What is Secret 13?
Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life shares 12 secrets for seeking—and finding—the Good Life in our day to day lives. From time management and goal-setting to managing our homes and finances, these practical and concrete strategies can help each of us discover a life rich with purpose. Even so, a life well lived is not so much about what we have as who we are, and ultimately each one of us holds the key to our own secrets. Secret 13 is the truth that YOU have uncovered as you discover your own Good Life.
The #Secret13 Essay Contest
What is YOUR secret of the Good Life?
Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life shares 12 concrete strategies for seeking—and finding—the Good Life in our day to day lives. Even so, a life well lived is not so much about what we have as who we are, and ultimately each one of us holds the key to our own secrets.
Secret 13 is the truth that YOU have uncovered as you discover your own Good Life, and we want to hear all about it!
Here’s how it works:
In 750-1200 words, please share your own Living Well Spending Less® story. It could be a challenge you faced in your own life and the lesson you learned as you overcame it, or a personal story about how something within one of the chapters of Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life personally affected or changed you.
Next, if you’d like to be entered into the #Secret13 Essay Contest, simply send a copy of your essay to email@example.com. Be sure to also include your name and blog name (if you have a blog)!
Each week for 12 weeks (beginning January 6th, 2015) we will select one finalist’s essay to feature on LivingWellSpendingLess.com. At the end of the 12 weeks, beginning March 31st, 2015. Living Well Spending Less readers will vote on their favorite #Secret13 story. The person with the most votes wins one AMAZING PRIZE!
Our Grand Prize winner will receive an ALL EXPENSES PAID weeklong cruise for four on the Carnival Sunshine!!! Cruising on Carnival is one of my family’s favorite ways to live well AND spend less, and the Carnival Sunshine, which recently underwent a groundbreaking $175 million dollar renovation, is one of our very favorite ships! It features an awesome waterpark with FOUR different waterslides, plus a ropes course, multiple pools, great restaurants, awesome entertainment, and a whole lot more.
While only one winner will get the cruise, all 12 finalists will receive a special prize package as well! If you have a blog, we invite you to also participate in our blog tour. You can get all the details about that on our blogger page HERE.
How to Submit Your Entry
- Add your contact information—Be sure to let us who you are, where you live and how we can get ahold of you.
- Add an Intro—let us know who you are, where you live, and why you decided to enter this contest.
- Link Up to the Blog Tour—If you are a blogger and are planning to share your essay on your blog, be sure to add your blog post URL to the blog tour linky found HERE. (If you don’t have a blog you can skip this step!)
- Enter the Contest—email us your #Secret13 essay at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to win an all-expenses paid Carnival Cruise for 4 onboard the Carnival Sunshine. Please note that your essay may be the same as your blog post, but it must be between 750 and 1200 words. Each week we will select one finalist essay to be featured at LivingWellSpendingLess.com.
- Share the book on Social Media—Let your friends know about the book and the essay contest! Be sure to use the hashtags #LWSLbook and #secret13
- Read & Vote—check LivingWellSpendingLess.com every Tuesday at 9am EST beginning January 6th to read the finalists’ essays. Vote for your favorites at LivingWellSpendingLess.com beginning March 31st, 2015!
Want to enter but not quite sure what to write about? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- What have you learned about living well and spending less in the past year?
- What does the Good Life mean to you?
- If you could pass on one nugget of wisdom to your children about living well and spending less, what would it be?
- From Chapter 1: The Good Life is Not What We Think it Is
“It is not the wealth—or the stuff—that kills us; it is the wanting, the longing, the absolutely insatiable desire for it that eventually takes over our hearts and minds, leaving room for little else. Whether or not we can afford it is totally irrelevant. What matters is the desire of our heart. Regardless of the never-quite-enough message society wants to give us, a life consumed by always wanting more is not the Good Life.”
How do you think society’s emphasis on wealth, success, and possessions affects you? How have you learned to overcome these temptations?
- From Chapter 2: Contentment is a Choice
“It takes real effort to actively long for the intangible and to truly want something we can’t see or touch or feel. But when we really begin to look at our lives in terms of eternity—even if for just a few minutes—instead of what we want right now, having a designer wardrobe or a bigger house or a prettier kitchen suddenly doesn’t seem quite so important.”
Think about the people you most often compare yourself to. What is it about their life that makes you feel envious or inadequate? Would your life really be that much different if you had what they had? Now take it one step further: If you were to die tomorrow, what would you want to be remembered for?
