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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 March 25, 2020

              How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

              How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

              Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

              However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

              Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

              Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

              Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

              In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

              What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

              To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

              The Biology

              Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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              Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

              The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

              A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

              Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

              So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

              Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

              Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

              Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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              Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

              The Psychology

              Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

              Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

              Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

              Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

              What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

              Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

              Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

              1. Identify Your Habits

              As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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              2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

              Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

              It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

              3. Apply Logic

              You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

              Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

              4. Choose an Alternative

              As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

              Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

              5. Remove Triggers

              Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

              Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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              6. Visualize Change

              Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

              For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

              7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

              Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

              Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

              Final Thoughts

              Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

              Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

              More About Changing Habits

              Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

              Reference

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