Saturday, July 29, 2017

Take the Leap by Heather McCloskey Beck

According to Heather McCloskey Beck, you were meant for a unique life of creativity and meaning. Many of us are pushed away from that life for various reasons and become disappointed and dissatisfied. In her book Take the Leap, Beck describes a path for reconnecting to your calling.

The first and last parts of the book are pretty woo-woo (to borrow a term from Jen Sincero). I admit I mostly skimmed these sections and I think other readers can without missing much of the meat of the book. The middle section contains advice and practices for getting back in touch with your calling, the creative meaningful life you’re meant to enjoy.

The key practice is to set aside 15 minutes a day to do something you enjoy—make no exceptions.  Beck suggests some exercises you can do to get some ideas if you feel at a loss for what this might be. I suspect that your first guess doesn’t have to be perfect. Just do it 15 minutes a day for a month, taking time to reflect on it as Beck suggests, and you’ll learn things that help you get closer on the next round.

The book contains several other practices to support your new path. Beck recommends using affirmations to counteract the negative messages you’ve picked up and open yourself to the possibility of a deeply meaningful life. Her book includes several suggestions for meditation. Many of us have too much stuff and do too many things;  we need to reduce the clutter, say no, and set boundaries in our relationships. Good health is important, too.

I was surprised to find that I’m already using some of Beck’s suggestions. I’ve read many self-help books, so I should have learned something.

One of the suggestions I’m just starting to practicing is the intentional reflection on the connection between how I feel and what I do. This also includes reflecting on how I feel when I don’t do things. This is a method for discovering your calling because when you do things associated with your calling it will tend to produce feelings of flow, peace, excitement and passion. When you’re not doing things you love, you miss them. (This type of reflection reminds me of the metacognition discussed by Ulrich Boser in Learn Better, which is important for learning.)

Beck, Heather McCloskey. Take the Leap: Do What You Love 15 Minutes a Day and Create the Life of Your Dreams. San Francisco: Conari Press, 2013.