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Buckle your seatbelt (lol), this is a long one. But I promise, it’ll be fun. For one, you’ll discover my picks for the best personal development blogs of 2018. These aren’t the “usual suspects” — they’re way better. You’ll also hear my ramblings on the color yellow and the nature of reality, among other things.
First Things First
I’m excited to announce that Generate Magic has been nominated for the Liebster Award. Much thanks to Sunday of Brain Embryos for nominating me. The goals of Brain Embryos are to engage in “self reflection,” “explore possibilities,” and “challenge convention.” I’ve enjoyed the stimulating, philosophical, and often humorous articles I’ve read on her site. In How Can I Tell If I’m Being Valued For Myself?, she demonstrates how stronger self-awareness of our thought processes during conversations can lead to greater empathy and less judgement.
What’s the Lobster…Uh, Liebster, Award?
Glad you asked. Liebster is a German word meaning “sweetest, kindest, and endearing.” The award’s purpose is to build positive relationships among bloggers and promote new blogs.
These are the rules and challenges for Liebster Award nominees:
1) Thank the person who nominated you and put a link to their blog on your blog.
2) Display the award on your blog.
3) For the Liebster Award 2018, write a small post about what makes you a passionate about blogging.
4) Provide 10 random facts about yourself (optional).
5) Nominate 5-11 blogs.
6) List these rules in your post.
7) Inform the people/blogs that they have been nominated for the Liebster Award and provide a link for them to your post or The Global Aussie.
8) Create new questions for your nominees to answer
What Makes Me Passionate About Blogging?
I’ve been blogging casually on and off for the past couple years, but Ruth Soukup’s (Living Well Spending Less) Build Your Blog Facebook challenge last March motivated me to take massive action. That’s when Generate Magic was born. It’s a self-rewarding cycle where the more I write, the more passionate I feel about blogging!
Typically each week, a challenge or insight gets fueled into the writing process. I’m usually not sure how I feel about it until I start writing. Gradually, these insights crystalize into a coherent form. Getting to share them with an audience adds to the excitement! The final stage — getting feedback from my readers that my writing has helped them in some way — is infinitely rewarding.
I also love getting inspired by and getting to know other bloggers! The bloggers featured in this post are only a fraction of the incredible writers I’ve been exposed to. Even though I only know these individuals online, it really does feel like a community.
10 Random Facts About Myself
I’ve already written about that here — just scroll down to “Ten Things You Don’t Know About Me.”
Answering Brain Embryo’s Awesome Questions (Thank You!):
1. i. If you were a genie and a person asked you this wish, “I wish you would not grant me this wish”, what would you do?
The person must have read Stephen King’s Needful Things. In his mind, he has a secret desire but knows that if I were to grant him this desire, his friends and neighbors would start mysteriously dying. I would commend this person on his outstanding moral character and would not tamper with his life in any way with my magic powers.
ii. If it were your wish, what would that wish be (i.e. something you want, but know it’s not ideal in the long term)?
Well, let’s just pretend for a second that the Needful Things scenario wouldn’t happen. Then I would wish to completely exit reality and enter a state of pure hedonism in an exotic locale. Something like this:
But of course I know that in the long term, not only is this type of lifestyle unsustainable but it’s also unfulfilling. I feel the most joy when I am creating and giving back.
2. Do news reporters wear pants behind the news desk? What does it look like behind the desk?
No, they probably wear nothing at all below the waist and have a small fan behind their desk to ensure that a steady current of air keeps their parts ventilated. It’s probably littered with Monster cans, candy bar wrappers, and half-eaten pieces of pizza. During the commercial breaks, they laugh about how they’ve pulled a fast one on the public by pretending to be all slick and distinguished.
3. Where do you draw the line between helping people and showing them how to help themselves? How do you strike that balance?
This is a tough one as a teacher because often, students will ask for help on their essays or test questions. I’ve since realized it’s a clever trick to get me to edit their essay for them (practically rewriting the whole thing in the process) or give them the answer. So now if it’s an essay, I’ll circle a grammar error or write “confusing” on a sentence but won’t tell them how to fix it (even though I’m tempted). If it’s a test, I ask them guiding questions. Sometimes I still end up leading them right to the answer, but at least I got them to put a little effort into it!
4. Describe the colour yellow to someone who is blind.
It’s a bold, pulsating form that feels like it’s shouting at you. It makes the tips of your fingers tingle.
