“What was I thinking? I’ll never be able to do this.”
We have all had thoughts like the one above pollute our minds before. When the road gets tough, it’s tempting to want to lie down and quit.
Feelings of discouragement and hopelessness, especially when we’re trying to reach a certain goal we have promised ourselves we will achieve, are common. It is normal to have moments when you start to doubt yourself and find it hard to believe you will ever be able to accomplish what you have always hoped you could.
The more we allow negative thoughts to cloud our confidence, the harder it becomes to live positive, fulfilling lives.
While there are plenty of ways to turn your negative thinking around, reading essays and stories by successful people, and those who believe everyone is capable of their own degrees of success, is an effective way to start turning those negative thoughts into positive ones.
This mix of fiction, nonfiction and memoir will give you the tools and mindset necessary to make the most of the past, live in the moment and think positively about the future.
1. The Dash by Linda Ellis and Mac Anderson
Inspiration often comes from words that speak the simple truth.
A short poem becomes 100 pages of inspiration and hope in this quick read published by Simple Truths in 2006. “The Dash,” written by Linda Ellis, is an inspirational reminder that what is more important than the number of years we lived is what we did between them.
Along with the inspiration poem, this book includes advice from Simple Truths founder Mac Anderson on how to make a difference in our lives, or the best way to spend the years we are a part of the world.
2. Audition: A Memoir by Barbara Walters
Have you ever wondered how the widely recognized, successful people of this world got to where they are?
Not all of them had an easy, instantaneous climb to the top. Not even Barbara Walters, the “most important woman in this history of television.”
In her memoir, Walters takes readers on a journey through the years it took her to find real success in New York City and beyond. The failures, the triumphs and everything in-between remind even the most doubtful aspiring professionals that with time, skills and perseverance, anything can be achieved.
3. How Will You Measure Your Life by Clayton M. Christensen
Life should be measured not based on how much we managed to accomplish in a lifetime, but how much fulfillment those accomplishments produced.
Clayton M. Christensen argues that no matter who you are or what stage of life you stand in, you are capable of paving the way for your own personal fulfillment. You are never too old, too young or too minor of a character to find happiness in the things you do for others and yourself.
Like many of the books on this list, the pages of “How Will You Measure Your Life” are filled with inspiring messages that will instill within you the motivation to keep going you may have thought you’d lost.
4. Do the Work by Steven Pressfield
If you have a goal, but aren’t sure how to begin—or you’ve started, but aren’t quite sure how to motivate yourself to follow through and finish—Steven Pressfield’s “Do the Work” is an ideal place to start.
It’s a misconception that a good idea alone will make us successful. This bestselling author points out that a good idea isn’t enough; you actually have to sit down and do the work to make that idea come to life.
Pressfield says what many of us aren’t willing to admit: we’re often the ones getting in the way of achieving our dreams. His book promises to help readers finish what they start and turn that finished product into something great.
5. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
One person’s words really can change the way you see the world.
With one last chance to leave his mark upon the world, professor Randy Pausch didn’t focus solely on himself. He didn’t spend the time dwelling on things he had or hadn’t done. He didn’t find himself standing in a dark puddle of regrets, forgotten ambitions and empty promises.
Instead he writes of overcoming life’s great obstacles, helping others achieve their biggest dreams and making the most of every moment of life you had. Staring straight into the face of death, his last lecture speaks not of what will happen when the end draws near, but what readers can still do with what remains of their lives.
6. You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
It’s nearly impossible to think positive when you feel like your life is in pieces.
That is why Louise Hay wrote “You Can Heal Your Life.” To inspire readers all over the globe to trust themselves; to pay attention to their thoughts and emotions; to believe they have the power to turn their own lives around by giving to the world what they wish to receive from it.
Drawing from her own personal experiences with grief and healing, Hay shows her readers that the right attitude and mindset can heal even the deepest emotional wounds.
When we have big dreams, the paths we must take and the roadblocks we must maneuver to reach them sometimes seem much too big for one small person. Sometimes we don’t always know where to start, or where to go, or who to turn to for advice.
Books like these, written by people who have been where you are and understand your dilemmas, will help you stay positive no matter what’s keeping you from reaching the finish line.
Negative thoughts may be common, and they may be normal, but they don’t have to stick around for long.
Read through these works. Jot down meaningful quotes on sticky notes and put them in places you will see them often. Hold close to you the words others who have come before you have provided. They will guide you the whole way to where you hope to be.