Saturday, November 8, 2008

Just Who Will You Be? Big Questions. Little Book. Answers Within.

From the book:
“I’ve learned that asking ourselves not just what we want to be, but who we want to be is important at every stage of our lives, not just when we’re starting out in the world. That’s because in a way, we’re starting out fresh in the world every single day”

Just Who Will You Be? is a candid, heartfelt, and inspirational book for seekers of all ages. Inspired by a speech she gave, Maria Shriver’s message is that what you do in your life isn’t what matters. It’s who you are. It’s an important lesson that will appeal to you anyone of any age looking for a life of meaning.
In her own life, Shriver always walked straight down her own distinctive path, achieving her childhood goal of becoming an “award-winning network newswoman Maria Shriver.” But when her husband was elected California’s Governor and she suddenly had to leave her job at NBC News, Maria was thrown for a loop. Right about then, her nephew asked her to speak at his high school graduation. She resisted, wondering how she could possibly give advice to kids when she was feeling so lost herself. But in the end she relented and decided to dig down and dig deep, and the result is this little jewel.
Just Who Will You Be? reminds us that the answers to many of life’s questions lie within-and that we’re all works in progress. That means it’s never too late to become the person you want to be.
Now the question for you is this:

My two cents worth:
If I were Maria Shriver I’d question what I’d want to be next too. I mean just look at her background and personal achievements:

-Good family background- connected to the Kennedy’s and comes from a family of high achievers; her father Sargent Shriver founded the Peace Corps and her mother founded the Special Olympics...sheesh how do you top that?
- Good personal achievement- award winning anchor woman for NBC, established author, a wife and a mother. She also has fame, fortune, beauty, smarts and of course she is the First Lady of the State of California, married to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger or better known to me as The Terminator.
- Good circle of friends – best friends with Oprah... yes, THE life guru herself Ms Oprah Winfrey...
Really what is there to achieve in life after all that?
I suppose being in Oprah’s circle of friends has its benefits because that’s when I first came to know about the book. Oprah interviewed Maria Shriver on her show a long time ago and also spoke to people who raved about how profound the book was and how it has helped them to make positive changes in their lives. I’ve been wanting to read Just Who Will You Be? for quite a while now but never got around to it until recently. In all honesty, I felt that the book was overhyped. It wasn’t profound as the message she delivered is not new, something that I have come across from somewhere else before. I also found the content to be a bit fluffy with Shriver outlining her background and achievements, her anxiety over the speech she was invited to do, her conversations with her kids, family etc.
Upon saying that, I do however agree with the core message of this book. In the first page of the book Shriver made a statement to her daughter “I’m still a work in progress, and I’m writing my next act now” which I strongly agree and is something that I try to practice myself. As we move forward in life, there is a need for us to constantly re-evaluate ourselves to become better people and live richer lives. The vision we set ten years or months or even days ago, may not work for us today. As the circumstances and environment around us change, there is also a need to relook at our outlook and what we want for ourselves in life.
At the end of the book, Shriver recommended that we come up with a List of Ten Things I Pledge to Myself which I feel is a good habit to pick up. I’ve been practising something similar for about five years or so now and I feel that it helps me visualize who I am or who I want to be in life. It also helps you to define yourself based on your own expectations. Like Shriver, I am also a work in progress and am always looking for ways to better myself in any way possible. In addition to what Shriver has recommended, I think it also helps to read the pledge daily at the start of each day.
If you like reading motivational/self help books, I’d also like to recommend reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey that provides a chapter or two of recommendations on the importance of personal vision using a principle-centred approach.

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