Things I Want My Daughters to Know: A Small Book About the Big Issues in Life

( 7 )

Overview

Thus Alexandra Stoddard introduces this book of simple, profound truths for joyful living. Stoddard, a mother, grandmother, and noted author on personal fulfillment, offers new ways to nurture ourselves, celebrate life's joys, and grow through its challenges. By turns wise ("Give anonymously"), controversial ("Unplug technology with no apologies"), affirming ("Tell yourself you have done nothing wrong"), and humorous ("When you discover something you love, stock up"), these are insights from a woman who has truly...

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Things I Want My Daughters to Know

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Overview

Thus Alexandra Stoddard introduces this book of simple, profound truths for joyful living. Stoddard, a mother, grandmother, and noted author on personal fulfillment, offers new ways to nurture ourselves, celebrate life's joys, and grow through its challenges. By turns wise ("Give anonymously"), controversial ("Unplug technology with no apologies"), affirming ("Tell yourself you have done nothing wrong"), and humorous ("When you discover something you love, stock up"), these are insights from a woman who has truly lived and learned—and found happiness along the way.

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Editorial Reviews

Southern Women
“A wealth of advice. . .simple yet so poignant.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060594879
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/5/2004
  • Pages: 182
  • Sales rank: 691,897
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Alexandra Stoddard is the bestselling author of more than twenty-five books and is an acclaimed philosopher on the art of living. Through her lectures, articles, and books—such as Choosing Happiness, Time Alive, Living a Beautiful Life, Gift of a Letter, Grace Notes, and many more—she has inspired millions to pursue more fulfilling lives. She lives with her husband in Stonington Village, Connecticut.

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First Chapter

Things I Want My Daughters to Know
A Small Book About the Big Issues in Life

Find Work You Love That
Supports You Financially

To find out what one is fitted to do,
and to secure an opportunity to do it,
is the key to happiness.
John Dewey

The work we choose to do each day accumulatively becomes our life's work. The opportunity to do good work stimulates our life force. My life has been shaped, enriched, and transformed by my love of my work. I work for life satisfaction. Through the happiest times in my life, as well as the most painful ones, my work has always sustained me.

The world doesn't owe us anything. We owe everything to the world. Our work is our way of expressing ourselves, of being a cocreator in this dynamic earthly journey we call life. You decide what your work is, and your work may be much larger than your "job." Try to envision the big picture as you move along.

Through our work we give back to the world a portion of what we've been given. Our reward emerges from the work itself. We work to grow, to stretch ourselves, to discover new truths, to deepen, and to serve. We become more aware and more alive when we find work that we believe is important and that we love doing. We transcend ourselves through work that makes us discover more about what we really believe in and what we truly love to do.

Through our work we're given opportunities to reconsider our thinking. In my career as a decorator, I was trained to create formal rooms based on eighteenth-century aesthetics. Through experience and exposure, I realized I enjoyed a more relaxed, informal style for living. It became my mission to help clients create homes that reflected their unique personal style and needs. This mission eventually led to my current career as an author and speaker on living beautifully. Thus our work expands our personal potential; we're rewarded with a greater understanding of what is true for us and what our contributions can be.

Why am I so happy that my work is always available to me? I am self-employed. I am a self-starter. I can prepare a lecture or seminar. I can write. I can decorate or sell art. Whatever I do, I enjoy the process. I am a student of life, of truth. I study the classics in the interstices of the day. I carry a tote bag with me when I travel so I can read, write in notebooks, and continue to learn.

When you find work you love that supports you financially, that is ideal. Hundreds of people have confided in me that when they do work they love -- as a teacher or a librarian, a yoga instructor, a college advisor or a dancer -- they don't need as much money because they are happy. When people are not happy in their work, they have a tendency to want more money because they are unfulfilled by their work.

If you don't love your work, but it puts food on the table and provides for you and your loved ones, this is not ideal; but working to survive is honorable. An actress waits on tables at a restaurant while she auditions for roles. Temporarily, this is fine; you do what you have to do to live. This shouldn't be the case indefinitely, because it can be draining, sapping your vitality and enthusiasm, and selling your soul. This is not your true work; it is a paying job. If you must do this, enrich the rest of your life by seeking out activities that will feed your soul.

What would be ideal work for you? What are you doing to move toward this goal? What if you find work that fulfills your monetary needs and involves you to some degree, but is not wholly satisfying? What then? Try to enjoy fully the parts of it you can and satisfy other interests through volunteering, hobbies, and spending time with your family. Your untapped skills may be put to good use through volunteer work that may enrich you nontangibly.

Stay in touch with your feelings. You can't afford to become bitter because your job isn't what you hoped it would be. Keep striving for work that really fits the big picture. Aim high. A key to a happy, well-lived life is to find work you love that allows you financial independence.

Don't settle forever, or for too long, for work you don't love. You need to aspire to work that makes you thrive, that you're proud of, that is a perfect fit to your talents, gifts, and passionate interests. In order to use our energy constructively, we need to pursue work we love. When we love our work, we will sustain true, inner happiness. Work and love, love and work, become one.

When we love our work, we become energized by it, not enervated. Seek and find work that allows you to give your gifts to the universe as you teach yourself new skills. We shouldn't merely work for a living: we should work to make a life. Work can be what leads us to help our community or our world, and to produce something lasting. For a blessed few, history has shown us, work can bring immortality.

No matter what happens to you, when you love your work, you will maintain your independence and, therefore, your freedom. As an adult, finding work you love is your responsibility and, I believe, your duty. If you find it, it promises to bring harmony to the rest of your life. We're here to develop our gifts, to share them with others in service. The ideal is to find paid work that nourishes you and others. Loving our work is primary to accomplishing this goal.

Things I Want My Daughters to Know
A Small Book About the Big Issues in Life
. Copyright © by Alexandra Stoddard. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 26, 2012

    Lacks zest

    Not so much a review as a *reaction*...

    I opened this book expecting a flourish, such as a decorator sweeping into a room and laying out a grand plan. What I got instead is some basic advice, somewhat personal & not necessarily universal. For example, she discusses her displeasure with spending more than 5 hours with company. (She sounds a little insular & withering at this poing.) Further, the book is lacking in *real* advice, such as how daughters might deal with boys, young men and later the men they encounter in their lives.

    While the book lacks in vivaciousness (& this may only be due to Ms. Stoddard's writing style), it does identify some of influences in the writer's life. I found it especially interesting that she mentions Eric Butterworth. As I have recently learned, he is the start of something called the "unity movement" -- or some such. My plan is to look further into Mr. Butterworth.

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  • Posted February 7, 2012

    A book that inspired my desperate soul!

    I got it as a gift on December 2011. My parents came to visit and surprised me with this bright green medium size book in a bag. I opened it on the 25th and could not stop reading it. It has taught me many simple things on how to live happy and relaxed. It has also motivated me to keep writing in my blog as is my strong desire this year. No need for high amounts of money are needed to feel comfortable and enjoy life. For that, thank you Mrs Stoddard. I'm sure you feel blessed when your words captivate the soul of a human being. God bless.

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