look up

Recently I bought the book “Up: A Pragmatic Look at the Direction of Life” by David Niven.  I’ve been going through what some might call….‘life change’ and this book seemed to be right up my alley.

The book starts off with saying:

“Should you look up?  There’s a lot to be said for it.  Looking up to make eye contact and exchange smiles is essential to feeling a connection with others.  Looking up is how we see the blue sky and the beauty of life all around us.  Looking up, research shows, actually makes us more optimistic, feel better about ourselves, and generate positive thoughts.”

It then goes on to discuss why ‘looking up’ can be difficult to today’s society.  We have distractions, struggles, and are going through life changes no previous generation has experienced. “Up” provides 365 unique ways as to why, we as citizens should be grateful for what we have and the continual opportunities that are presented to us.

The book is full of treasures that hit of home, but the following are a few of my favourites:

#148 – Faith in Yourself

Remember all the drama with Y2K and the thought that technology was going to go through major drama?  Did that happen? Absolutely not. I believe that if those same thoughts were said in 2010 – the response would be different.  People are more optimistic than they were in past.  I am surrounded by people who truly believe the word is full of good.  They believe in themselves, take risks, and have every opportunity to succeed.  They don’t worry about what might happen – they proceed full-speed ahead.  Life truly has to be lived.

#42 – It’s Not Just a Job

We have been shifting from a “live to work” to a “work to live” mentality for years.  When you hear of a friend, colleague, or family member looking for new work – very rarely, you will hear someone say… “I just need a paycheque.”  No.  Jobs these days are about passion, learning, and having a role on this planet.  What am I bringing to the table?  How can I make a difference to a company?  Do my values align with the organizations mission and vision?  Yes, money is important to a certain degree.  It’s important to pay the bills and provide for your family.  Jobs are no longer about 40 hours a week.  Jobs are part of people, and employees care about their organizations. People have a refreshing perspective on commitment to their careers.

#154 – Change the World

Do you feel like you can change the world?  I do.  Is that likely?  No… but at least I have faith… right? ;) Similar to the discussion on organizations and values, people these days have a need and want to help others.  They are curious about language, culture, and travel.  They are willing to take risks to learn something new, whether it be an experience or a life-changing opportunity.  Believe that you (yes, you!) have the power to tackle this world.

#328 – Progressing Every Day

Every day is an opportunity to be better.  Every day is an opportunity to accomplish tasks and make progress. We are living in a world of resources.  Back in the day, many many years back, society didn’t have the resources to strive for big goals.  But guess what, we have them now.  Are you using them?  We have experts one every topics – financial literacy, education, legal, recruitment, marketing, etc.  Many people have mentors – whether they have career, non-profit, or life focused.  We are all capable of achieving great things.  Set goals; make progress; measure measure measure – and achieve.

#76 – Housework is for Everybody

There was a time when housework was meant to fall under the responsibility of the wife or woman of the house.  For a long time, men dominated the workforce – providing plenty of opportunity for women to be busy in the home. My sister and her husband have what they call “pink jobs” and “blue jobs”… ugh makes me shiver just thinking about it.  Pink jobs include laundry, cooking, cleaning – the usual; blue jobs include taking out the trash, yard work, etc.  This works for them, but my thoughts are – the majority of couples in their 20’s find a balance with household tasks.  Status in the family and home has changed, in North America at the very least, women are considered equal to men. In many families, both the husband and wife work full-time jobs.  Why would chores dominate with one person?  Just like we are striving for continual equality in the workplace, we have finally found equality in the home. The book states that “women whose husbands share in the housework are 15% more likely to rate their husbands as ‘very physically attractive.’” That’s right boys – get on that ironing! ;)

#212 – Never Facing Pain Alone

To fully understand the ‘old’ way of thinking, I look to my Grandpa.  Last year he battled Colon Cancer… but would anyone have known?  Absolutely not.  He hid his illness for ages, not knowing what he had or why he was sick.  Why?  Because that’s how he was raised.  Disease wasn’t talked about as many did not understand or have the background to understand.  Eventually my Grandpa became sick enough that my mom noticed he was unwell – physically he had lost a lot of weight etc. [He battled the heck out of that cancer and is doing well today!] In today’s world we have access to a wealth of information.  We have resources such as information online, medical experts, family assistance programs, and support groups.  We have family, friends, and coworkers. It is no surprise that we will continually experience pain in our lifetimes – that in itself is not going away.  What has changed, is how we handle it.  Don’t hide from your loved ones, embrace the support, and get through the tough times.  A great book relating to this topic is “Life in the Balance” by Dr. Marla Shapiro.

More information on the book can be found:


If you need to be brought back down to planet earth or need some sort of life reality check, read the book.  We owe it to ourselves to be grateful for both the good and bad that is presented to us.

We truly live in a bright world. Always have hope. ❤


  1. Hailey September 14, 2010

    I love this post Jill,
    I particularly like the section on housework for everyone. My parents are quite traditional in almost every way except with regards to housework. I too grew up with a mom who worked hard to improve herself and took course after course in night school for almost my entire childhood. And, during all of those years, my dad stepped in with everything. He has never been the “men bring home the bacon” type, and in fact is living the life now of a kept man – haha.

    A few facts:
    a) I have never seen my mom use the washer and dryer
    b) Cleaning bathrooms has never been my mom’s “thing”
    c) My dad can vacuum like no one’s business.

    PS- I hate the terms “pink jobs” and “blue jobs” too!

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