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6 Books That Changed My Life

6 Books That Changed My Life

“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”

― Franz Kafka

Books inspire me and have always been my refuge to conflicts in life. Here are the 6 books that challenged my perspectives and wiped of my stringent notions.

1. The Road Less Travelled by Scott Peck

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    Simply, buy this book for the path towards enlightenment in a spiritual way that encapsulates your personal growth. This book never gives you easy solutions to the conflicts, it simply says; “Legitimate suffering is part of life” and leaves you with better insights to lead a fulfilled life.

    Profound wisdom in a nutshell

    –       If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem

    –       Route to reality is not easy

    –       Desire to love is not love – Love is both an intention and action

    –       We cannot be source of strength unless we nurture our strength

    –       My feeling of love may be unbounded, but my capacity to be loving is limited

    –       An attempt to avoid legitimate suffering is the root cause of emotional illness

    –       When I genuinely love I am extending myself, and when I am extending myself I am growing. Genuine love is self-replenishing. The more I nurture the spiritual growth of others, the more my own spiritual growth is nurtured. I am a totally selfish human being. I never do something for somebody else but that I do it for myself.

    –       Individual growth and societal growth are interdependent

    2. The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann

    TheGo-Giver

      I didn’t even expect that such a small book could make a huge difference in my approach towards life. It simply says, “Give” and go on explaining 5 profound laws that directs the mankind and concludes that there is always a truth in the opposite.

      Profound wisdom in a nutshell

      –       What you focus is what you get

      –       Giving leads to receiving

      –       World is just a reflection of you

      –       Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment

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      –       If you want more success, find a way to serve more people; it is just that simple

      –       Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them

      –       Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interest first

      –       The point is not what you do. Not what you accomplish. It’s who you are.

      3. Tao Te ching by Lao tzu

      lao tzu

        Tao Te Ching is one of the finest books on philosophy written by Lao Tzu, a Chinese philosopher and a Poet. It’s profound, intriguing and soul stirring. Read it and get in touch with the enlightening insights that give you enough thrills to pursue your life vigorously.

        Profound wisdom in a nutshell

        –       Rid yourself of desires to know the secrets

        –       Adapt the nothing; because change is permanent

        –       By virtue of nothing, you gain something

        –       Way is vague and unclear; but still you have to follow; substance will be found – not to worry.

        –       He who brags will have no merit; he who boasts will not endure

        –       Good man is the teacher the bad learns form; and the bad man is the material the good works on.

        –       Whoever lays hold of empire will lose it.

        –       Anything that goes against the way will come to an end.

        –       A man of highest virtue does not keep to virtue and that is why he has virtue

        –       A man of the lowest virtue never strays from virtue and that is why he is without virtue.

        –       Excessive meanness leads to great expense

        –       Too much store is sure to end in immense loss

        –       There is no crime greater than having too many desires

        –       There is no misfortune greater than being covetous

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        –       Never attempt to be great, that is the only way in becoming great

        –       Keep a thing in order before disorder sets in

        –       One who excels in fighting is never roused by anger

        –       One who excels in employing others humbles himself before them.

        4. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

        the power of habit

          I never knew habits play such an important role in shaping our future until I read this book. It simply says, you are what your habits are, and also suggests the proven techniques to generate new habits that alter our lifestyle and eventually our life. A must read for everyone to understand the intricacies of the habits.

          Profound wisdom in a nutshell

          –       Brain converts sequence of action into an automatic routine

          –       Cue-routine-reward; Habit loop

          –       Brain makes almost any routine into a habit

          –       The problem is that brain can’t tell the difference between good and bad habits

          –       Since we often don’t recognize these habit loops as they grow, we are blind to our ability to control them.

          –       The brain can be reprogrammed; you just have to be deliberate about it.

          –       If you want to change the habit, you must find an alternative routine

          –       If you genuinely believe in people that they have what it takes to succeed, they will prove you right

          –       If you dress a new something in old habits, it’s easier for the public to accept it

          –       To market a new habit – make it familiar

          –       Every habit, no matter how complex is malleable

          –       Habits can be changed; if you understand how can they function

          5. The power of myth by Joseph Campbell

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            Myths – clues to the spiritual potentialities of human life; this was a revelation

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            The Power of Myth is a book based on the conversations between mythologist Joseph Campbell and journalist Bill Moyers. Believe me, it is such an astounding book that gives you a thorough understanding of the intriguing elements of life such as life, death, love, marriage etc. and leaves you spellbound.

