Tip Tuesday: Gratitude and Fulfillment

I recently finished reading “How to be a Bawse” by Lilly Singh (which was ah-making, seriously check it out if you haven’t already!). I listened to the Audiobook on Audible, which was read by ||Superwoman|| herself! I don’t care if you are absolutely in love with her YouTube channel or if you have never heard of her before, this book inspired the sh*t out of me, and without it this post wouldn’t be here.

First off, I listened to this book while struggling to decide upon a topic for NaNoWriMo. I do not definitively know what in the book helped me pick my topic, but I do know that it inspired me to try harder and write more. Hearing her talk about her dedication and love for her work inspired me to find something I was passionate about. It still took some effort, and some ideas that were thrown out, but I never gave up. Now, I have ideas for not one but two books.

I also found somewhat of a second wind at work. I was absolutely dead a couple of weeks ago. Last week I worked extra hours every single day so that I could take Friday off and travel home and spend the weekend with my family without worrying about a thing. Although I did still worry some, I was able to really relax and be present with those that I don’t get to see every day. On top of that, I felt really great about everything I had gotten done, and that was in part because of how hard I tried.

In addition to all of this, the one thing from the book that has stuck with me the most is how often we take things for granted. I’m sitting here typing this with a Bluetooth keyboard onto my 2018 iPad while watching the Green Bay Packers game on TV and the Milwaukee Brewers game on my phone. My house has a roof and heat, light and internet. I had a great dinner and bought foods that we eat just because we want to at the grocery store today. I have a husband that loves me and made sure the house was spotless before I got home. Even in my darkest times, they really aren’t that dark in comparison. It’s really hard to remember this, but taking the time to think about all the good and practice gratitude goes a long way.

You can have it all, just not all at once -Oprah

Another thing that has really stuck with me, was her discussion of discipline. I still feel like I don’t have enough time for everything that I want to do, but I also feel like I am fulfilled in the things that I have to do. I know that I could rearrange my day; I could try to figure out how to get by on less sleep. I also know that it’s not that big of a deal to me. If it really and truly mattered that I fit everything in every single day, then I would find a way. The important thing now is that I learn not to complain about not being able to fit everything in, when it would be nothing more than a different sacrifice if I decided to try. I need to be grateful.

Sensing a theme here? Gratitude and Fulfillment. I’ve written about gratitude in the past, but I haven’t really written about fulfillment much. At the end of the day, all of the little suggestions about finding gratitude in every day, ties into feeling fulfilled in your life. You cannot control every situation, but you can control your reaction. You can take the baby steps to work towards your goals. You can create a vision board with the things that will truly fulfill you. And, you can find happiness at each step. Understand that your journey is (1) yours and (2) a journey. Take pride in the fact that you are on a journey and keep going.

Have you read anything truly inspiring lately? Do you have a way to practice gratitude? Do you feel fulfilled most or every day?

Book Reviews (Part 2)

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (Pre-Ordered on Amazon)

Rating: 4.5 stars

Mood: Love, Perseverance

Would Recommend?: Definitely yes

Wine Pairing: Skip the wine and go straight for the bourbon

Summary: Lale voluntarily travels to Birkenau with the promise that it will save the rest of his family. He arrives and quickly contracts typhus, but thanks to the watchful eye of Pepan, the Tatowierer (German for tattooist) Lale becomes his apprentice.

Although Lale loves all women, he tattoos a woman whom capitvates him immediately. This woman is named Gita, or prisoner 34902. It is with their love that Lale and Gita fight through the terrible conditions of Auschwitz-Birkenau. In addition to the love they have for one another, Lale also has the unique ability of being (1) very valuable as the Tatowierer and (2) very valuable as multilingual. He uses his smarts to help him survive day after day.

What I Loved This was based on a true story, and yet it was such a light read considering. Lale is such a brilliant man, and he knows how to use people in ways that ensure he survives. He also looks out for the best interests of Gita and tries to keep her safe as well. Although Gita is far more guarded than Lale, I feel like they are a perfect compliment of a couple. Also, for once I didn’t look into the spoilers to see how this book ended, so I was legitimately surprised as events were unfolding.

What I Disliked As weird as it may sound, I didn’t like how light of a read this was. I totally powered through the book and the most difficult parts were those that mentioned Mengele. It was absolutely shocking to me that a story that takes place entirely in Auschwitz-Birkenau would be so light hearted. Don’t get me wrong, there were some very real things speckled in, but it was very minimal in comparison to other books.

Who Should Read It I think this is a great story for anybody. I would recommend it more heavily towards those who have read a few WWII era novels in their day. I found that the knowledge I had floating around in the back of my head popped up when I needed it, and I think that was good. As I mentioned, it was a very light hearted version of events, and as such having an understanding of the references was helpful.