5. If your life was a movie, what would the title be?
Living the Writer’s Life
Hey, it’s a movie, so you can dramatize things, right? (Btw, don’t try this at home. Once I brought my laptop to the beach and sand got in the keyboard, which I believe led to its demise).
6. Do the people in your life bring the best out of you? Do you believe you bring out the best in people in your life?
With my boyfriend and life partner, Isaiah, absolutely. He’s a fountain of creativity that’s literally overflowing with new ideas. This provides for a stimulating environment. Also, he’s constantly working on new projects and encourages me to commit to mine. As for me, I provide (in his words), the voice of reason. I’m the pragmatic, grounded one.
My family, teachers, small but loyal group of friends, and students (well, some of them haha), have also been a driving force of positivity and reciprocity in my life. I’ve had some experiences with people in the past where it was the opposite — we brought out the worse in each other — but these provided valuable learning experiences.
7. What would you do if you found a penguin in the freezer?
I’d take it on a hike with me to my favorite park in Los Angeles. It’d get to meet all the hawks, crows, and woodpeckers. They’d realize that they may look different and come from vastly different backgrounds but underneath they’re all just birds.
8. Do you think that what we perceive is reality or just a construct of our minds? Can our minds correctly interpret reality or is reality subjective?
I don’t know if anyone can answer that question definitively since we’re limited by the walls of our minds, but I do think we have the ability to bend and mold reality to some extent. Our minds are way more powerful than we give them credit for. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that we are in control when it comes to the shape our lives take. I’m referring to subjective things like states of consciousness as well as objective things like manifesting opportunities, friendships, etc.
Now, some Law of Attraction enthusiasts take this really far and believe that you can actually contort reality and time. Like a drive that would normally take three hours takes two hours (going the speed limit). Or Lester Levenson, the founding father of the Release Technique, lived in New York City but never hit a red light and always got parking spots.
Now, that’s a little hard for me to wrap my head around, personally. But I’m keeping my mind open to that possibility!
9.Do you think emotions are necessary for human survival? Why or why not?
On a practical level, we need fear to alert us if, say, a tiger is charging toward us. While this is a bit more subjective, there have been documented studies that have shown the value of love for longevity. For instance, people live longer if they are surrounded by family or close friends who demonstrate love and companionship. Besides, life would be very boring without emotions!
10. How would people communicate in a perfect world?
In a perfect world, oral communication would be like written communication. You would smooth out the syntax so that the message conveyed exactly what you intended it to be, embedded with every nuance. You’d have a wide array of vocabulary at your fingertips and use words that normally only sound good on paper without sounding like a robot or pretentious jerk. This process of formulating your message would happen instantaneously so you wouldn’t leave the other person hanging.
11. If you were a pizza deliveryman how would you benefit from scissors?
You could kindly cut the pizza slices into even smaller pieces if the recipients were watching their calories. But as you were leaving, you’d wave the scissors menacingly close to their hands to warn them that they better tip you well for your excellent service or else.
My Nominees: Personal Development Bloggers
I read many amazing online writers, so to make the task of narrowing down the list to 11 less impossible, I’m focusing on blogs in my niche: personal development. As you’ll discover, these writers have vastly different styles and approaches, but they all have the end goal of showing you how to live with intention and purpose.
The mission of Danielle’s website is perfectly encapsulated by her tagline, “Connecting people to the love that heals.” As she puts it, “Everything in our life flows out of our perception of being loved—or not loved.” I love her warm, personable writing style and her use of compelling anecdotes. What It Takes to Love Well gives actionable advice for how to GIVE the same kind of unconditional love that we all as humans crave.
As the name implies, the articles featured on this blog are focused on both goal setting and cultivating a positive mindset. I’ve often found that the two go hand-in-hand since I’m happiest when I’m productive — that is, working on projects that are meaningful to me. The founder, Karina’s, goal is to share the “little things that help me stay motivated and focused and improve my relationships with loved ones (because weirdly enough, business and relationships seem to work in a strikingly similar way).” In What To Do When Your Life Is Miserable, she advocates setting an intention to move the dial in a positive direction, identifying precisely what needs to be changed and what CAN be changed and then taking action.
Prakhar’s Design Epic Life is geared toward helping you do just that, designing a life of growth, peace, freedom and fulfillment. This blog’s mission is in many ways compatible with mine in that “generate” and “design” both imply intention and purpose and an “epic life” should also be one filled with magic. How to Have Fun as an Adult not only outlines 8 distinct “play personalities” such as the artist and the storyteller but also gives specific ideas for how to step into each of these roles.
