I never doubted that words and books had power. Yet, the scope of that power directly correlates to your willingness to believe in what is being said and where you are in life: mentally, socially, emotionally, financially, etc.
Right now, I am in my college years: those when you begin to find yourself, your potential career, and your way of making choices that affect your future. But I am also a girl who loves books and coffee, and needs all the reassurance one can get when partaking in a major that is as versatile as a Swiss Army knife.
“Live in the moment, have no regrets, and work hard for the greater good.” – Megan Gebhart
It’s no surprise that when I found 52 Cups of Coffee—which combined all of my favorite things: coffee, books, conversations, and advice on how to navigate the uncertainties of life and future—that I had to have the book. I had to read it, and I got more than I bargained for. Not only did I find advice for the future, peace to embrace uncertainty, and excitement at what’s coming next, but I also received a surge of motivation that’s been carrying me through the New Year to make my life even better.
“Create your own definition of success.” – Megan Gebhart
Each cup (chapter) in the book emphasizes a particular piece of advice, so much so that it was hard to choose which ones to talk about in this post. But the one’s I’ve chosen are the ones I feel like need to be addressed for the sole reason that they are the ones with which we are most complacent and ignorant.
The first: success.
Ever since we could talk or write, teachers, parents, and friends have been asking us: what do you want to be when you grow up? And we, as naïve children, responded with fantastical answers like rock stars, astronauts, and princesses. Granted these are all possible professions, but most of us end up changing our answers to more practical careers. Some of us (myself included) continue to change our answers so often that in the end our lives’ aspirations become abstract concepts and less concrete job listings.
I had a friend in high school who said his goal in life was to be successful. Yet success had a very stereotypical connotation for him: have a good job where he would be able to make enough money to support himself and his family. This is the definition of success that a lot of us fall into: being financially secure. But, this definition of success doesn’t satisfy me. I believe it should encompass more than having a career that produces adequate finances. Success needs a new, broader connotation. For me: it’s being happy: filling each day with happiness and contentment, adventure and excitement. Many people would say that this is a pretty loose outlook on life; one without meaning or purpose. They couldn’t be more wrong.
You don’t need a high-paying job to be successful. You can be successful every day of your life, in every aspect of your life, as long as you are satisfying yourself and the values you set up long before careers and job searches and money emerged at the forefront of your life.
“You only get one life—make the most of it.” – Megan Gebhart
Too many people forget that, in their drive to find this stereotypical definition of success and security that, they also need to have fun with life. If we aren’t careful, stress and expectation can start to control us and take us away from our passions, making us bitter and antagonistic toward the world. But, that’s the last thing this world needs—more negativity.
If you only have one life, I believe it is your duty to fill it with as much happiness and love as possible. To live in the present while also planning for the future, and to do things you love so that the future looks even brighter than before.
“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” – Megan Gebhart
Being successful and living your life to the fullest potential does come with risks of failure, embarrassment, and disappointment. The uncertainty that you’re making the right choices in the face of happiness and expectation and obligation can instill a fear that if you don’t take the safe route, you won’t amount to anything. This discomfort with uncertainty is all in your head and prevents you from even trying something new or putting in the time and effort to achieve this dream.
We don’t grow in our comfort zones. Yes, it’s easy for me to just stay inside and work on school work instead of going out to meet new people. Yes, it’s easy for me to stay in the English education track to become a teacher instead of trying to make it as a writer. This comfort zone was exactly that: comfortable, content, familiar, predictable. But who gets excited from predictable?
I needed this book. It helped me get a better perspective on my situation in life, making me hopeful and excited for the uncertain future that would come whether I was ready for it or not. It’s a book I will come back to when life gets too overwhelming and the future seems bleak, which is just my mind trying to psyche me out and prevent me from living to my fullest potential. It’s time for no excuses. If you have a dream, go after it. If you want to do something, the only thing stopping you is you. That is ultimately what I learned from the book: I create my own reality; I create my own life.
And, who knows? Someday, maybe it will be me that sits down with a friend or stranger in a coffee shop to talk about life and inspire? But I wouldn’t have the courage to do that if Megan hadn’t shown herself and me (through her book) how those encounters can change your life.