Over the last few years, I’ve read quite a few self-improvement and self-reflection books. I’ve taken extensive notes on lots of these and decided to make a small summary blog post about the most valuable things I’ve read in a few of those books.

The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

In this book, I learned about looking for “trends” or “patterns” in my life and personality to help me better understand things that I am good at or am drawn to doing, in relation to work. If I see something come up often in my life, such as enjoying working with people, then I can seek or build a career with that in mind.

For example, I’ve always been drawn to how the brain works and how individuals can make changes to their brains structure thanks to neuro-plasticity. My interest in how the brain works helps me to better understand how to encourage people since we always are capable of more than we think, and our brains allow us to make those improvements even on a neurological level. 


Quote from the book: “Have you always been drawn to technical work, or big ideas, or the more artistic side of things? What about the kind of topics that set you on fire?”

The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

Jeff Goins also taught about how to look for “pivot points.” Every person has moments in their life where they can make a slight “pivot” or change in direction that can make a big long-term impact. We all have to learn to identify those moments before we can take action on them.


Quote from the book: “…mark your greatest moments of failure [in life]. When did you try something and it didn’t work? Were you rejected by someone or fired from a job? What did you do afterward? Identify the times when you faced an obstacle that forced you in a different direction. What did that tell you about yourself? Now make a list of upcoming pivot points, changes you need to make ….” [in life to grow towards your overall goals in the next 5, 10 or 15 years.]

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

In one chapter of this book, I reviewed how I feel about the idea of “work” and “life” and then reviewed how those two views contrast against each other. The book provides multiple, very helpful, prompts and here is a compressed version of how I answered the prompts back in 2017:

“Why should we work, what is work for and what does work mean?”

The fulfillment that comes from work (from a job or projects) helps me become a better human being, a better believer, a better friend. I believe that when we work, it forms who we are in our lives. To work is to use mental, physical, spiritual and/or emotional energy into something that will further grow others, ourselves, or our community. Good work is something that makes you smile with pride at the end of the day, knowing you have helped resolve an issue in the world. No mater how small or big.

“What do ‘experience’, ‘growth’, and ‘fulfillment’ have to do with work?”

Your work should effect yourself and others positively, and one of the main purposes of work is to find a solution to a problem for others. The other main purpose is to grow as an individual, and I believe we should always be building life experience, and grow as individuals which results in fulfillment. When you spend hours working, it should be work that help build you up, learn and grow.

“What is the meaning or purpose of life?”

We are here as God created us to be his children. We are to live a life according to the words of God, he calls us to a certain standard. We should strive to be like Jesus, to love all and show this in all that we do.

“What is the relationship between the individual and others (family, country, the rest of the world)?”

Everyone effects everyone else, so the individual is just as important as the ‘others’. All of our day to day encounters should be guided by the love that Jesus and God have shown us. If we focus on this then the relationship between individuals and others becomes a matter of building each other up and ultimately (hopefully) bringing others to know the love of Christ though your example.

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