            Profound wisdom in a nutshell

            –       Man should not submit to the powers from outside but command them

            –       Myth is a manifestation of symbolic energy

            –       The dream is an inexhaustible source of spiritual information about yourself

            –       Myth is the public dream, dream is the private myth

            –       The mystery of life is beyond all human conception

            –       World is based on duality

            –       Eternity isn’t even a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is here – if you don’t get it here, you can’t get it anywhere

            –       Myths must be kept alive and the people who can keep them are artists

            –       Nature echoes in you, because you are nature

            –       Our true reality is in our identity and unity with all life

            –       A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself

            –       When we quit thinking primarily about our own self-preservation and ourselves. We undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.

            –       Desire is the bait, death is the hook

            –       Follow your bliss – Find where it is, don’t be afraid to follow it

            –       The passage to fulfillment lies between the perils of desire and fear.

            –       Your life is the fruit of your own doing

            –       The greater life’s pain, the greater life’s reply

            –       The demon that you can swallow gives you its power.

            –       The images of myth are reflections of the spiritual potentialities of every one of us. Through contemplating these, we evoke their powers in our own lives.

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            –       If my guiding divinity is brutal; my decisions will be brutal as well

            –       By expansion, your ego diminishes, your conscious expands

            6. The science of getting rich by Wallace. D. Wattles

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              I have my own misconceptions of getting rich till I read this book. All were cleared off and made a huge difference in my life after knowing some of the secrets mentioned in this book. Read it, for it teaches you to become rich, not instantaneously but strategically.

              Profound wisdom in a nutshell

              –       Moral and spiritual greatness is possible only to those who are above the competitive battle for existence.

              –       The very best thing you can do for the whole world is to make the most of yourself

              –       People must be taught to become rich by creation, not competition

              –       Never ever compel your will on others

              –       You must know what you want, and be specific and definite

              –       Grateful mind is constantly fixed upon the best, therefore it tends to become the best

              –       Getting rich is not the result of doing certain things; it is the result of doing things in a certain way.

              –       An ounce of doing things is worth a pound of theorizing.

              –       Give everyone more in use value than you take from him in cash value. Then you are adding to the life of the world by every business transaction.

              –       If you are in a business which does beat people, get out of it at once

              –       You can only get what is yours by giving the other person what is rightfully his.

              –       Do not wait for a change of environment, before you act. Create a change of environment by your action

              –       Be the best in things you do, then you will accomplish the best. In turn you will be the best.

              Note: The Points mentioned here are just the bits of insights I gained from the above books and I’m sure you would find much more insights. Go ahead and grab them, you will never regret.

              Featured photo credit: book via pixabay.com

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              KAMAL SUCHARAN BURRI

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              Last Updated on November 27, 2020

              15 Office Design Tricks That Will Increase Your Productivity at Work

              15 Office Design Tricks That Will Increase Your Productivity at Work

              Where you work has an enormous impact on how you work – on your ability to focus (and stay focused) and your overall ability to be productive. That means the design of your office, whether you work at home or in a larger company environment, is of supreme importance. This isn’t just about Feng Shui, this is about producing results and getting things done.

              According to studies done on workplace and productivity, the most significant factor in determining an employee’s ability to focus is their physical environment. In fact, it’s been said that a well-designed office can increase your productivity about 20%. However, despite the studies and statistics, nearly half of the employers interviewed don’t consider workplace design a good business investment.

              So what is a productivity hack to do? What if you work in an environment that doesn’t promote focus?

              Check these 15 factors and make changes where you can. A little adjustment can produce a lot of impact.

              Lighting

              Lighting is one of the most important factors in staying focused and feeling inspired to create, yet it’s one of the most overlooked and least invested in. Bad lighting can cause fatigue, eyestrain, headaches and overall irritability. Dark spaces can actually produce depression.

              If you work in a company office:
              You probably have no control over your general lighting so bring in your own, if need be. Consider using natural light bulbs or a light therapy device.

              If you work from a home office:
              Open the windows and doors and let natural light in. Using lamps in a variety of areas for cloudy days or when it’s dark.

              Chair and Table

              If you’ve ever sat at a desk to do work but found yourself adjusting, stretching and moving too often to actually stay focused, then you’re aware of the importance of having a correctly fitted table and chair. In today’s work environment where so many of us are sitting for most of our day, it is critical that your throne fits your body probably.

              Consider these quick ergonomic checks:

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              • Eyes 24-36 inches from the computer screen. The top of the monitor should be below or at eye-level.
              • Feet should be on a foot rest or resting on the floor.
              • A slightly reclined chair posture is best to reduce pressure on your spine and minimize lower back pain.

