stars is a recipe for failure.
  • As Harvard Business School professor Peter Bregman advises, “Don’t write a book, write a page.
Principle #6 – The 20-Second Rule
How to Turn Bad Habits into Good Ones by minimizing Barriers to Change
  • Common sense is not common action….
    That’s why even though doctors know better than anyone the importance of exercise and diet, 44 percent of them are overweight.
  • Our willpower weakens the more we use it.
  • The key to creating these habits is ritual, repeated practice, until the actions become ingrained in your brain’s neural chemistry. And the key to daily practice is to put your desired actions as close to the path of least resistance as humanly possible.
Priciple #7 – Social Investment
Why Social support is your single Greatest asset
  • social relationships are the single greatest investment you can make in the Happiness Advantage.

3. The Ripple effect

  • Each one of us is like that butterfly (re: the butterfly effect). And each tiny move towards a more positive mindset can send ripples of positivity through our organizations, our families, and our communities.
  • Emotions are highly contagious… both negative emotions & positive emotions

 

Continue reading “The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work – Shawn Achor”

Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849)

Edgar_Allan_Poe

“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

Wikipedia:

Edgar Allan Poe (born Edgar Poe; January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American author, poet, editor, and literary critic, widely regarded as a central figure of Romanticism in the United States and American literature as a whole. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story, and is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.

Born in Boston, Poe was the second child of two actors. His father abandoned the family in 1810, and his mother died the following year. Thus orphaned, the child was taken in by John and Frances Allan, of Richmond, Virginia. Although they never formally adopted him, Poe was with them well into young adulthood. Tension developed later as John Allan and Edgar repeatedly clashed over debts, including those incurred by gambling, and the cost of secondary education for the young man. Poe attended the University of Virginia for one semester but left due to lack of money. Poe quarreled with Allan over the funds for his education and enlisted in the Army in 1827 under an assumed name. It was at this time his publishing career began, albeit humbly, with an anonymous collection of poems, Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827), credited only to “a Bostonian”. With the death of Frances Allan in 1829, Poe and Allan reached a temporary rapprochement. Later failing as an officer’s cadet at West Point and declaring a firm wish to be a poet and writer, Poe parted ways with John Allan.

Poe switched his focus to prose and spent the next several years working for literary journals and periodicals, becoming known for his own style of literary criticism. His work forced him to move among several cities, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City. In Baltimore in 1835, he married Virginia Clemm, his 13-year-old cousin. In January 1845 Poe published his poem, “The Raven“, to instant success. His wife died of tuberculosis two years after its publication. For years, he had been planning to produce his own journal, The Penn (later renamed The Stylus), though he died before it could be produced. On October 7, 1849, at age 40, Poe died in Baltimore; the cause of his death is unknown and has been variously attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, and other agents.

Poe and his works influenced literature in the United States and around the world, as well as in specialized fields, such as cosmology and cryptography. Poe and his work appear throughout popular culture in literature, music, films, and television. A number of his homes are dedicated museums today. The Mystery Writers of America present an annual award known as the Edgar Award for distinguished work in the mystery genre.

Quotes

Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.
Edgar Allan Poe

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

“We loved with a love that was more than love.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”
― Edgar Allan Poe, Eleonora

“I have great faith in fools – self-confidence my friends will call it.”
― Edgar Allan Poe, Marginalia

“I was never really insane except upon occasions when my heart was touched.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

“There is no exquisite beauty… without some strangeness in the proportion.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

“Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

“From childhood’s hour I have not been. As others were, I have not seen. As others saw, I could not awaken. My heart to joy at the same tone. And all I loved, I loved alone.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

“Years of love have been forgot, In the hatred of a minute.”
― Edgar Allan Poe, The Complete Stories and Poems

“All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

“If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

“I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

“The best things in life make you sweaty.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

“I felt that I breathed an atmosphere of sorrow.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

“I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active – not more happy – nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

“Science has not yet taught us if madness is or is not the sublimity of the intelligence.”
― Edgar Allan Poe

The Raven

The Raven” is a narrative poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. First published in January 1845, the poem is often noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere. It tells of a talking raven’s mysterious visit to a distraught lover, tracing the man’s slow fall into madness. The lover, often identified as being a student, is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore. Sitting on a bust of Pallas, the raven seems to further instigate his distress with its constant repetition of the word “Nevermore”. The poem makes use of a number of folk, mythological, religious, and classical references.

