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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

              Founding Director, Newlight Cinemas

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              Last Updated on September 20, 2018

              8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

              8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

              You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

              Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

              When you train your brain, you will:

              • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
              • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
              • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

              So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

              1. Work your memory

              Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

              When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

              If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

              The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

              Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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              Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

              What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

              For example, say you just met someone new:

              “Hi, my name is George”

              Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

              Got it? Good.

              2. Do something different repeatedly

              By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

              Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

              It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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              And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

              But how does this apply to your life right now?

              Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

              Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

              Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

              So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

              You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

              That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

              3. Learn something new

              It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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              For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

              Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

              You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

              4. Follow a brain training program

              The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

              5. Work your body

              You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

              Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

              Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

              Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

              6. Spend time with your loved ones

              If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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              If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

              I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

              7. Avoid crossword puzzles

              Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

              Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

              Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

              8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

              Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

              When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

              So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

              The bottom line

              Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

              Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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