For my birthday this year I was lucky enough to be bought some beautiful, useful and indulgent gifts by my thoughtful friends and family, including a number of books that have been sitting on my ‘wishlist’.
My brother-in-law bought me Eleanor Roosevelt’s You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life (thanks Matt!).
I made a start on it yesterday, and aside from enjoying the writing style that speaks of another era, I’ve been struck by the simple, no nonsense advice it contains.
Chapter 3 is on The Uses of Time where Eleanor, after pointing out that we all have “all the time there is” outlines four points that helped her to make the best use of such time. These four points resonate so strongly with what neuroscience and other research fields have now been able to prove true:
- Achieve an inner calm to enable you to work undisturbed by what goes on around you.
- Concentrate on the matter in hand.
- Arrange a routine pattern and plan in advance, but at the same time remain flexible enough to allow for the unexpected.
- Maintain a general pattern of good health so that you have the best use of energy when you need it.
Such elegant advice!
Throughout the rest of the chapter she brings illustrative examples from her own experience as well as insight on how she trained herself (and others) to achieve this. I was fascinated to see the tie in to mindfulness, establishing constructive habits, making plans but holding them ‘lightly’, and generally putting the ‘me’ first – all themes I have touched on in my own explorations in this blog on how to make time warp – not only to achieve more, but to enjoy it more too.
Of course I’ve known of Eleanor Roosevelt and encountered the quotes that litter the internet, but I’ve never before actually taken the time to read or learn more of her in any depth.
Now I’m looking forward with curiosity to the rest of the book, with chapter titles like “The Right to be an Individual”, “How to get the Best Out of People” and “Facing Responsibility”.
And of course, by following her simple advice, I know I’ll be able to give her book the time it deserves!!