The Traveler’s Gift, by Andy Andrews, tells of seven decisions that one must make in order to be successful. No matter your definition of success, these decisions will apply if you wish to be healthier, wealthier, or more skillful. The Traveler’s Gift differs from a lot of other self-development books through its use of storytelling. It tells the story of a man who is down on his luck and has given up hope. He then learns valuable lessons through a time travel/dream sequence plot device in which he travels to different eras and locations and meets with famous people such as Abraham Lincoln and Ann Frank. Each lesson is taught through an experience with one of these famous historical figures. These are the seven“gifts” or lessons he learns during his travel:
- The Buck Stops Here: Take personal responsibility for your situation at any given moment. No one is to blame for where you are except you. Take extreme ownership over where you are at this moment. If you continue to blame others for your situation in life you will remain stuck in that position.
- Seek Knowledge: Continue to learn and develop. The master is one who continues to pursue mastery and knows his learning is never complete. We are all either getting better or getting worse. If we stop seeking knowledge and stagnate we will again become stuck.
- Take Action: Seize the moment when it appears. Don’t stand by waiting for the right time. Act and the time will be right. Many people worry about making a decision but it is more important to just make one regardless of the situation and adjust course as needed. Indecision can even be more painful than making the wrong decision - with making the wrong decision you at least have the capability of learning and growing from your mistakes.
- Have a Decided Heart: Believe in yourself and your destiny. Have a vision. Decide what it is you wish to pursue and dedicate your time to it. Find what is important and what you value and with every action move forward and towards this end goal. Finding your “why” - why you are on this planet - is the most rewarding thing one can hope for.
- Choose to Be Happy: Happiness is a decision not an outcome. Choose to be happy with yourself. You are in control of your own happiness, not anyone else’s. Decide to be happy with where you are now at this moment. You always have the choice. You can choose to pursue the things that make you happy as well as choose to cut out all the nonessential stuff that doesn’t make you happy.
- Forgive: Forgive others for any wrongs they have done to you and forgive yourself for past mistakes. Today is a new day; give yourself a clean slate. Holding grudges is never a way to make progress. It’s important to understand why you are so upset by a particular circumstance rather than focusing on your anger.
- Persist and Have Faith: Have faith in your vision. We can worry about an infinite amount of inconsequential things, but the truth is that if you have faith in yourself you will see things through to the end. Persist until you have achieved what you set out to accomplish.