Living a life through books

Episode 7, part I – I’m different now

Hello again.  This is Dr. Shahnaz Ahmed with living a life through books.  This is a two part episode.  Here’s a bit of background.  When I started thinking seriously about this podcast and began developing the framework and content for the episodes, it was in June of this year. At that time, I was asking some friends about what they wanted to hear or what they wanted me to talk about and instead of giving me a topic, my friend asked, “Are there any books that have changed your life?”  I answered, “Oh yes!  Absolutely.” “Then why don’t you talk about that?” Ooooh.  Interesting.  That would be a good topic.  And I thought, “why not?”  So, that’s the topic for today.  However, I did say that this was a two-part episode.

Well, I got the topic idea in June and I started making notes and working on this episode soon after.  Due to factors I could not control, my podcast start date got pushed back by a few months and essentially, the the recording of the episode got pushed back as well, but the writing and the notes of this episode was done in June.  So, here I am in September actually recording my episodes and reviewing all my notes before recording and I came to this episode and as I read through it, it just didn’t sit well with me.  This was about books that had changed my life.  Well, for starters, I had discussed one of my all time changed my life book, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.  That was accurate enough.  But in June, I had written about You are a Badass as one of the books that had changed my life and here I am in September thinking, well, it was great and all, but changed my life?  I don’t know. Why would I mention that book in this category?  So, I thought about it some more and decided that to keep it within less than 10 minutes an episode, I would split this episode into books that changed my life and books that changed my life temporarily.  I thought I would discuss the longevity potential of a book.  So, that will be episode part two.

Gosh.  With all that said, here we are finally starting the episode about books that have changed my life.  First off I would like to say that books have a tremendous ability to change your life.  For me, those books have mostly fallen in the self-help or motivation category.  Makes sense right?  Self-help ie help yourself and that will change your life!  Anyway, without too much rambling, let’s get to the books.  This one I already mentioned and have mentioned in previous episodes and will continue to mention – Robin Sharma’s The Monk who sold his Ferrari.  This book spoke to me and was able to take me to a different plane of existence.  I have mentioned this book on the re-read podcast.  I mention this book so much, it may seem like it’s the only book I’ve ever read!  I told you folks that I had read the book twice and the third time, I took notes and this way I feel like I have soaked in all the concepts of the book.

The book starts off with the story of this very successful lawyer who had a heart attack and then pretty much disappears off into the Himalayas or something like that.  I know I read the book and took notes, but I didn’t take notes about this lawyer or his story so bear with me if I’m making minor errors in that.  So, this lawyer guys goes out and lives with the monks and returns a renewed person. Essentially he’s telling his other friend, another lawyer the secret to how he became so inspired to live a fulfilled life.

Sure the book talks about eating healthy, reading, exercise.  But the thing I got from the book that changed my life was about thoughts and meditation.  I was able to understand the importance of keeping positive thoughts at all times. Easier said than done, but it’s something that I’m more aware of.  The other thing is that I was able to meditate after reading that book.  I would tweak the “heart of a rose” meditation idea to suit myself.  So, heart of the rose meditation was this concept of focusing on one object, the rose, in this case and being able to strengthen your mind by increase the time you spend on that focus.  Well, I substituted my violin instead and I would just stare at it, all the grains in the wood and the way it was carved and all that jazz.  So, I got decent at meditation.  Meditation improves your life drastically and even changes it.  I would add the exercise of putting positive images into my brain so I would feel weighless because I would feel a surge of energy.  Of course, I wasn’t literally weight less.  This is not hocus pocus.  It’s just a concept of clearing your brain of all negative thoughts and filling it with the positive ones instead.  Does that change your life?  You bet your bottom dollar it does.

Do I still do it? Unfortunately, no.  Why not?  Because I’m lazy and I’m a human and I need to get back to focusing on myself.  Well, reading is a great start.  With work and life, we tend to forget the important things – ourselves and our mental health.  I feel, in today’s world we spend our time focused on things we think are important – our careers and making money so we can afford the lifestyle congruent with keeping up with the Jones.  We follow these things blindly and almost like a prisoner on shackles and there’s always that concept of what would be do if we didn’t have these shackles on us.  If money and making a living was not the objective, what would we do?  For me, I’m coming in to myself.  I can’t tell you that the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is the reason for this podcast, but that book did help me with tweaking my brain and if I’m ever in a bind or stressed out, it’s my way to refocus on whatever is important to me.

I just want to clarify that you don’t have to follow every word or every concept in a book for a book to be held on the pedestal of having changed your life.  If you use even one concept consistently from a book, then I would say that the book has changed you.  For me, Covey’s book, the 7 habits of highly successful people, it’s just one of those things that flash before you ever so often.  When I’m in my office and I have a ton of paperwork to deal with, I think to myself.  First things, first.  I am somehow given an understanding that I need to do the more boring but important things first.  As I go through life, I may pull up a little tidbit I learned in one book or the other. I do not have a list of every book and every tidbit I have used, but for now, I will leave you with 2 books – The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and 7 Habits.

I do want to clarify that the act of reading a book will not change your life, but following some of the advice in the books can.  The act of consistently reading, has changed my life though.  I am propelled in the direction of I can do this.  If I can do this…I can do more and more.  It’s a grounding factor.  Will it work the same way for you?  I don’t know.  But it’s worth a try.  Don’t you think.

That’s it for this episode. Stay tuned in 2 weeks for part 2 of this episode.  For now, this is Dr. Shahnaz Ahmed with Living a life through books, signing off. Remember to water the seeds within you. It’s time.

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