Jordin’s blog is all about embracing your shadows and, of course, your inner weird. What I love about her writing is that it’s profound and laugh-out-loud funny all at once. One major topic that she explores is self-love, and she does this by writing about her own insecurities and embarrassing moments in a refreshingly candid way. A practical tool to set you free from your negative thoughts provides a simple yet amazingly effective guide for breaking out of limiting thought patterns.
As a performing artist, visual artist, and published author of multiple books, Michelle Monet wears a lot of hats. A lot of her writing is about overcoming trauma and anxiety, influenced by her own experience with an abusive ex-husband. You Matter really resonates with me because it advocates finding your own inner voice and not being afraid to use that voice. The Monster Under the Bed is about tackling your fears head on.
Ivan Leal Martin’s articles focus on breaking free from societal expectations and living life on your own terms. What I appreciate about his articles is that each piece of advice is accompanied by an exercise so you can put it in action right away. In How to Forgive Yourself and Let Go of the Past, one such exercise involves answering a series of precise questions about a past event you are not so proud of such as “What are the lessons I need to learn to prevent this from happening again?” Answering these questions helps you to form a game plan moving forward.
Dr. Cynthia Miller’s blog offers “kick-ass wisdom to turn your thinking upside down and radically transform your life.” I love the way her articles blend psychoanalysis and metaphysics, describing how to literally change your unconscious neural programming. I also find her background fascinating. She is the daughter of a man who created nuclear bombs, which caused her both physical and emotional trauma, but she was able to not only undo the damage but help countless others to transform their lives. How to be a Bad-Ass Woman offers seven steps for taking back your life and undoing the damage caused by degradation and abuse.
The founder, Iva Ursano, writes compellingly of how she overcame her past of abuse (both from childhood and from abusive relationships as an adult) to make a whole new life for herself in Guatemala. Her life story demonstrates how helping others — through her motivational writing, volunteering, and Angel Card readings — can bring lasting joy and confidence. I like her candid, no BS (and often profanity laced) writing style. In 3 Ways to Get Through the Consumerism Nightmare We Call Christmas, she suggests ditching the crowds and relishing in your family’s “presence” rather than “presents.”
Randy Shingler’s goal with this blog something I believe in very strongly which is “having the freedom to just experience our emotions and feelings rather than having them control us.” There’s no getting around negative emotions, but if we make peace with these emotions rather than resisting them, we’ll be a whole lot happier. His essays and poetry focus on mindfulness, self-acceptance, and compassion. Why Are We Afraid? provides an insightful investigation into the nature of fear and how moving toward this fear rather than away from it actually helps to diminish the fear.
Founder Sandra Pawula’s articles help you relish in the present, honor your intuition, and move through obstacles with grace. I love how she provides you with questions designed to help you actively engage with the information. How to Capture Your Most Important 2018 Lessons includes such thought-provoking questions as “What distracted you this year?” and “What was the emotional tone of this year?”
11. Danie Botha
Physician, author, artist, and fitness enthusiast Danie Botha writes about personal transformation through storytelling and the healing power of writing. I have certainly found these principles to be true in my own life! He writes that his goal is to “touch, challenge, and transform the reader.” Art is Medicine describes how art therapy can lead to improved self-esteem and relationships with others. It gives ten specific ways to explore art therapy such as creating a drawing or a collage of a “wild invention” that will make your life happier and possibly others’, too.
Questions For My Nominees
1. What would you consider to be a major shift or turning point in your life?
2. There are many different schools of thought as to how to go about living a purpose-filled life. How do you cut through the noise?
3. Do you believe the key to our highest potential resides in ourselves or in a higher power? If the latter is true, how do you tap into that higher power?
4. Do you believe in manifestation? If so, how do you think manifestation operates?
5. How do you balance your long-term goals with your daily life?
6. Describe a day in your ideal life, if all the current barriers you faced were removed.
7. What is a movie you saw or a book you read (or both!) that surprised you? That is, you went in with low expectations — maybe it was required reading for school or a movie your friend dragged you to — but it had a huge impact on you?
8. What is one moment in your life that you want to relive (this could be interpreted as a phase, a day in your life, or literally a moment)?
9. What’s the antidote to polarized discussions?
10. What’s a moment that, when it occurred, seemed monumentally serious but feels totally laughable now?
11. Adam Sandler or Will Ferrell?
One final note: the deadline for the 2018 Liebster Award is December 25. I realize that does not give you much time, but I only received the nomination recently myself. I suppose if you miss the deadline, you can still enter next year’s competition which begins January 1. Either way, it’s still a lot of fun!