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This week’s Journal post is brought to you by a lovely little book called Creating a Charmed Life: Secrets Every Woman Should Know. I’ve had it for years, and for years I‘ve tried {and failed} to master the secrets that make for a life of “effortless grace and unhurried poise.”

It’s an easy read. Seventy-five short chapters (just a few pages each) with titles like Follow Your Heart, Ask for What You Want, Make the Bed, Be True to Yourself, and Do the Next Indicated Thing. Some of the chapters say exactly what you’d expect from a book of this sort…chock-full of helpful little tidbits we’ve heard so many times that they sometimes leave us feeling more disheartened than inspired, unfortunately.

That’s when “make the bed” and “do the next indicated thing” ring with such simple sensibility that we’re inspired by how doable we know they are. Seriously…what a difference making the bed can make! And how empowering to just do the next indicated thing…whether that thing is washing the dishes, scheduling a dentist appointment, or simply taking your makeup off before you go to bed.

Seldom momentous or thrilling, according to author, Victoria Moran…doing the next indicated thing instead of bypassing the obligation at hand truly can make the difference between calm and crazed.

“Have you ever felt you could climb the Matterhorn more easily than you can do the dishes?” she asks. “That’s because the Matterhorn is somewhere else and the dishes are right here. The next indicated thing can seem burdensome because it is so clearly what you’re supposed to be doing. It’s hard to rationalize away something so obvious.” So true…which makes Moran’s final word on “secret #15” of her lovely little book downright charming to me.

“In doing the…nagging or difficult thing, [we] develop courage. In doing the thing that seems tedious and boring, [we] develop poise. In doing the thing that looks to be beneath [us], or just not what [we] want to do right now, [we] develop character.”

And that’s how it happens….by keeping at it, one indicated thing after another, until life really does begin to feel a little less hectic and crazed, slightly more efficient and calm, and eventually…maybe even a bit charmed.