Its publication made Poe widely popular in his lifetime, although it did not bring him much financial success. The poem was soon reprinted, parodied, and illustrated. Critical opinion is divided as to the poem’s literary status, but it nevertheless remains one of the most famous poems ever written.

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door —
Only this, and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; — vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow — sorrow for the lost Lenore —
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore —
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me — filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door —
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; —
This it is, and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”— here I opened wide the door; —
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!” —
Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore —
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; —
‘Tis the wind and nothing more.”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door —
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door —
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore —
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning— little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door —
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as “Nevermore.”
― Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven

 

Videos

Edgar Allan Poe Documentary

Edgar Allan Poe’s THE RAVEN

SIX CREEPY TALES by Edgar Allan Poe – FULL AudioBook | Greatest Audio Books

Chapter listing and length:

1 – The Telltale Heart — 00:16:47
2 – The Masque of the Red Death — 00:18:27
3 – The Black Cat — 00:29:54
4 – The Raven — 00:09:28
5 – The Casque of Amontillado — 00:18:28
6 – Berenice — 00:26:52

Total running time: 1:59:56
Read by Phil Chenevert

eap

October 6: Alfred, Lord Tennyson died in 1892

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

“Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.”
― Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam

Wikipedia:

Born 6 August 1809
Somersby, Lincolnshire, England
Died 6 October 1892 (aged 83)
Lurgashall, Sussex, England
Occupation Poet Laureate
Alma mater Cambridge University
Spouse Emily Sellwood (m. 1850)
Children
  • Hallam Tennyson, 2nd Baron Tennyson
  • Hon. Lionel Tennyson

Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, FRS (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892) was Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during much of Queen Victoria’s reign and remains one of the most popular British poets.

Tennyson excelled at penning short lyrics, such as “Break, Break, Break“, “The Charge of the Light Brigade“, “Tears, Idle Tears” and “Crossing the Bar“. Much of his verse was based on classical mythological themes, such as Ulysses, although In Memoriam A.H.H. was written to commemorate his friend Arthur Hallam, a fellow poet and student at Trinity College, Cambridge, after he died of a stroke aged just 22. Tennyson also wrote some notable blank verse including Idylls of the King, “Ulysses“, and “Tithonus“. During his career, Tennyson attempted drama, but his plays enjoyed little success.

A number of phrases from Tennyson’s work have become commonplaces of the English language, including

  • “Nature, red in tooth and claw” (In Memoriam A.H.H.)
  • “‘Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all”
  • “Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die”
  • “My strength is as the strength of ten, / Because my heart is pure”
  • “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield”
  • “Knowledge comes, but Wisdom lingers”
  • “The old order changeth, yielding place to new”

He is the ninth most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.

Videos/Audio

Alfred Lord Tennyson – The Circle of the Hills – Documentary

The Charge of the Light Brigade audiobook Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Quotes

“Be near me when my light is low,
When the blood creeps, and the nerves prick
And tingle; and the heart is sick,
And all the wheels of Being slow.

Be near me when the sensuous frame
Is rack’d with pangs that conquer trust;
And Time, a maniac scattering dust,
And Life, a fury slinging flame.

Be near me when my faith is dry,
And men the flies of latter spring,
That lay their eggs, and sting and sing
And weave their petty cells and die.

