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Living a life filled with meaning, purpose, and self-realisation.
Alexander Den Heijer highlights seven remarkable reminders in Nothing You Don’t Already Know that will guide you on the journey to fulfilling your potential.
I first read his book in the summer of 2020, after the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic had begun to settle here in Australia.
As I was reading it, I remember thinking the raw truth to the words that Alexander speaks is life-altering.
I constantly found myself stopping to reflect on the lessons and finding ways to implement them into my own life. Nothing You Don’t Already Know is a remarkable book, with all seven chapters inviting you to explore the values and significance of your life.
Chapter 1: A Call For Change
After childhood, you spend your years trying to be like all the others—whether you realise it or not. It’s a basic human need to want to be similar to the majority. After all, if you are not the same as everyone else, who are you? Alexander highlights through this chapter the subtle signs that indicate when it is time for you to alter your circumstances in order to rediscover yourself.
“The most harmful road is not the road with the toughest obstacles, but the road that’s heading in the wrong direction.” (page 15)
Alexander emphasises that your circumstances and your choices ultimately lead you down a road. Sometimes it is a road that you choose to carve, and other times it is one that you follow.
This quote made me think deeply about the choices I had made in my life and whether or not they were truly my own. How many times had I made a decision that was influenced by what I thought others wanted me to choose? How many times had I said “yes” when I wanted to say “no”?
To create your own road takes immense courage and vulnerability. Despite this, Alexander encourages us all to carve our path and follow our hearts so that we can find enlightenment in our days.
Chapter 2: Leave The Ordinary
Changing your circumstances means letting go of your resistance to change. Chapter two is a remarkable reminder for you to seize every opportunity you are given, and to make decisions that build your character and extend you beyond your abilities. Alexander illustrates that your greatest moments of personal evolution arise when you step away from the ordinary and open your eyes to the diversity of the world.
“Don’t spend your entire life building a ship without ever tasting the salt of the ocean.” (page 41)
Societal norms tell you that you should always be doing something. It will also carve a life for you if you do not choose to create your own. This is another remarkable reminder in Nothing You Don’t Already Know as it motivates you all to question whether you are truly living, or if you are just going along with a plan or goal that has been built for you.
Alexander reinforces the reality that you will find happiness when you slow down and embrace your journey. Happiness is not something you will find when you tick all the boxes on your checklist.
So my question to you all is this: are you waiting to arrive at your future, or are you arising in your present?
Chapter 3: Overcome Fear
In addition to leaving the ordinary, you must overcome the anxieties that only serve to hold you back from reaching your potential. You can’t choose the right path for yourself when fear is causing you to be influenced by the thoughts of those around you.
“Fear may motivate but only love inspires.” (page 60)
Alexander highlights another remarkable reminder in Nothing You Don’t Already Know by showcasing that you must embrace your uncertainty and nurture your fears with compassion.
It is understood that fear drives the majority of your decisions when you have not yet developed to be able to confidently express your truest self. We have all heard of FOMO: the Fear Of Missing Out. It comes from your own mistaken belief that you are not good enough or that you are not enough as you are. When you approach all that arises in front of you with love and kindness, you are no longer feeding this fear gremlin and, therefore, you don’t give it the power to take away your gratitude. And when you are grateful for all that is, you wholeheartedly make decisions for yourself.
Chapter 4: Know Yourself
Alexander underlines how paramount it is to connect deeply with yourself. He highlights that to make meaningful connections with others, you must first rediscover who you are. You must also understand the importance of your own beliefs and morals.
“There’s a light that shines within you. All you have to do is let it shine through. Open the curtains. Take off the mask that hides the light and light up the world.” (page 81)
This is another of Alexander’s remarkable reminders in Nothing You Don’t Already Know as it illustrates the importance of unlearning your past. For many of us, our childhood was filled with experimentation and adventure. However, as we grow older, there becomes a set of rules and normalities we believe we must follow. A label we must place on ourselves to define who we are.
This quote emphasises that you must remove the idea of all that you are “supposed to be” and embrace your truest self.
Chapter 5: Transformation
There are many remarkable reminders in Nothing You Don’t Already Know that are found in this chapter. Alexander highlights that transformation is something you should all be striving to achieve. To be better, you must do better. And to do better, you must choose things that have the power to revolutionise you.
“The eternal tension between what is and what ought to be either causes frustration or transformation. The choice is yours.” (page 103)
How many times have you wished for something you don’t have? Or were unhappy with something you do have? A lack of acceptance for the present moment leads to frustration. In contrast, finding peace in the now will lead you down a path of great transformation and self-discovery. When you aren’t appreciative of your reality, apprehension seeps in and holds power over you, similar to fear.
Alexander teaches you through this quote that you can either remain frustrated at your circumstances, or you can be at peace with the truth.
Chapter 6: Make A Difference
The most fulfilling thing you can do throughout your life is making a difference to someone else’s. Alexander’s remarkable reminder of this empowers you to pursue a life that brings you peace, found simply by doing the things your heart and soul desire.
“Everything that happens in life invites you to expand your ability to love.” (page 128)
The most rewarding thing you can do for another is teach them compassion. For you to learn compassion, you must first learn from the situations and people that cause you harm.
Ever since reading this remarkable reminder, I have tried to spread kindness and compassion far and wide—to people, places, and things. I try to accept others rather than judge the version of themselves they choose to let the world see.
Once you know unconditional love, you are able to understand others better rather than blame them. Are you allowing your life situations to teach you lessons about true generosity?
Chapter 7: Inspire Others
Chapter seven has a range of remarkable reminders in Nothing You Don’t Already Know. They will inspire you to inspire others. Alexander illustrates how important it is for you to encourage others to be their most authentic selves. He also demonstrates that to inspire others to unlock their own potential, all you must do is be authentic enough so that they can see their own superpowers.
“Don’t work to survive; work to create something that survives you.” (page 146)
I hope this is one of the most remarkable reminders in Nothing You Don’t Already Know. and I hope it resonates with you as deeply as it did with me. You are all here not to be remembered but to leave the world a little better off once you’re gone.
Find something you’re passionate about and create something wonderful. You don’t even need to create an actual “thing.” Just spread kindness.
Be the best version of yourself so that others are encouraged to do the same. Touch the lives of others by realising your potential.
That is how you will create something that survives you.