November 13

The Journey Of Life: 100 Lessons From Around The World – A Review

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“One thing life taught me: if you are interested, you never have to look for new interests. They come to you. When you are genuinely interested in one thing, it will always lead to something else.” Eleanor Roosevelt

The Journey Of Life: 100 Lessons From Around The World – A Review

Recently, a dear friend gave me a book she had received at a fundraising event and once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. It was Sharon K. Sobotta’s The Journey Of Life: 100 Lessons From Around The World; described as “a tapestry of universally applicable lessons.”  Even though the book was published in 2007, the beautiful pictures, powerful stories and wisdom she shared in this inspiring book remain timeless and universal.

♥ No matter where you go or what you pursue, strive to always live with integrity
♥ Embrace the art of vulnerability as a spiritual practice
♥ Engage in activities you are passionate about
♥ Step out of your comfort zone whenever you can
♥ Find a creative outlet to express yourself

Another point that makes this book endearing is Sharon’s personal history; the road that led her to write The Journey Of Life: 100 Lessons From Around The World. She grew up in a working class  home with a father who struggled with manic bipolar depression; her mom held the family together. A High School scholarship took her to Japan and started her lifelong love for travel. As she approached the end of her 20s, a series of events propelled her into publishing this book and it is filled with stories and 100 lessons gleaned from the lives of the generous souls included in it.

♥ Use your knowledge and talents to help others
♥ Experience Bhangra
♥ Seek unconventional and unpractical knowledge
♥ Develop a weekly ritual with your friends
♥ Don’t let wounds from the past paralyze you in the present

“Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” Sir James Mathew Barrie

The Journey Of Life: 100 Lessons From Around The World – A Review … each step counts

♥ Approach life as a checkerboard, not as a ladder
♥ Take risks
♥ Take public transportation
♥ Embrace the unpredictability of life
♥ Never let yourself be a victim of circumstance

The quote “Life is a long lesson in humility.” by James M. Barrie is apropos when we look at or think about our own life’s journey.  I’m sure all of us can find vignettes to share with each other. Sharon interviewed over a 100 people from all walks of life for her book and that is how the 100 lessons were gathered. We get to read about the extraordinary stories shared by a variety of people from Michael Moore, Fidel Castro, Rebecca Walker, Anoushka Shankar to many regular folk. Throughout this post, I have  shared the 100 lessons with you, but encourage you to borrow or buy the book and read the lessons and the accompanying stories. They are beautiful…

♥ Imagine the world through the eyes of children
♥ Love unconditionally and without fear
♥ Be inquisitive
♥ Communicate with strangers
♥ Do what you can to make the world a better place

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.” Henry David Thoreau

The Journey Of Life: 100 Lessons From Around The World – A Review… Life is a succession of Lessons…

♥ Think and act outside the box
♥ Mobilize, mentor and motivate
♥ Be willing to change
♥ No matter what you do in life, vow to always have fun
♥ Never forget where you came from or who inspired you along the way

The Journey of Life, is divided into eight chapters that spell out the word EMPOWER U.  Each chapter covers a particular theme and features lessons learned and contributions from a wide range of people; famous and non-famous. The chapters are: Engaging in Life; living passionately and nourishing your soul, Mobilizing, Mentoring & Motivating; inspiring others and setting an example, Practicing What You Preach; staying in touch with your roots and living your ideologies, Overcoming Obstacles & Stereotypes; being the best that you can be, Waiting; understanding the virtues of patience and compromise, Empathizing with the World; relating to people from all walks of life, Reciprocating; mastering the art of giving, taking and appreciating, and Universal Truths to Live By.

♥ Be positive
♥ Be introspective
♥ Be a role model
♥ Be eclectic
♥ If there is no path leading you where you’d like to go, create your own
♥ Inspire and be inspired
♥ Always do your best
♥ Always stay true to yourself
♥ Before complaining, take action
♥ Read and internalize Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements

♥ The most important lesson I learned in life is….. (here’s one for you to complete – Do share!)
There is always More Below…

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” Oprah Winfrey

The Journey Of Life: 100 Lessons From Around The World – A Review… life is short; enjoy it!

