You invest in a book or program to improve something about you or your life. Do you take what it offers as far as is appropriate for you or as far as the bookshelf? Does this pattern show up in other areas of your life?

We all have things in our lives we move forward on with no problem, others we drag our feet about, and those we hesitate to or never take the first step towards. It’s beneficial not to judge our process, but assess it and our outcomes often; it is imperative we participate in it willingly.

I spoke with a man who doesn’t like his job (six-figure income) or his life. For him, surface stuff has changed over the last several years, but not much else. In fact, he said he felt his best option was to keep doing what he does every day and wait for death. He’s two years younger than I am. Imagine shelving all other options, at any age, especially those that bring joy and fulfillment, and choosing the one he says he has.

He mentioned he frequents a large bookstore near his apartment. I didn’t ask him what types of books he buys, but I know what kind he doesn’t: books about career guidance, guides to discover what he really enjoys and is good at, or any involving self-empowerment or metaphysics.

Every day, he expects the “same old, same old” (which he “receives”), and to feel better based on outer events only. It isn’t that he buys books that can help him, but puts them on the shelf; he’s put himself and his possibilities on the shelf.

It isn’t always comfortable to accept that if you don’t like something about your outer life, you must look at your inner life—the stories you repeat to yourself and so on. Neville Goddard said, “Assumptions harden into facts.” Often, you have to take a chisel to such “facts;” and getting to what’s underneath can take time. The time matter gets in the way for many.

Then, there’s the really tricky part: intellectualizing something means you know it; actualizing something involves being it. That’s not always an easy path to travel, because at some point you not only have a “foot in both worlds,” but also your consciousness. You have to engage with the tribe, though you don’t share the tribal mentality. And, you have to find a way to reconcile this into your experience.

When you really want to improve something, you have to keep going. You have to go at it until you reach the point where you’re ready to expand even more. If you feel challenged, it’s important to accept this as part of the process. Many old beliefs and assumptions beg to be challenged. They “ripen” over time so you’ll pluck them from the tree of your life and turn them into something sweeter.

The biggest challenge seems to be patience. We want a quick fix. Sometimes that’s feasible, sometimes it isn’t. Anything worth having is worth what it takes to achieve or attain it, particularly when it comes to creating the life experiences you wish. Defining your authentic self, if it’s been hidden under layers for a lifetime, takes time, diligence, and a “chisel” called passionate commitment.

You can flow with a book or program then find parts of it don’t do it for you or don’t fit. You’re able to discern what’s right for you. You know when a book or service resonates with you. If you completely agree with the material, but it challenges you to your core, it’s likely a process you should go the distance with, no matter how long or what it takes.

What can help you decide on a book, service, or path is your why: why you want what you say you do. If you find information you know will assist you but you feel challenged, allow your why to fuel your motivation to keep going.

Take your potential off the shelf and open it into your life.

To the innocent, courageous, and compassionate individuals touched by the events of September 11, 2001—those I know, those I never knew, and those I’ll never meet—I offer this verse, out of context but appropriate, from a poem by James Elroy Flecker:
Since I can never see your face,
And never shake you by the hand,
I send my soul through time and space
To greet you. You will understand.

Author's Bio: 

Joyce Shafer (, life coach and author of "I Don't Want to be Your Guru, but I Have Something to Say" and editor of her free weekly, “State of Appreciation,” assists fellow life coaches and writers of self-development/metaphysics topics to become self-published (and selling) e-book authors in 6 weeks through a 7-step process. Details at - see outstanding reviews of her books/e-books at Lulu. See her time-limited e-book bundle at