Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life by Gisele Bündchen

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Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life was written by Gisele Bündchen, supermodel from Brazil, wife of the New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and previous judge on television’s America’s Got Talent. 

Gisele was born in Três de Maio and grew up in the small town of Horizontina near the Argentine border. As a young girl, Gisele dreamed of becoming a professional volleyball player or a veterinarian. However, at 13, she was already five feet, nine inches tall. She slouched, so her mother enrolled her and two of her sisters in a modeling course. At the end of the course, they went by bus to Curitiba, Saõ Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, a 27-hour road trip! At a Saõ Paulo mall, a creepy guy came up to her with the line, “Do you want to be a model?” Gisele yelled for her mom. As it turned out, the offer was real, and the agent suggested that Gisele enter the Elite Look of the Year contest. Gisele came in second. Her prize was a round-trip to Ibiza, Spain, to model in the world Elite Model Look contest. She was one of the ten finalists. 

A year later, at the age of 14, she moved to Saõ Paulo to launch her modeling career. Her first big break came a few years later when Alexander McQueen selected her to model in his ready-to-wear show. She modeled without a shirt, but had one painted on by a makeup artist. She was nicknamed “The Body” after the show and her career was launched. 

Gisele states that she never felt the public persona was her. She was mocked in school because of her height, her weight and her general appearance. When she began modeling, the criticisms were even worse. The editors commented on her body or her breasts or her eyes or her nose as if she wasn’t in the room. The photographers would tell her how to stand. She learned to separate the girl being talked about, her, from the private girl she called Gisele.

Gisele believes that the lessons she talks about in her book have worked for her—in her life. The most important one is love. The one message she wants everyone to have is to live your life with love—love yourself, love the world, love other people. 

The eight lessons are meant to illustrate how she achieved success in her life. The first of the lessons is discipline. She talks about the discipline she had growing up in a large family, such as doing her best, making her parents proud and not letting anyone down. This discipline she carried over into her modeling career. 

Gisele considers challenges as opportunities in disguise. In her 20s, she felt like a hamster on a wheel. She was always rushing to a new job, smoking, eating junk food when she ate and drinking wine to relax at night. Her crisis came when she began having panic attacks in 2003 after a bumpy ride on a small plane in Costa Rica. Only after she had thoughts of suicide did she seek help. Still, not wanting to be addicted to pills, she rejected the ones prescribed by the doctor. Her solution was to begin to take yoga classes, a practice she has continued throughout her life. 

Her father once told her that the quality of your life depends on the quality of your relationships. Gisele has taken this advice to heart and tries to have quality relationships with everyone around her, especially herself. She believes that our thoughts have the ability to help or harm us. Self-awareness is important in determining the quality of our lives.

These three lessons and the others that Gisele believes in are not necessarily new, but they are put together in an organized way so that you can understand where she gets the strength to maintain her prominence in the demanding world of fashion, and at the same time enjoy her life with her children and her husband. While she doesn’t have a lot to say about her husband, in the chapter on relationships she maintains that Tom is the cool, calm, collected one while she is much more emotional. She believes they complement each other in this way. 

Whether she is talking about her family, their diet or her relationships, Gisele Bündchen is passionate about her beliefs. She works tirelessly for the betterment of the environment. She created the LUZ Foundation to support her commitment to social and environmental issues. She is especially interested in promoting clean water and protecting the waterways. 

Gisele’s fans can check out the YouTube videos in which she promotes her book Lessons to get an idea of her personality.