Do you like funny autobiographies that make you laugh and feel less alone? How bout a sprinkling of self-help, geared toward becoming a happier, more successful person? You'll probably like 10% Happier by Dan Harris.
I got this on audiobook through my local library. Pro tip: If you have a library card, you can just download the Hoopla app on your phone and gain access to tons of awesome audiobooks. The title of this one alone compelled me to give it a listen.
Here's the quick who, what, why on one of my latest favorite reads.
Who & What is 10% Happier Is About:
- Dan Harris is a newscaster on ABC who suffered from a full blown panic attack on live TV. Woof.
- In this autobiography, he details what happened leading up to this incident (egotism, drugs, alcohol, etc.) and then how he recovered.
- It's a very dry, humorous journey through mindfulness and meditation, explained in super simple terms and in a very relatable, self-deprecating voice.
Why You Should Read 10% Happier:
- If you identify as a very normal person who is highly skeptical about the idea of mindfulness, this is a great place to get a lot of your initial questions out of the way.
- Dan gets super vulnerable and real with his struggles, both up until he adopted mindfulness and while he was trying to make it work in his everyday life. Great read for working professionals.
- It's also a New York Times Bestseller, so that doesn't hurt.
Useful Stuff I Learned from 10% Happier:
- Ask yourself: Is this thought useful to me? If not, can I let it go?
- Adopt the RAIN technique for mindfully addressing your thoughts or emotions:
- Recognize: Oh, I'm feeling this way!
- Allow: Awh, it's okay to feel like that.
- Investigate: Hm, I wonder why I'm feeling this way.
- Non-attachment: Good thing this feeling a) will pass & b) doesn't define me.
- Buddhism is just advanced common sense, not some foo-foo Eastern religion nonsense.
- Everything changes. Nothing fully satisfies. Learn it quick & learn it good.
Dan's "10 Buddhist Principles for the Corporate Warrior"
- Don’t be a jerk: Compassion is a virtuous cycle and wins you allies.
- When necessary, hide the Zen: Sometimes you need to compete aggressively or assert yourself at work.
- Meditate: It's the superpower that makes all the other principles possible.
- The price of security is insecurity, until it’s not useful: Figure out when worrying is worthwhile & when its not. For instance, hunger & perfectionism can be powerful when harnessed. Remember to think: Is this thought useful to me? Then weaponize each thought to perform an action.
- Calm is not the enemy of creativity: You can definitely be calm and creative at the same time. Revolutionary!
- Don’t force it: Listen to your body, listen to your heart. If meditation is not going to help you today, you don't HAVE to do it. With mindfulness, you never have to berate yourself for doing or not doing anything.
- Humility prevents humiliation: Humility sands the ego off of the comparing mind.
- Go easy with the internal cattle prod: Self talk is more effective when firm, but kind. "Firm, but kind" might be my personal life motto these days.
- Non-attachment to results: Another way to say, "It's about the journey, not the destination." Do things you enjoy doing for the sake of them, rather than for the potential results they could bring. Super salient in terms of fitness -- find something you enjoy practicing (like yoga or walking), so that it doesn't matter whether or not you see results in your body.
- Ask, “What matters most?” Is it success for suffering? Or being kind & doing something awesome?