Archives

The book I will read every year

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari inspirational book

It’s a brand new year once again and this season is always filled with enthusiasm, mood for a fresh start, ‘material detox’, renewal and resolutions. Every time I think of coming up with New Year resolutions however, I noticed that I keep repeating the same things over again, which is a sad indication that I was not able to stick with them. So I decided to break up with this tradition and just vowed to always keep a list. Mobile apps don’t work well with me when it comes to organizing my life so I always carry a small notebook where I can jot down pretty much everything as I can be very forgetful, though at work I can be a walking directory.

There is one thing though that I never failed to do every year despite my New Year resolutions failure and that is to read Robin Sharma’s The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari book. I got this book as a gift in Kathmandu in 2014 though strangely I never heard of it before then, even if I read a lot on meditation and was surrounded with meditators. Honestly though, I wasn’t very eager to read the book when I got it because I thought it is another story of a person who gave up everything to become a monk and promotes a life void of any form of attachments. But when I did read it, I finished it in a day! It’s not the typical story that I expected nor about how to empty your mind. Instead, it offers insights on how to live a simple but passionate life, what truly matters, and teaches us the value of time.

I resolved to read this book every year to constantly remind myself of the lessons it offers. I find it a good grounding especially when I feel I’m slipping out of direction because it also offers practical guides on how to live a life of purpose. I won’t talk so much about its contents so as not to influence your impressions of it. However, I’m happy to share some of my favorite quotes from the book.

“Never overlook the power of simplicity.”

“You truly cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought – not even one.”

“…the best thing you can do for yourself is move beyond it.”

“…never get into the petty habit of measuring your self-worth against other people’s net worth.”

“You will never be able to hit a target that you cannot see.”

“The only limits on your life are those that you set yourself.”

“Fear is nothing more than a mental monster you have created, a negative stream of consciousness.”

“Never forget the power of music. Spend a little time with it every day… When you feel down, play some music. It is one of the finest motivators I know of.”

“…truly enlightened people never seek to be like others.”

“Live for today – there will never be another one quite like it.”

“Slow things down. Enjoy the beauty and sacredness of all that is around you. You owe this to yourself.”

“There is a huge difference between making a lot of money and making a lot of life.”

“Starting today, learn more, laugh more and do what you truly love to do.”

Click here to see the list of the books I’ve read.

Books: Why I prefer paperback

Our generation has become rapidly digitalized. Nowadays many people read e-books, the digitization of the written word which began as early as 1971 through Project Gutenberg which was meant to archive cultural works. However, its popularity was not evident until 1993 when Peter James made his novel, Host, available on digital copy. So it took a novel for people to start embracing the concept of reading an e-book, huh.

Several of my friends have encouraged me to buy kindle. My answer was always a quick NO. Reading a book for me is “sacred” from smelling it to leafing through the pages and seeing progress in each chapter. It’s also my way of disconnecting from the internet. Reading e-books feels like I am still not fully disconnected from the digital world.

Through 6 years of living in Bangkok, I’ve hoarded a massive collection. I’m not into shopping so my place doesn’t have much stuff except books. I’ve grown attached to each one of them that against my friend’s suggestion to sell them, I decided to ship them all home.

Books Bangkok

Reading e-books has its advantages but since I haven’t read one, I am not the right person to comment. I do know that you can carry hundreds and thousands of books in just about 7-13 ounce, 4×7 inch e-readers.

While reading e-books has its advantages, studies show that reading paperbacks is better. The Guardian reports that based on a new Europe-wide research, readers absorb less on Kindles than on paper. The research found that, “the haptic and tactile feedback of a Kindle does not provide the same support for mental reconstruction of a story as a print pocket book does”.

TIME also highlighted the benefits of reading a “real” book stating it increases intelligence, boosts brain power, improves empathy, helps fight Alzheimer’s disease, helps you sleep among others.

I spent hundreds of dollars shipping all my books home but it’s all worth it. Those books will not only remind me of the wonderful time we shared in Bangkok, they are also treasures I can share with my future family (if I ever get married).


Are you proactive or reactive?

Stephen Covey’s book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” has been on my shelf for the past 6 months. Though I’ve started reading a few pages, still I couldn’t get myself to finish it. Just this morning, I was thinking of what worthwhile thing to do without getting off from bed and spotted his book lying on the shelf beside me. So, I pick it up and started reading from the last page I’ve read.

The page title says “Proactivity” Defined. I was reminded of what my officemate told me few days ago; our boss commented that he is not proactive. But what does ‘proactive’ means anyway? And what do we call a person who is not proactive?

As I read through, I got to figure out the best word to define how I have been behaving for more than a year now and the very reason why I couldn’t finish reading this book and all the other books in my shelf, “reactive”.

Below is an excerpt of the book to give you a glimpse of how Covey differentiates a proactive and reactive person.

Reactive people are driven by feelings, by circumstances, by conditions, by their environment. Proactive people are driven by values – carefully thought about, selected and internalized values.

Reactive people are affected by their social environment, by the “social weather”. When people treat them well, they feel well; when people don’t they become defensive and protective. Reactive people build their emotional lives around the behaviour of others, empowering the weaknesses of other people to control them.

Proactive people can carry their own weather with them. They are value driven; and if their value is to produce good quality work, it isn’t a function of whether the weather is conducive to it or not.

Reactive Language Proactive Language
There’s nothing I can do Let’s look at our alternatives
That’s just the way I am I can choose a different approach
He makes me so sad I control my own feelings
They won’t allow that I can create an effective presentation
I have to do that I will choose an appropriate response
I can’t I choose
I must I prefer
If only I will

There you have it! So what do you choose to act now, be proactive or reactive?

Source: Covey, S.R. The 7 Habit of Highly Effective People. 1989. Simon & Schuster, New York.