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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 July 17, 2019

              The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

              The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

              What happens in our heads when we set goals?

              Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

              Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

              According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

              Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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              Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

              Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

              The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

              Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

              So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

              Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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              One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

              Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

              Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

              The Neurology of Ownership

              Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

              In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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              But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

              This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

              Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

              The Upshot for Goal-Setters

              So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

              On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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              It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

              On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

              But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

              More About Goals Setting

              Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

              Reference

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