Be near me when I fade away,
To point the term of human strife,
And on the low dark verge of life
The twilight of eternal day.”
― Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam

The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control; these three alone lead one to sovereign power.
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

I must lose myself in action, lest I wither in despair.
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

Shape your heart to front the hour, but dream not that the hours will last.
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure.
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

By blood a king, in heart a clown.
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

We cannot be kind to each other here for even an hour. We whisper, and hint, and chuckle and grin at our brother’s shame; however you take it we men are a little breed.
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

“Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.”
― Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam

“I sometimes find it half a sin,
To put to words the grief i feel,
For words like nature,half reveal,
and half conceal the soul within,”
― Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam

“I hold it truth, with him who sings
To one clear harp in divers tones,
That men may rise on stepping-stones
Of their dead selves to higher things.”
― Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam

lord tennyson

 

September 25: William Faulkner was born in 1897

william faulkner

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.”
― William Faulkner

Wikipedia:

Born William Cuthbert Faulkner
September 25, 1897
New Albany, Mississippi, U.S.
Died July 6, 1962 (aged 64)
Byhalia, Mississippi, U.S.
Language English
Nationality American
Period 1919–1962
Notable works The Sound and the Fury
As I Lay Dying
Light in August
Absalom, Absalom!
A Rose for Emily
Notable awards
Spouse Estelle Oldham (1929-1962; His Death)

Signature

William Cuthbert Faulkner (September 25, 1897 – July 6, 1962) was an American writer and Nobel Prize laureate from Oxford, Mississippi. Faulkner wrote novels, short stories, a play, poetry, essays, and screenplays. He is primarily known for his novels and short stories set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, based on Lafayette County, Mississippi, where he spent most of his life.

Faulkner is one of the most celebrated writers in American literature generally and Southern literature specifically. Though his work was published as early as 1919, and largely during the 1920s and 1930s, Faulkner was relatively unknown until receiving the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature, for which he became the only Mississippi-born Nobel laureate. Two of his works, A Fable (1954) and his last novel The Reivers (1962), won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked his 1929 novel The Sound and the Fury sixth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century; also on the list were As I Lay Dying (1930) and Light in August (1932). Absalom, Absalom! (1936) is often included on similar lists.

Videos

The Life and Work of William Faulkner in America: Pulitzer Prize Winner (1997)

Shelby Foote on William Faulkner and the American South

Quotes

“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.
Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”
― William Faulkner

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”
― William Faulkner

“We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.”
― William Faulkner, Essays, Speeches & Public Letters

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”
― William Faulkner

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
― William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun

“In writing, you must kill all your darlings.”
― William Faulkner

“Given the choice between the experience of pain and nothing, I would choose pain.”
― William Faulkner, The Wild Palms

“…I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire…I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all of your breath trying to conquer it. Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.”
― William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury

“The saddest thing about love, Joe, is that not only the love cannot last forever, but even the heartbreak is soon forgotten.”
― William Faulkner

“The next time you try to seduce anyone, don’t do it with talk, with words. Women know more about words than men ever will. And they know how little they can ever possibly mean.”
― William Faulkner

“Perhaps they were right putting love into books. Perhaps it could not live anywhere else.”
― William Faulkner

“I’m bad and I’m going to hell, and I don’t care. I’d rather be in hell than anywhere where you are. ”
― William Faulkner

“Don’t be ‘a writer’. Be writing.”
― William Faulkner

“Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders.”
― William Faulkner

“Wonder. Go on and wonder.”
― William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury

“If a story is in you, it has to come out.”
― William Faulkner

“Clocks slay time… time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.”
― William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury

“I decline to accept the end of man… I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among the creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.”
― William Faulkner

“Pouring out liquor is like burning books.”
― William Faulkner

“It’s a shame that the only thing a man can do for eight hours a day is work. He can’t eat for eight hours; he can’t drink for eight hours; he can’t make love for eight hours. The only thing a man can do for eight hours is work. ”
― William Faulkner

william faulkner 2