Book Review: From Drift to Shift: How Change Brings True Meaning and Happiness to Your Work and Life

From Drift to Shift is a nonfiction book by Jody B. Miller.

The author has presented the contents of the book as a collection of several real-life events encountered by people from different walks of life. These events seemed like roadblocks to these people initially and the impact of the events caused them to drift in life. Nonetheless, they managed to rein in their emotions and feelings of helplessness, transformed their mindset, put in dedicated effort, and succeeded in finding their true place in the world.

All of us want to be happy—that’s a given (unless, God forbid, we are some sort of twisted masochists). Nevertheless, recent polls and surveys have revealed that at least one-third of our population is unhappy. What is the root cause of this unhappiness? Is it a lack of self-esteem? Or, is it something more complicated than that? Jody Miller gets us engrossed in the abovementioned inspirational stories to provide us with answers to these questions.

In part one of the book, she walks us through the reasons why shifts sometimes become inevitable. Part two deals with when exactly we should make that shift, while parts three and four focus on how to shift and how to steer your life in the right direction after the shift, respectively.

The author’s narration is very graceful and she manages to convince us that we all need to make a shift in our lives at some point along the way in order to find balance, meaning, and happiness.  All the people featured in From Drift to Shift have successfully discovered their passion, given it their all, and come out as winners in their lives. And seriously, why remain stuck in suffering when making our way through it might lead us to a beautiful way out on the other side?

However, I found that the stories introduced and presented in the book were all extreme examples. I know that it is meant to show us that no matter how big the challenge, we can turn the situation around to actualize positive change in our lives. But—maybe—the book could have featured these inspirational stories peppered with a healthy dose of simpler, everyday instances that we could all relate to instantly.

Since the topic is about happiness and self-awareness—and one can never really have too much of either—I think it was quite considerate of the author to provide us with references to additional reading material to supplement our knowledge and understanding. I believe the art of shift cannot be mastered by just reading this one book; rather, it should be treated as a continuous learning process.

Jody Miller talks about the previous assignments and self-awareness workshops she attended and reveals her thoughts and apprehensions during those sessions in an attempt to put us at ease and show us that we are all just humans and deal with the same kinds of fears and strive toward the same goals. I love the genuineness and energy with which she puts words to paper. I appreciate that the author wrote in a humble, identifiable manner. For example, she talks about one of the self-awareness workshops she attended in San Diego, during which she was asked to step outside and bring back something from nature that embodied her in spirit. She writes:

“My ego wanted me to pick a seashell to represent how I would ride the waves to distant, exciting shores; or, to choose something like a feather to show that I had the strength to let go and trust the wind to guide me. It all sounded poetic, but I knew what I was.

I was a weed.”

This is a book that will inspire you to follow your dreams and desires, and everyone—from a CEO to a fresh-out-of-school student—will be able to benefit from it. I rate From Drift to Shift 3 out of 4 stars, only because of the number of typos that seem to have slipped in. These typos break the flow of the narrative in places and prove to be the only thing that put a damper on the power packed in this wonderful book.

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