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book review: lessons from a self-help junkie


self help stop waiting(  )

When I was given a copy of Waiting for Jack: Confessions of a Self-Help Junkie, a book about one woman's search for herself through self-help, I was very intrigued. Being the author of Positively Present has led me to more than one self-help book and, like the author of Waiting for Jack, I do often find myself looking for answers in these books, thinking that each page will be the one to hold the magical answer to all of the questions about life that are constantly plaguing me. Through all of the reading and wondering, I've always been conscious of the fact that waiting for some answer is pretty much the opposite of living in the present moment, something I'm constantly striving to do. Waiting, for me, has always been a problem. Like so many people, I have tended to think in terms of someday. I've spent a great deal of time waiting for something to happen and, for that reason, over the past few years I've been striving to live a more present life. Waiting, I discovered, didn't do much for me.


What did, however, do something for me, was the book Waiting for Jack. I know, it seems predictably ironic to find some of the answers I've been waiting for in a book about not waiting for answers, but that's exactly what happened when I cracked open the maroon spine of Kristen Moeller's book. Her book -- filled with profound quotes, noteworthy insights, and thought-provoking questions -- grabbed my attention from the very first page. She talks both about her personal experiences (many of which I, unfortunately, could relate to) as well as the big picture. She draws you in with details and examples, but leaves you at the end of each section with questions to consider and important words of wisdom.

The book is divided into three parts. In Part 1 (Body), Moeller shares her experience of how she became a seeker (always looking for answers outside of herself) rather than a finder and she talks about how our decisions form -- and sometimes limit -- who we become in life. Part 2 (Mind), covers the areas in life where one might be waiting (such as career, love, etc.) and offers readers a chance to understand and uncover the patterns of waiting in his/her own life. And, finally, in Part 3 (Spirit), Moeller takes a deeper look at why we are the way we are and invites her readers to find a way to become, within their own lives, "a fierce disruption to the ordinary."

As you can probably gather from those brief descriptions of this three-part book, Moeller has a lot of wisdom to share with her readers, which she gathers both from her own personal experience as well as from experiences of others. In each section, readers can find not only Moeller's words, but small break-out sections in which others share their experiences with waiting and how they've overcome hoping for someday in favor of living for today. These stories add depth and interest to each section and provide readers with the notion that Moeller's waiting-for-jack experience is not unique; it is something so many experience and, importantly, it is something many can overcome. (For more on overcoming waiting, check out Moeller's blog Self-Help Junkie.)Though I loved reading about a variety of experiences, it was Moeller's own words that impacted me the most. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:


"We might think that [self help books] contain 'the answer,' yet those books will not change us. Only we can take the action that will create the transformation we seek." 


"Most of us say we know we are responsible for our satisfaction, but deep down we still wait for that someone to appear who will make us happy." 


"[The term 'geographical cure'] refers to the illusion that life will be better when we get somewhere else... We wait to be in the 'right' place. We wait for that place to magically change what is wrong in our lives. What we forget is that we take ourselves and all of our baggage with us wherever we go."

"Drama makes us feel passionate and alive. For someone of us, life can seem dull without it. Drama is part of the full range of human experience. Yet when we take it to extremes, it becomes another way we live to wait." 


"I tell myself that if only I could get it right, my life would be great, and I would be completely happy. This is another way we wait -- we make the insignificant significant, and that stalls us from growing, moving forward." 


"Living in hope is not living in the moment -- it is the ultimate in waiting. To give up hope and be willing to be in the unknown requires courage. It is the beginning of breaking free." 


"True freedom begins with letting go of certainty. Once we know, we lose our ability to perceive what is. To challenge all we think we know -- including our ideas about ourselves and others -- allows something new to emerge. When we learn we are more than our thoughts, feelings, opinions, and circumstances, a new world can arise." 


"Every day we can start fresh. We can let go of our past concerns and our future expectations. Every moment we can choose our experience." 



From Moeller's words, I learned a great deal about waiting and why, after years and years of doing so, I was right to embrace the "live in the moment" attitude that I strive to have every day. I can't deny that it's hard to live in the moment and stop waiting. Sometimes waiting is inevitable and it is, at times, out of our control. But there can be positive benefits to waiting. We can learn from waiting that we must have patience. We can also learn that we might not really need what it is we are waiting for. When we stop waiting, we stop living. If you find that you're waiting (for anything at all!), I'd highly recommend reading Waiting for Jack. It's a quick read that not only provides valuable insights but also prompts you, the reader, to think about how waiting impacts your body, mind, and spirit.


