As John P Strelecky and Tim Brownson’s How to be Rich and Happy hits the e-shelves this week, I’m curious to see if the book delivers on the promise of its bold headline title.
Leaping into it, I quickly discover that, if a personal development book is a journey, this one’s more a round the world ticket than a domestic flight. Which is to say that it’s ambitious, covering as it does some significant ground. Some of the territory immediately leaps out at me:
- Identifying your values and beliefs
- Developing a positive outlook on life
- Figuring your big five “must do’s” for life
- Unearthing your attitudes to money
- Using the power of your mind to get what you want, and
- Learning to quit things that get in the way of your achieving your Rich and Happy life
Just as well I’ve packed a toothbrush!
“if a personal development book is a journey, this one’s more a round the world ticket than a domestic flight”
One of the things I enjoy immediately is the book’s engaging style. I am uplifted by its colours and its beautiful production. I realise after a few pages that I’ve come to it expecting to be taught to or preached at, but I like that there’s no guru stuff here; no didacticism or evangelism. Instead there’s a down to earth quality that makes me feel I’m having a conversation with an old and trusted friend. That reassures me that I’m okay and that what I dream of is possible.
But I can’t help asking, “where’s the magic?”
As a reviewer, I’ve begun reading with a critical eye having decided that, in the interests of speed and efficiency, I’ll skip the exercises and breeze on through. After all, I tell myself, I’m a coach; I’ve done this kind of stuff many times before.
A couple of days into reading, however, a personal challenge to my own Rich and Happy life arises. A lucrative and prestigious piece of corporate consulting work crosses my desk. It pays well and I’m incredibly flattered, but it demands I be away from home and on-site for 5 days a week – something I haven’t done for several years. Can I say “yes” to the work and maintain my ambitions for developing the kind of location independent business I’ve set my sights on? Can I do it and continue to be a voice for working in life-loving ways?
I’ve said no to such prospects before: what’s upsetting me about this one?
“this is less a book and more a process for unleashing real change in your life”
That’s when I wonder how it might be if I follow How to be Rich and Happy as a reader and not a critic. There’s a brilliant exercise in the book about values that I now turn back to. Far from recapping work I’ve done before it’s an eye-opener, as values I’ve conveniently forgotten about get into my top eight: creativity; authenticity, beauty, integrity, love…
I write a plan of what my week looks like when I allow myself to live from my values. On top of this blueprint, I overlay how my week might look if I do the consulting work. It becomes a complete no-brainer that I have to say no to the project.
And suddenly not only is that clear, but the book has taken on another dimension for me. I forget for now being a reviewer, and put my heart into each of the exercises that follow. Later in the book I come to understand that the attractive consulting job offer has been a test to see whether I’ve really learned some recent lessons or not.
I finish the book feeling that I’ve done a week’s retreat.
I’m feeling clear, inspired, confident. I have not just the pictures of where the book has taken me, but a solid vision of where I’m heading next and the outlook to do it.
Because I get so much from the book, I wish that some of the exercises have more structure. I’ve printed off the ones that had little forms to complete and am carrying them around in a notebook that has become a sort of Travel Journal as I’ve ventured through the chapters. Maybe the guys will consider following up with a workbook? I’ll then look forward to doing the whole thing all over again!
Also, I know the book has been criticised for its price. $97 is a lot of money. But in truth, as I’ve understood from the start, this is less a book and more a process for unleashing real change in your life. So I really get why the authors place this value on their work. Forking out means you’ve already committed to invest in yourself and make it work for you. As I discovered, add this ingredient, and the alchemy comes into its own.
Note: After this post was written, Tim and John decided to reduce the price of their book from $97 to $47.