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Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth (Audible Audio)

Rating: 4 stars

Mood: Motivational

Would Recommend?: Yes

Wine Pairing: Water, definitely drink water

Summary: Most people prefer the ability of somebody to work hard despite fighting the odds over innate intelligence or talent. It is great if you have both, but it is not necessary.

What I Loved As a PhD student who had to fight to get to graduate school, this book speaks to me on a deep level. I have always thought that being able to work hard is a skill, but let me tell you, the amount of times people tell you that is very minimal. So, hearing the perspective based on someone’s career and actual research was wonderful. Additionally, this book is read by the author, which means that all of the tones and feelings are still true in the audiobook as the author intended. Always a plus.

What I Disliked It’s non-fiction, and it’s about as boring as your average non-fiction. I enjoy listening to non-fiction books, particularly those that make me a better person. I started this book on a morning that I had a long to-do list head of me and I really needed it. It was legitimately wonderful to have, but every time I stopped listening (except when I was in the car) was because I realized that I zoned out.

Who Should Read It Okay, I’m going to be perfectly honest here. My husband loved Outliers and I hated it. I loved Grit and my husband will hate it. What I’m trying to say is, as much as I wish this was a book for everybody, it definitely is not.

You 2.0 Reflection (50% Done with Book)

“You’re more likely to feel passionate about something after you get good at it.”

Okay, so why has nobody said this before? So true! Oh my gosh, okay, let me rewind a bit for you.

Back to the present now. So I’m reading this book on the bus on my way into work. I am coming in an hour later than usual because I woke up, worked out, started a load of laundry, showered, and did everything else I normally do in the morning. And then I read this and I just wanted to stand up and “YESSS!” right there. Each chapter of the book has exercises to help you kill the old you and develop the new you. When I was reading about killing the old you, I sat down, thought for about five minutes, and realized that I really didn’t need to kill any part of Brittany because it had already been done. However, now that I am on the reinventing part, I am realizing that I can still change. I can still improve myself, and every time I remind myself of this, I get really excited.

Here is my list of things that I am good at (in order that I thought about them):

  1. Research- designing experiments, carrying them out, and writing them up
  2. Writing- both scientific and leisure
  3. Running- I am not the fastest nor the strongest, but I am stronger than yesterday
  4. Working out at home- I keep my appointments with myself because I made a commitment
  5. Knitting- I am not the fastest nor the best, but I am mostly self taught and know many skills

Are you ready for what I’m about to say next? Every item on this list took practice. I was terrible at research when I was a sophomore in college, but now that I have five years under my belt, it seems pretty easy. I am writing right now (duh), I enjoy doing it, and I know that the more I do it, the better I will get. When I don’t run, I feel lost. When I do run, I feel strong. I feel accomplished. I think reaching new goals in running brings me the most joy. Working out at home has been bringing a lot of sweat into my day lately. I am doing cardio every single day of the week right now, and I have never felt better. I try to knit every day. I try to learn new things when I knit. I use new yarns, and I learn new stitches, and I make my own patterns, and in doing so, I am building on my skills and improving my talents. Plus, it’s relaxing (mostly).

Here is my list of things that I am passionate about (in order of importance to me, right now):

  1. Working out
  2. Knitting
  3. Research
  4. Running
  5. Writing

Yes, you read that correctly, writing is last, and working out is first. Why? Because I think that I have learned to find my own voice with my workouts. I follow the calendar, I follow the schedule, I do the workouts according to the trainers, but I put my own spin on it. I have fun with it. I reach out to other people and try to help them with their goals. I work hard to be successful. Knitting is a logical second because I just opened my (still empty) shop on Etsy. But I also have yarn coming in the mail, several patterns for my first products, and I am very excited because I knit to relax, and I learn new techniques to keep myself from getting bored. I have decided to take my hobby to the next level, same with working out, but it feel different. The other three are kind of necessary to me right now, I get paid to do research. I paid to run in a marathon. I have to write to advance in my career, and blogging reaches a lot of people in a lot of ways, which is incredible.

In conclusion, these words are the best thing I have read in a while. I am excited because the exercise I couldn’t do on the bus was walking through the scientific method, and if you were paying attention, you would know that that’s my jam. I am feeling energized because I know what my strengths are, and I know how to build on them, all that’s left is taking the leap and doing it. It sounds so simple, but it rarely is.

If you want to know more about the books I read for personal development connect with me on Goodreads, use the comments on this post, or the shoot me an email to get in touch with me. Happy reading, readers!