Are you waiting for "someday"?
What do you find yourself waiting for? Why?
And if you're not waiting, what advice can you give
those who spend their lives waiting?

words to live by: be happy now

be happy now( )


“You can be happy tomorrow.
 You can be happy when you get through your list of things to do.
 You can be happy when you meet the one.
 You can be happy when you get the right job.
 You can be happy when you get that raise.
 You can be happy when you stop buying the things you need
 and start buying the things you want.

 You can be happy when you retire.
 You can be happy when the weather suits you.
 You can be happy on a plane. You can be happy in the rain. 
 Or you can stop reading this, take a deep breath,
 and be happy right now.”




"Words To Live By" is a segment on Positively Present that features my favorite quote or lyrics from the week. Every Sunday I post a quote or lyrics that have inspired me with the hope that they'll inspire you too. Comments will be closed on these posts, but feel free to tweet the post if you enjoy it or contact me via Twitter. The quote above was referenced on Tumblr by: fuckyeahbrokenhearts, uncoolchristine, and poeticheartache.

guest post: what REALLY is positively thinking?

positive thinking( )

The following post was written by Faizal Nisar, author and creator of, a website that strives to (and does!) elevate the mind. If you have the time, I'd highly recommend checking out "How a Balanced Life Brings More Success," one of my favorite posts on Faizal's site. 


If you’ve been exposed to self improvement for a while now, chances are you’ve heard the term positive thinking used many times. You probably also seen people who praise positive thinking while others criticize it as “being unrealistic." Why is there such conflict over this topic? I believe it’s because positive thinking is such a vast subject that it’s frequently misunderstood. The most common definition of positive thinking I’ve seen is simply “think positive." While that may be somewhat accurate, it simply doesn’t define the subject in its entirety. 

Positive thinking is a style of thinking. To take full advantage of it, you must completely replace your current style of thinking. I think that’s where the most confusion comes in. Positive thinking is usually seen as something “to do” instead of being seen as an absolute state of mind. People say “think positive” as something to do without realizing that in order to think positive, you first have to lay down the foundation. That’s why positive thinking gets deemed as an “unrealistic” approach to life.

How old are you right now? Your age is how many years you’ve been thinking the way you do. You’re accustomed to it and have become an expert at it. Now imagine working at one job for that many years. You know exactly what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. Then one day, someone says we’re completely changing how everything is done and the change starts now. How difficult would it be to adapt to this change? Extremely difficult, right? You’ll find yourself continuously going back to your old ways. You’ll have to slowly grow into developing new habits. That’s exactly how positive thinking works. Advice such as “think positive” or “look on the bright side” just isn’t enough. You need to lay the ground work and slowly shift your style of thinking. How exactly can you lay down the groundwork for positive thinking?

How to Lay the Groundwork for Positive Thinking

  1. Accept your current way of thinking and make a conscious decision to shift it to positive thinking. You making this shift will bring you more enjoyment and less stress from life. You’ll experience more productivity, pleasure, and freedom from your thoughts. You’ll focus on finding solutions rather than concentrating on problems. Solutions bring peace to the mind while problems bring worry. To become a positive person, you realize you must condition your mind first. 
  2. Start building your foundation through continuous training. Here’s a great exercise to get you started. List everything in your life that you are not content with. Then go back over your list and write three things positive for each negative thing in your life. For example: I hate the car I have. 3 positive things: It takes me front point A to point B, it’s a gas saver, and a simple oil change is all it needs to keep running. Try to keep yourself from completing this entire exercise in just one day. Take your time with it. Chances are if you do everything at once, the great deal of information will slip your mind. Doing it once a day will help you grasp the information and retain it longer. Repetition is the best way to teach yourself.
  3. Immerse yourself in positivity. You see, your current style of thinking is shaped by the two E’s: your Experiences and your Environment. To shift your thinking, you have to alter both. To build positive experiences, you need to read, see, hear, and feel positive things. is a great source for this. In order to change your environment, start making friends that are positive instead of ones that are lazy, complainers, or even depressed. We subconsciously pick things up from people around us, so you want to make sure you are picking up on positive things.
  4. The last step is to actually feel positive. There’s a direct relation to the thoughts in your mind and how you feel emotionally. Once you feel positive and content, you are well on your way to mastering positive thinking. You will be tested at times by facing situations where there seems to be no hope. Don’t get pulled too deep into this. Be conscious and say to yourself, “It always can be worse.”


Faizal Nisar, who inspires others from his own inspiration, writes at on the subject of self improvement. His free book, The Instant Success Guide, can be found on and will change how you approach success.