♥ Define success not by how much money you have, but by the way you live your life
♥ Strive to understand issues from multiple perspectives
♥ Meditate
♥ Travel to learn about yourself and the world, not to escape
♥ Treasure your friends
♥ Act on your dreams
♥ Make yourself happy first
♥ Communicate openly and honestly
♥ Put karma into practice
♥ Believe in yourself

After traveling around the world to interview people, document their responses/stories, and write the book, Sharon said that, for her, the most important life lesson she learned from her experience was that … Life is “more about the journey than the destination, more about the process than the end product, and that every single person has a story to share.”

♥ Challenge racism, sexism and all forms of oppression whenever you have a chance
♥ Challenge yourself to overcome stereotypes
♥ See every struggle as a blessing in disguise
♥ Be resilient
♥ Be persistent
♥ Don’t judge people whose perspective is vastly different form yours
♥ Be open-minded
♥ Don’t assume that everything you hear is true
♥ Bloom where you are planted
♥ Appreciate the place you come from, no matter where it is or how it is perceived

“There is a place that YOU are to fill that no one else can fill — something YOU are to do that no one else can do.” Plato

The Journey Of Life: 100 Lessons From Around The World – A Review… faith is nourishment

♥ Appreciate difference
♥ Make friends from all corners of the world
♥ Strive to lead a life of balance
♥ Take things one day at a time
♥ Wait. Patience is a priceless virtue
♥ Live in the present
♥ Go with the flow
♥ Never take significant others for granted
♥ Don’t get stressed about small things
♥ Always stay open to all possibilities in life

Reading the list of lessons learned, what struck me was how sensible and yet full of wisdom the lessons were. Typically, most of us go about our business living these tenets without thinking about them. We know that to act a certain way brings us clarity and peace of mind. But it is even more remarkable when we attach the lesson to a face, a person, or a story, and then the message becomes quite profound.

♥ Be in tune with your surroundings
♥ Empathize, don’t sympathize
♥ Find commonality with everyone you encounter
♥ Never impose your ideologies on others or assume that your way is better
♥ Respect other cultural and religious aesthetics and practices
♥ Treat others as they’d like to be treated, not as you’d like to be treated
♥ Envision the world from the perspective of others
♥ Learn a second or a third language
♥ Listen more and talk less
♥ Have faith in others

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive…” Eleonora Duse

The Journey Of Life: 100 Lessons From Around The World – A Review… Life is a choice…

♥ Stay connected
♥ See the world in all shades of gray
♥ Break unhealthy habits and cycles
♥ Be reciprocal
♥ Use your birthday as an opportunity to count your blessings and as an excuse to let others know how much you appreciate them
♥ Commit random acts of kindness whenever you have a chance
♥ Appreciate sisters and brothers
♥ Always give others the benefit of the doubt
♥ Be generous
♥ Never take small things for granted
♥ Live every day to the fullest with no regrets
♥ Appreciate the simple things in life

Since publishing the book, Sharon has gone from being Director of the Women’s Resource Center at Saint Mary’s College of California, to managing editor of Nirvana Woman magazine, to building a blog radio presence where she continues to inspire and engage in interviewing people and writing meaningful stories. She also maintains a dedicated website for the book and related projects; The rest of the Life lessons are listed below … however, do read the book with all the stories, you won’t be disappointed. This is highly recommended reading, and a great holiday gift for friends and family. What are your thoughts? Have you read Sharon’s book? What life lessons would you add to the list? How do you view the journey of life you are on? Do share! Thank you.