              If you work in a company office:
              Ask for an adjustable chair. Add pillows for your lower back or bum, if you need it. Many companies will also provide risers for computers to adjust the height of your computer screen (and a separate keyboard to keep your hands and wrists in the ideal position)

              If you work from a home office:
              Invest in a decent chair or at least use a few pillows to make the chair more comfortable. If the table is too high, add pillows to your chair. If it is too low, consider buying leg risers from your local hardware store and using books beneath your computer to raise the screen. Use a separate keyboard.

              Clutter

              Your mama was right, it’s important to clean up your room. Clutter may help the creative mind create, but it isn’t necessarily helpful for focus and productivity.

              If you work from a company office: While you can’t control the cleanliness of the office at large, do keep your own environment around you clean. Spend 10 minutes every morning or evening making sure things are put away, filed, organized and generally out of sight so you’re not distracted by it later.

              If you work from a home office: Because you work from home, the entire house or apartment is potential for distraction. If you can afford it, hire a professional cleaning service to keep your home clean. If not, schedule a specific day and time to clean your home. Commit to doing daily pickup at a specific time. And spend at least 10 minutes every day making sure your office  is organized and tidy.

              Room Color

              The colors around us all have an effect on our moods and brain function. It evokes both a physical and emotional response. So choosing the right colors for your work space has the ability to affect your productivity. For instance, blue has been said to illicit productivity. Mind you, too much of anything can be overwhelming, even color.

              If you work from a company office: Bring in items from home that are a certain color that inspire you and keep you focused. Use postcards, magazine cutouts, even just blocks of color will do.

              If you work from a home office: If you work from home, you have much more control over the colors around you. Consider repainting a wall, adding color to the table you work at, or hanging pictures that are dominated by a specific color.

              Room Temperature

              Most offices keep their temperatures around 65-68 Fahrenheit but it turns out that this might not be good for productivity. Warmer rooms actually make people more productive.

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              If you work from a company office: Most offices are regulated by somebody else, so bring a space heater, sweaters and blankets to your work space.

              If you work from a home office: Depending on the season, open the windows or adjust the heat or a/c so that you’re more comfortable and warm. Pile on the sweaters in the winter or add a space heater to your feet.

              Room Scents

              Like the color of the space you work in, our sense of smell can powerfully affect our mood, mindset and thus our productivity. Consider adding scents to your work space to jar your mind into focus when you start to notice yourself drifting off.

              Try using these scents to stay focused:

              • Pine – Increases alertness
              • Cinnamon – Improves focus
              • Lavender – Helps to relax you during a stressful work day
              • Peppermint – Lifts your mood
              • Citrus (any) – Wakes you up  and lifts your spirits

              If you work from a company office: Most people will not appreciate added scents to their work environment so you’ll need to keep it subtle. Keep essential oils in your bag or drawer and when you’re in need of a boost put a few drops on a handkerchief or cotton ball.

              If you work from a home office: Use candles, incense or essential oils. You can also simmer herbs and spices in the kitchen to fill your home with a warm scent.

              Noise Level

              The noise level in a work environment can vary greatly depending on the size of the team you work with, the office design and company culture. But make no mistake, the noise around you affects your ability to stay on task. Not only can it be distracting, it can also raise stress levels making your ability to sustain productivity far more difficult.

              If you work from a company office: Bring in noise cancellation headphones and use music services like Spotify or Songza and choose concentration boosting sounds, like white noise.  Find out if your office offers quiet work spaces for times when you need the utmost focus.

              If you work from a home office: Sometimes the complete quiet can be as distracting as an office. Use a service like Coffivity to mimic the noise of a coffee shop, which has been said to help with concentration.

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              Air Quality

              Air quality can drastically affect our ability to focus and think clearly. Get this: OSHA estimates that the total annual cost of poor air quality in office environments costs employers $15 billion “due to worker inefficiency and sick leave.” Yeah, it’s serious business.

              If you work from a company office: Talk to them about installing air filters. If there is a way to bring in fresh air through windows or doors, arrange to have them opened for at least a portion of the day. If nothing else, get a personal air filter to have on your desk or nearby.

              Also, get a plant (or better yet, have the company buy and use more plants in the office!). Plants are great at filtering the air and providing clean, purified oxygen.

              If you work from a home office: Open windows and doors and let in the fresh air. Install an air filter or get a portable air filter to keep near your desk. And, yes, you too should get a plant.

