The Thrilling Challenge Of Surrounding Yourself With Positivity

This Week’s BIG Idea

What if you only surround yourself with the things you love? I’ve been thinking about surrounding myself with positivity for the past few days. A lot of the things I decide to keep around are mediocre at best. Just yesterday, I found a bunch of books I couldn’t care less about and I wonder why I decide the keep them even though I knew I wasn’t going to read them. So what if, from now on, I decided to only keep the things that bring me joy? This is a recurring message in books about minimalism. I read a lot of books on the topic (reading several books on minimalism is ironic) and I should use everything I learned and put those principles into practice. What if I decided to start a new life? Which things would I take on that journey?

What I’m Working on

Something I’m still struggling with is finding the kind of books I love. This stems from the introductory paragraph where I brought up the idea of surrounding yourself with positivity. Books have had the biggest impact on my life in the past few years, so talk about positivity! With that in mind, I created some rules for reading books. Here they are:

  • I read to learn: unless a book is teaching me something, I don’t read it. I make exceptions, such as when I read fiction, but those are few and far between.
  • Write chapter-by-chapter summaries of the most practical non-fiction books: not every book I read, I summarize. Some books don’t lend themselves well to summaries, but I still want to learn their principles. My favorite books though are those I can condense into chapter-by-chapter summaries I can share on the site
  • Explore the topics that will make the most impact: whenever I organize the books I want to read (here’s a detailed guide), I do so with this idea in mind. Examples of some of the topics I often explore through books include stoicism, health, personal finance, time management, productivity systems, and relationships.
  • The order in which you read books matters: after reading almost all of Ryan Holiday’s books, I tried reading The Beginner’s Guide to Stoicism and I realized that I knew almost everything in the book. Then I tried reading How to Be a Stoic but stopped after a few chapters. Again, I knew everything the book had to offer. Had I read that book before, I would have loved it, but since I read it in the incorrect order, it had nothing to offer me.

What I’m Listening to

I listened to this episode of Deep Dive as soon as it showed up on my podcast feed. In the episode, Ali interviews Ryder Carroll, the inventor of the bullet journal, as well as the author of The Bullet Journal Method. I’ve been using a bullet journal for months now and I absolutely love this productivity system because it’s all about being intentional. The Bullet Journal Method details the process of starting your own bullet journal and you can find a summary of it here if you’re interested. As a side note, podcasts like these are examples of surrounding myself with positivity.

What I’m Reading

  • How to Be a Stoic by Massimo Pigliucci: I’ve been reading a series of books on Stoicism for the past few weeks. I like this book’s approach to the ancient school philosophy because it introduces it as a series of rules that teach you how to live. Although that’s how I’ve always thought about Stoicism, this is the first time an author conveys it in that way and it makes it much more inviting and practical. I don’t have much to say about the book, since I just started it, but it’s looking good so far.

What I’m Watching

In this Ryan Holiday video, the author tells his journey to open a bookstore during the pandemic. I really liked the message in his video which is that “it’s going to take more than you had anticipated, but it’ll be worth it in the end”. This is a different approach to the kind of videos Holiday usually posts on his channel, but I enjoyed this more practical take on Stoicism which is why you study it in the first place. 

This Week’s Quote

“The best time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining”


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