I’ve never really been great with understanding how I feel and then expressing it in words. So often I hear or read something and get goosebumps because it’s exactly how I feel; I just never realized it or knew how to explain it. Does that make sense? I think this is why certain books, songs, or movie / TV quotes have such a profound effect on me. In a weird way, they help me understand myself. I think this is also why I’m a self-help book junkie.

Anyway, this past week was the pits. I blame it on the winter weather, but who knows. I was really craving a Starbucks so I made the split-second decision to jump in my car and drive 1.5 hours to get my favorite White Chocolate Mocha. Yes, I live that far from Starbucks. (I figured I could run a few other errands along the way.) Honestly, I think I just needed an excuse to get out of the house. I also decided to listen to an audio book along the way: Oprah Winfrey’s What I Know for Sure.

It might not come as a surprise to you, but I absolutely fell in love with this book. This is not going to be a review, but I will tell you that the book details the many things Oprah’s come to know for sure in life – her own private revelations about life. For example: “If you make time for a little gratitude every day, you’ll be amazed by the results.” “You have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself.” “Having the best things is no substitute for having the best life.”

It’s a feel-good and inspiring book that reminded me how amazing life is and how blessed we are to be alive. At the end of the first chapter, Oprah challenged me (and the millions of others reading this book) to ask myself what I know for sure. She explained that doing this would help me find myself. As you know from the goals I shared earlier this year, finding and loving myself is the crux of what I’m trying to do.

I actually attempted to come up with a list of things I know for sure, but I felt like a phony when I began to write them down. Granted, after reading a lot of self-help books, there are oodles of things I know for sure; I’m just not the best at practicing them. So, is it fair for me to dispense advice on things that I’m not great at doing myself? I honestly don’t know. Though that’s not going to stop me.

What I do know for sure is that practice makes perfect. Life is scary. Fear of failure and rejection is real. It certainly prevents me from doing so much. I’ve found that the first step is often the hardest. If you can get past that, the rest is a piece of cake, relatively speaking. The more you do the thing you’re afraid of, the better you’re going to get at it. Time is going to pass anyway, so you might as well spend it trying rather than worrying. Worst case scenario, you realize whatever it was, wasn’t for you. It wasn’t your dream so you stop. If you fail (and sometimes you will), pick yourself up and realize that you’re still standing. Best case scenario, you get better everyday. You tried. You win. You gain a new skill. Do it for yourself, and be yourself while doing it, and you’ll be unstoppable. This I know for sure.

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Comments

  • liz n. at

    A few of the few things I know for absolutely sure:

    –You cannot control what anyone else does, says, thinks, or feels, and trying to do so is a waste of time…and is also controlling and selfish.

    –Say what you mean and mean what you say. Analogies, metaphors, and wordplay are great in fiction, but are cowardly covers in real life.

    –Putting on a smile does help you get through the day.

    –Yoga helps you think more clearly.

    –You should learn to do the thing you’ve always wanted to do, even if you end up doing it badly.

    –Being the person who creates bad memories for others is not who you want to be. Create good memories or keep in the background, but do not leave others with bad memories!

    –It is perfectly fine, normal, acceptable, and healthy to remove yourself from people, places, and things that go against your grain.

    –Puns are awesome!

  • Poppy at

    Thank you for this heartfelt post, Michael. It touched my heart, as did your one at New Year’s. I, too, love self-help books. Some I read over and over. I’m looking forward to trying Oprah’s.

    What I know, as does everyone who’s a devotee to your blog, is that you are a warm, inspired, creative, talented, welcoming, big-hearted person and we admire you for those things.

    You rock!

    Hugs and well-wishes,
    Poppy

  • Bryony at

    You give me goosebumps!! You always seem to nail how I’m feeling, Keep doing what your doing – your awesome!!

    XXXX

  • Stacy at

    Wow! I know exactly what you mean. You make total sense! So often it is someone else’s words that express exactly what I’m feeling, thinking, wanting to say. Your post did that for me. So beautifully written. Thank you for sharing that today. I feel validated and great.
    Have a happy day!

  • Summer at

    Beautiful post! I love your candor and honesty. You and your blog/business are a huge inspiration to me. Keep up the amazing work!

  • sandy at

    Michael,

    Your words are beautifully spoken and resonate with many, including myself. Your personal list of “what I know for sure” is my unwritten list as well… verbatim…
    kind of scary to put it out there… exposing the vulnerable you takes courage.. and from that courage comes strength. I admire the honesty of your site…(not to mention total envy of your creative spirit).
    Thanks for sharing parts of your life… Now come to Atlanta and re-do my bedroom and bath!!! 🙂

  • Vanessa at

    Michael,

    As others have said…love this post. I am also a self-help junkie! I believe that there are people in this world that “feel” more than others-and sometimes can’t express this in words. I think you are like this-as am I; although I don’t know you. You are amazing, and part of what you are doing is opening yourself up to the world-even if you say you don’t have the words, you do; you just needed a little push to begin to write it down. Anytime you express yourself, the universe loves it! So keep it up-great things are sure to come to you.

    And I agree with you, winter is “icky” and I dislike it; I live in Minnesota. But as I get older, I say more positive things-like “what a beautiful sky” or “I am so lucky to enjoy this day!” It does make the winter blues seem more bearable-and a little extra vitamin D doesn’t hurt either, but that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with it.

    Hooray for you Michael-keep up the posts like this, they are good for the soul.

  • Elle at

    Your candor is encouragement to all of us. Thank you!!

  • Kelly O. at

    I know for sure that I love to read your blog!

  • Bonnie at

    Michael, this winter has been particularly hard on all of us. My snowbanks are taller than me (5’3″). I’ve read/listened to the self-help books and finally it all clicked. Grateful. Simply grateful. I will never have a vacation home, or a home that looks like one in the magazines. But, I do have successful grown children, 3 beautiful grandchildren, etc. Reminding myself makes the world all okay.

    But do start a list – keep it on your computer and add just one thing NOW. The list will grow.

    I am a much nicer person on the days that I go to the gym to exercise. Break that down as to ‘why?’. I get out of the house regardless of the weather, often the same people are in class and they welcome me, I make new gym friends, my 67 year old body moves well. Knowing the ‘why’ helps you to begin to see another thing that you are grateful for….and on and on.

    Peace of acceptance.

  • Miriam at

    LOVE This! Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Mozelle Martin at

    Happened upon your blog; love the thought-provoking read. I grew up in an 1800’s hotel that my parents owned so I understand “the life” and “the lessons” from that experience. I won’t ramble here because I wrote about it in my book “Shattered to Shining”. Anyway, I look forward to more.

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