              Different Spaces

              If you can manage it, give yourself more than one space to work from. Putting yourself in a new space with different qualities and things to look at quite literally shifts your brain and helps you stay focused.

              If you work from a company office: Many offices offer a variety of environments to work from: your personal space, lobbies, break out rooms, conference rooms, kitchens and eating areas and, if you’re lucky, they also provide lounge areas. Use all these spaces to vary your routine. Make sure your supervisor knows so they don’t think you’re slacking off and know tat you’re actually getting more done!

              If you work from a home office: If you work at a desk, add a comfortable couch or chair to the room. If your space is less flexible or ultra tiny, think about more creative ways to change your work space. Rotate the pictures on your walls every couple of days. Sit on the other side of your desk. Get a lamp and multiple colored bulbs. Or go work at a café, the library or in a park.

              Organization of People

              Most employers organize employees around job function or in specific divisions. Instead, studies show that people are more creative and productive when they are sitting with colleagues that share the same goal or client. Not only are you able to get answers and generate solutions quicker, but because you’re directly accountable to the people around you, you’re more likely to stay on task and productive.

              If you work from a company office: Ask your employer if you can experiment by clustering your group together in a conference room for a day or a week. Get feedback from everybody involved. Show the results. If your company won’t make permanent adjustments, perhaps they’ll allow you to work together a couple times a week when the conference room or lounge area is free.

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              If you work from a home office: This is a little bit more difficult because when you work at home you’re not with colleagues. You can recreate a similar space digitally, however. Create a Skype group and have everyone logged in during working hours. You can do morning accountability and check-ins while remaining available for questions, solution-finding and general banter that promotes creativity.

              Idea Storage

              Ever been working hard when you’re suddenly distracted by a great idea? At first you try to push it away, but then the next thing you know you’re 20 pages deep into an online search on the topic. Ideas should be encouraged and cultivated, but when they come right in the middle of another task it can be incredibly distracting. Instead, create a place to store your ideas that’s easily accessed from your work space.

              For both a company and home office: Keep pads of paper around, have a chalk wall, get a white board – when you have a spark of inspiration write it down right away to get it out of your head then return to the task at hand. Then, at the end of the day or when you have free time, collect all the ideas and review them. With a little time and space you can better decide if it’s worth pursuing or better to leave it on the back-burner.

              Refreshment

              Our brain needs nourishment to keep going, especially when we’re driving hard and staying focused. You can let a rumbling stomach go on for only so long before the brain shuts down. Assuming your different is like wanting your car to keep driving without having to stop and fill it with gas. A novel idea, but not realistic.

              If you work from a company office: Pre-make snacks for the day and/or week. Or, bring in prepackaged snacks. Keep in mind that junk food has properties of diminishing returns so if you’re buying your food prepackaged think nuts, fruit, unsweetened yogurts, and hummus and crackers. Likely, your company provides coffee, tea and water so you don’t have to worry about supplying that for yourself.

              If you work from a home office: If you work from home, this can be a key distraction. Try to reduce the number of times you walk into the kitchen each day. To do this, keep quick and   easy snacks pre-made or prepackaged ready and near your desk. Keep a water bottle nearby. And consider bringing a kettle into your office and stocking tea and coffee so you’re   not tempted to wander around the house and lose time poking through the pantry.

              Bring in Nature

              We are biological creatures, first and foremost. So we are deeply affected by our access to (or lack of) the natural world. It’s important for our psychological and physiological functioning, which directly affects our ability to be productive.

              If you work from a company office: If you don’t have windows in or near your work space, bring in pictures of the outdoor world. Keep a picture of something natural as your screensaver and/or desktop wallpaper. Take walks outdoors at lunch or in between major tasks. Just a few minutes outside in the fresh air and sunshine can boost our mood and shake out the doldrums. Be sure to add a plant to your desk, too!

              If you work from a home office: Keep the shades open and, if you can, let in fresh air. If you can’t see anything natural out of your window, keep pictures of the natural world as your screensaver and/or desktop wallpaper. Take walks. Or, just step outside and put your feet on the ground. Put plants in your office – research shows that having live plants in your office makes you more productive, happier and less stressed.

              Digital Space

              For most people, our primary work is housed within our laptops and our physical environment simply the backdrop to our digital lives. Make sure your computer has software that helps you sculpt the digital environment that best elicits productivity. Use focus apps like this one or this to decrease distractions. Or design your day using intervals with an app like this one to keep you at your peak focus throughout the day.

              Featured photo credit: Phil Desforges via unsplash.com

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