2014-06-27 / People

New book takes on ‘declining optimism’

By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer


Kingsley Gallup’s new book, “Project Personal Freedom: Tips and Tools for a Liberated Life,” inspires readers to assertively seek out happiness and personal freedom in a deliberate way. “Personal experience is a liberated life experience,” Gallup said. “It’s the ability to choose, to explore, to dream, to self-define, to be who one authentically is and to be unapologetic about it. It’s a state of mind. It’s a way of life.” (Courtesy photos) Kingsley Gallup’s new book, “Project Personal Freedom: Tips and Tools for a Liberated Life,” inspires readers to assertively seek out happiness and personal freedom in a deliberate way. “Personal experience is a liberated life experience,” Gallup said. “It’s the ability to choose, to explore, to dream, to self-define, to be who one authentically is and to be unapologetic about it. It’s a state of mind. It’s a way of life.” (Courtesy photos) KENNEBUNK — Local author Kingsley Gallup has written a new book to combat America’s declining collective optimism, which she says “is at an all-time low.”

Gallup, granddaughter of Dr. George Gallup, founder of the Gallup Poll, is a licensed and nationally certified counselor and a certified mediator.

Her inspiration for composing “Project Personal Freedom: Tips and Tools for a Liberated Life” stems from years of counseling “From addicts, codependents, and families in crisis, to the incarcerated, victims of natural disasters, and patients with terminal illnesses — I have found there to be one prevailing objective among an extremely diverse client base,” Gallup said. “It’s the attainment of this thing I call personal freedom.”

“Having been a counselor and motivational speaker for many years now, I’m aware of people’s hunger for concrete, bite-sized ‘to dos’ that can help them achieve happier, healthier lives.”

“Project Personal Freedom” consists of 365 readings — one each day — to “inspire, motivate and instruct,” Gallup said.

Each daily reading has a theme, which is expounded upon by Gallup and concludes with inspiring words from a variety of areas, including ancient Chinese proverbs, and philosophers and writers such as Albert Camus and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

For example, Day 147’s theme, “Do It No Matter What,” reads, in part: “Living in a spirit of ‘no matter what’ is about living from your core. It’s a personal commitment. It’s a promise to self. It’s about consistency. It’s about faith. If you tend to be externally driven rather than internally directed, this concept is for you.

“If you tend to be swayed by the tides of other people’s wants, needs, expectations, and judgments, if you let others tell you who you are, it’s time to weave ‘no matter what’ into your mindset.”

Gallup’s intention is to convince others that their personal freedom and happiness does not have to be dictated by surroundings alone. It is something to be ascertained and maintained.

“There exists today a profound awareness and appreciation for personal empowerment, authentic living, and the pursuit of happiness,” Gallup said. “The rapidly growing field of positive psychology, founded on the premise that we all want meaning, fulfillment, and life satisfaction, offers a scientific approach to the attainment of these.

“As a people, we’re feeling pretty discouraged and overwhelmed by the state of current affairs – by issues such as global warming, youth violence, the economy, and a decline in ethics and values. We also feel daunted by our capacity to solve these issues.”

While optimism is the goal, blind optimism is not necessarily a viable solution, Gallup said. “There’s a healthy balance we strike between optimism and a certain degree of realism. It’s a balance in which we are encouraged by our strengths and aware of our weaknesses; we acknowledge the good and we acknowledge the not-so-good. We do what we can, where we can, and in the ways we can, and we understand always that there are limits to our power.

“While optimism is a wonderful thing, blind optimism won’t help anyone, individually or as a whole. “ ‘Project Personal Freedom’ is both optimistic and realistic — the two are not mutually exclusive.”

The idea for “Project Personal Freedom” was born from a motivation similar to what inspired her grandfather to create the American Institute of Public Opinion more than 70 years, Gallup said.

“Teddy, as he was affectionately known to us, was a true pioneer. Fiercely curious, with a heart for social service, he dedicated himself to creating avenues for hearing from the American people. This passion found its way into all he did,” Gallup said.

“Project Personal Freedom” is for anyone who is interested in harnessing their personal power and for this desire to become more self-determined and self-directed.

“It’s the ability to choose, to explore, to dream, to selfdefine, to be who one authentically is and to be unapologetic about it. It’s a state of mind. It’s a way of life,” Gallup said.

“I am an encourager by nature. I encourage my clients to find their personal power, to live more self-determined and self-defined lives, to soar with their strengths and grow with their weaknesses, and to use their authenticity, not only to better their lives but also to serve their world,” Gallup said.

“I reflect often on Howard Thurman’s wonderful quote, ‘Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive. And go do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.’ Encouraging others on the path to personal freedom is my passion. This is what makes me come alive. And so I do it.”

“Project Personal Freedom: Tips and Tools for a Liberated Life” can be purchased at Amazon.com and on the website for the Gallup Institute for Personal Freedom: www.personalfreedominstitute.com.

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