Thought Altering Literature I've Stumbled Upon


I have been able to handle life’s adversities and transform into a better version of myself after having read the work of some truly inspiring, successful, and motivating authors.

I decided to make some significant changes in my daily routine and adopt some healthy habits. Some stuck and others failed, but one habit I’ve been consistent with is starting my day off with my favorite podcast, The Quote of the Day with Sean Croxton. These podcasts are mini motivational pep talks by some of the most mindful and accomplished keynote speakers, authors, and life coaches. One of the daily quotes was “WHAT WE BECOME DEPENDS ON WHAT WE READ AFTER ALL THE PROFESSORS ARE FINISHED WITH US. THE GREATEST UNIVERSITY OF ALL IS A COLLECTION OF BOOKS.” -THOMAS CARLYE. The ability to read provides us with the capability to conquer more than we imagine.

After my separation, I started to browse the personal development section at Barnes & Noble. While finishing my first self-help book, I felt a shift in how I was viewing my situation and responses towards it.  One of the first books I picked up was “Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change” by Pema Chondron. A major take away for me from the book was not dwelling on the storyline my mind concocted. It was not beneficial for my healing, nor did I want a heart full of anger and blame.

I continued investing in books and reading at a rapid rate. I discovered a self-published author, Sylvester McNutt III, that I can truly say had a huge influence on my healing process. Through his books, I realized acceptance would have the greatest impact on my ability to move forward, starting to improve my life, and finding love after pain. To date, I have read 5 of his books and attended a live speaking engagement. I worked endlessly on becoming the best version of myself and I was proud of the strength and sophistication I exhibited on a daily basis.

Along with letting go of the anger and accepting my new reality, I knew I had one more virtue to follow through with: forgiveness. I genuinely was ready to forgive when I read Chris Michaels’ book “The Power of You”. Chris writes “Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. It is an act of self-love. It does nothing to the person who hurt you. It’s a decision you make about yourself for yourself. Choosing to forgive doesn’t mean you will forget what happened to you. On the contrary, it allows you to take the wisdom you gained from the hurtful situation and leave the pain and anger behind”. My entire outlook changed when I fully understood that forgiveness isn’t about the other person, it’s about me. I was not gaining anything by holding on to this anger and it was so relieving to start letting it go. This allowed me to accept the hardships I had experienced thus far, and use them as powerful steps to being “more committed to building a future than surviving a past,” as Chris Michaels advises.

It was my time to figure out what the purpose of my life was; start expecting more and living life to the fullest. I get to create my definition of success and what brings me happiness. Like Charlie “tremendous” Jones said, “you will be the same person in five years as you are this afternoon except for the people you meet and the books you read”. Printed pages bound together between a front and back cover truly impacted me by my learning from them how to turn pain into power and suffering into strength.  

Ashton Saldana