♥ Be humble
♥ Never underestimate the power of a smile
♥ Aim to live a border-less life
♥ If you lose a loved one, remember how they lived, not how they died
♥ Never let fear paralyze you
♥ Learn to put yourself first
♥ Live graciously
♥ Strive to celebrate life every day
♥ Follow your inner compass
♥ Learn the art of compromise
♥ Never sacrifice yourself, your goals or your dreams for the sake of others
♥ Know that you are capable of inspiring someone with your story, your experience or your dream

For More: Women’s Lives & Issues 

Positive Motivation Tip: Every day,  we engage life and there are profound lessons we learn that we can share. Acknowledge, Share,  Cherish them.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: Photo of Sharon Sobotta’s book via Other photos St Isidore de Labrador Church via Wikipedia Or Life is short by Swanksalot, Every journey by Melody Campbell, Life is a Choice by L. J. Matthews, Life is… by sirwiseowl via Flickr

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet


books, Happiness, inspiration, life, life lessons, postaday2011, postaweek2011, reflections, reviews

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  • I want to read this book!!! I hope it’s available at our library and thank you Elizabeth!
    Of course, this is my favorite quote….”Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves…” 🙂

  • If you are interested,
    you never have to look for new interests.
    They come to you.

    ( Eleanor Roosevelt )
    … and if nothing comes,
    then I come to read your blog, Eliz …

  • A great post Elizabeth. It was good to be reminded of “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.” Henry David Thoreau

    It is that quote that has assisted me make the recent changes in my life 🙂

  • That must’ve been a dear friend – this looks like the perfect book to give to you because look how you made that gift into a gift to all of us! Thanks for sharing such a great gift and inspirational food. I needed this today, and as usually happens when I get here, you have provided me with the words that I needed to hear. How do you keep doing that? 🙂

    As far as the most important lesson I learned in life, I think it is your Plato quote that each of us has a unique purpose – sometimes I’m not sure what it is anymore, and that is why this post is important to me. Thanks Elizabeth. Your ability to share words is more powerful than you know.

  • All were very good but one spoke to me. I never was one to climb the ladder. I just thought I just bounced around in different directions until I read this– Approach life as a checkerboard, not as a ladder. That is just what I do yet I never had a name for it. This is a feel good day. Ha, in more than one way. I made it to Monday and so did the clan.

  • I love the Eleanor Roosevelt quote. How you doing Elizabeth. I just got back from a trip to Texas with the family. I hope you are well!

  • Sounds like I need a copy of that book! Another inspiring post, Elizabeth. I don’t know how you keep doing it every day. I love your blog.

  • I love this! Such a lovely inspirational post with wonderful and very valuable life lessons. Thank you so much for sharing this Eliz!

    (And thank you as always for your support over at my blog. Your comments and time is much appreciated. 🙂 Have a great week Eliz.)

  • Thank you for sharing this uplifting book. I have a copy and the best part is that it is easy to carry around and to read. You are right, the pictures are beautiful too and the stories are heartwarming. Definitley a great holiday gift. 🙂

  • Sounds like a great read. I love that the author shares my first name and it sounds like we have something a bit in common, too….She had a Bi-polar dad and I have a Bi-polar hubby!

  • This sounds like a great book! I especially love the advice that seems to stand the test of time.

  • This is the most beautiful quote “No matter where you go or what you pursue, strive to always live with integrity.” I may have to get this book on my Kindle and get reading!


  • Thanks for sharing. This looks like a great and inspirational book. I can’t wait to read it.

  • Great points! My favorites? Learn a second or a third language (I’m bilingual, but would love to be trilingual), imagine the world through the eyes of children (will keep life fresh and enjoyable), and engage in activities you are passionate about (because I spend soon much time doing things I *have* to do instead of what I *want*to do–working on that).

  • Strive to always live in integrity – I like that.. I think that is really important.

  • Never read this book before. So much inspiration quotes.. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Glad to hear from you Cassie. I don’t know why you ended up in my spam box especially as you always leave meaningful comments and have commented on this blog before. As per travel, You can start small by traveling locally or to other states and then grow form there. It can be addictive. 🙂

  • This sounds like an inspiring book. I love motivational reads, it keeps everything is perspective

  • Sounds like a “must read” and so I shall. I am a quote lover and enjoy worldly stories. I appreciate your article. In gratitude.

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