- From Chapter 3: We All Have a Sweet Spot
“Our sweet spot is that place where our greatest passions and our talents or our abilities intersect. It is that special place where we are able to do whatever it is we feel most called to do, that thing we love, that thing we are great at, that thing that makes life worth living. Living in the sweet spot means having the courage to follow our dreams, take risks, and work harder than we ever thought possible to accomplish our goals.”
What is your own sweet spot? Have you found it yet? What are you doing in your life right now to make sure that you are living in your sweet spot—that place where your talents and your passions intersect?
- From Chapter 4: Written Goals Can Change Your Life
“It’s not enough to have some hazy daydream of what you’d like to accomplish someday. You have to actually take the time—whether it be five minutes or five hours—to write it down. Taking the time to write down your vision of the future not only forces you to self-evaluate and decide what is most important, but it also motivates you to act on those dreams. Writing them down makes them real. And once they are real you can’t ignore them.”
What are your goals, dreams, and aspirations? Take the time to write them down and make them real.
- From Chapter 6: Less Stuff Equals More Joy
“Stuff isn’t bad or dangerous in and of itself, but in a world where we are constantly told that what we have isn’t quite good enough, the love of things can so easily consume us. The pursuit of it all—more toys, cuter clothes, a prettier house, a nicer car, a newer computer, a fancier phone—makes us forget all the things that actually matter. Not until I observed firsthand the real and immediate changes in my kids after getting rid of their toys did I truly begin to understand. My lesson to them was really their lesson to me: less stuff equals more joy.”
Do an honest assessment of the state of your home. Are you drowning in stuff? Do you fill overrun by clutter? How would your life be different if you weren’t constantly wrangling with all the excess?
- From Chapter 8: Saving is a State of Min
“Financial peace is not a number on our bank statement or a perfectly balanced budget; it is instead a state of mind. There will never be enough money or pretty things to satisfy our broken discontented hearts, but praying for peace with where we are and what we have right now will mean instant wealth far greater than anything the world has to offer. Financial freedom and financial peace go hand in hand, but while one comes from hard work and discipline, the other can only come from above. We need both to succeed.”
Do you currently have a family budget? How does budgeting, saving, and taking control of your family’s finances help bring peace and contentment to your life?
- From Chapter 12: We Get More When We Give
“While the giving of our time and talents is essential, I often think the hardest thing for us to give—especially to those closest to us—is our own hearts…..We forget that when Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves, he wasn’t necessarily talking about the stranger on the side of the road or the child in need half a world away. Our neighbors are the people right in front of us.”
What are some ways you are planning to serve the people right in front of you this year?
Please keep in mind that these are only ideas. Your Secret 13 essay can be anything inspired by the book or by your own journey of living well and spending less.
We’d love to have you share the book with your friends and family! Here are some grab-and-go tweets to get you started!
- Want to discover the #GoodLife this year? @RuthSoukup’s new book is a must-read! http://bit.ly/LWSLbook #LWSLbook #Secret13 TWEET NOW
- Win a @Carnival cruise for 4 onboard the #CarnivalSunshine just for sharing your #Secret13! http://bit.ly/LWSLbook #LWSLbook TWEET NOW
- Love this quote from @RuthSoukup “Sometimes grace is shaped like a coupon.” http://bit.ly/LWSLbook #LWSLbook #Secret13 TWEET NOW
- Tired of feeling overwhelmed? Get @RuthSoukup’s new book—it will catapult you into action! http://bit.ly/LWSLbook #LWSLbook #Secret13 TWEET NOW
- Love this quote from @RuthSoukup “Don’t let the possibility of falling short deter you from trying” http://bit.ly/LWSLbook #LWSLbook #Secret13 TWEET NOW
- 12 Secrets that will change your life in @RuthSoukup’s new book. I couldn’t put it down! http://bit.ly/LWSLbook #LWSLbook #Secret13 TWEET NOW
- Love this quote from @RuthSoukup “We all get the same 24 hours” http://bit.ly/LWSLbook #LWSLbook #Secret13 TWEET NOW
Feel free to use any of these images as inspiration for your essay or on social media. You do not need special permission to use any of these images. You can also directly download all the images HERE.
The Fine Print
Our #Secret13 Essay Contest is open to US Residents only (sorry, we can’t afford international airfare!). The grand prize includes a 7-day cruise for four people onboard the Carnival Sunshine + domestic airfare for four. All food, entertainment, and lodging onboard the ship is included. Beverages, shore excursions, and gambling are not included. Cruise dates must be approved in advance by Carnival (some restrictions apply), and flights must be coordinated through Zondervan. Cruise certificate is valid for two years from the close of the contest.