Years ago I recall reading a book called ‘Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff – And Its All Small Stuff’ by Richard Carlson. I was on a flight from Singapore to Chennai. It was a short easy to read book and I finished it in no time. As I reflected on its message about how everything we do and encounter is insignificant I felt a deep sense of relaxation and fell asleep. A rarity for me when I fly.
It was relaxing to be absolved of a sense of responsibility about trying to overreach yourself when you are told to not sweat the small stuff a.k.a details.
If you have read even a few self help books then you know this for a fact: There is a lot that gets said under the garb of peak performance, self help, personal productivity, psychology etc.
But one thing most authors agree and which research in psychology has confirmed is the enormous impact of self esteem on one’s life. The long and short of self esteem is that it is made up of three components: Self Ideals, Self Concept and Self Esteem.
Tim Sanders was a bright kid who despite coming from a broken family thrived at school and won scholarships and was looking forward to a bright future. Though his grandmother Billye was his driving force, his loving father was his ballast and foundation. His world came crashing down the day his father was murdered. Tim lost faith, lost his passion and started drifting. He calls these his sideways years.
One of the most important factors that helped him recover his faith, his stride and not only get back into the game but thrive at it happened to be a book…’Think & Grow Rich’.
This started him on a virtuous loop. His mornings were dedicated to reading great books from the scriptures to inspirational stuff. Good books created good thoughts which in turn lead to good actions.
In his book “Today We Are Rich” Tim Sanders reiterates the importance of feeding your mind good stuff. We all know the importance of reading good books but at the same time we all need to be reminded too. Tim does the reminding very effectively with his fresh and engaging style. It includes personal anecdotes from his own life and that of others that drives home the need to read.
Books give you a depth of thought lacking in blog posts, magazine articles etc.
Like in everyone’s life I had a spell of drifting. For several months in a row I neglected my blog. I simply stopped writing and posting. While I had no good reason to explain that the longer I went without blogging the harder it appeared for me to get back into it.
This is the 3rd blog post I am writing in one month. What finally helped me get back into my game was a conversation with the devil specifically Napolean Hill’s latest book ‘Outwitting The Devil’. In it he dealt at length with drifting. A sore topic for me. This book inspired me to take action. It was another book that inspired me to start this blog several years ago, ‘Flight plan’ by Brian Tracy.
Books have that power. Not only can they educate you, they can inspire you into taking action.
This is true for everyone whether you realize it or not. If you are reading this you have achieved a certain level of traditional schooling and what was it that gave you knowledge besides your teacher.
Traditional schooling books are not even a quarter as valuable as the books you will read after you reach a certain maturity in your life. This is so in all areas of your life from specialized education, spiritual awakening to inspiration.
Readers are leaders
Below are a few books so good they have a place in my home library:
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari – by Robin Sharma
Awaken The Gian Within – by Anthony Robbins
Unlimited Power – by Anthony Robbins
Flightplan – by Brian Tracy
Your Best Life Now – by Joel Osteen
The Magic Of Thinking Big – by David J Schwartz
The Bhagvad Gita
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – by Stephen Covey
First Things First – by Stephen Covey
How To Get Rich – by Felix Dennis
How To Win Friends & Influence People – by Dale Carnegie
How To Stop Worrying & Start Living – by Dale Carnegie
Rhinoceros Success – by Scott Alexander
Advanced Rhinocerology – by Scott Alexander
Think & Grow Rich – by Napolean Hill
Flight Plan – by Brian Tracy
Talent Is Overrated – by Geoff Calvin
Re Inventing Yourself – Steve Chandler *****
Please post your favorites.
All of us that read this post can benefit from it.
Remember the story Dr. Jekyll and Hyde. It is about a man with two opposing characters, one during the day and one at night. We all have a bit of that in us. There is the devil tempting us to our weaknesses and the good trying to lift us from gravity. These are not in balance. In fact a majority of us, about 98% have more of the devil.
Napolean Hill defines the devil as the negative energy that lives within our minds in his new book “Outwitting The Devil”. A book that is remarkably relevant to our times.
You may wonder how that is possible given that Napolean Hill had been dead for more than 4 decades. Napolean Hill was always ahead of his times. In his book ‘Think & Grow Rich” he popularized the concept of the mastermind. His new book was so far ahead of his time that both Napolean and his wife feared the book would provoke adverse reactions.
The devil is not one that we will encounter in our afterlife but one who is right within us. It is the devil that causes us to over indulge in sex, alcohol, drinking, gambling, gossiping, temper tantrums, etc. It is the devil at play when we come back from and plop on the sofa to watch TV neglecting to spend time with the kids or postpone paying our bills. Lest you think you have no responsibility in this at all Napolean reminds us that it is we that willingly let the devil into our lives.
It is the drifters that attract the devil and unless they discover how adrift they are, remain adrift with the devil until the end of their lives.
What defines a drifter. A drifter is a person that lets the environment fashion him. A drifter is a person that accepts whatever life gives him. A drifter does not go against the tide, he does not put in the effort or the sacrifice.
The most important factor to prevent getting adrift with the devil is accurate thinking per Napolean Hill. Once a person starts drifting it gets harder and harder the longer he is adrift. There is hope though. Napolean lists the following things that he can do to get back on trail:
- A major definite purpose
- Self discipline
- learning from adversity/failure
- controlling environmental influence
- developing the habits of positive thinking over negative
Lets face it. To become successful at anything is hard, very hard.
Which is why success is so uncommon and the world bounds in “average”.
But why make “success” harder than it has to be.
In our journey to become a more successful employee, entrepreneur,
parent etc a majority of us trip ourselves on this common every day
What is it?
Let me start with a personal story.
When I first purchased the Wii game console I used to hook it up to my
TV in a very cumbersome manner. Cables running from the front of the
TV to the Wii and from there to the power outlet.When not used it lay
next to the TV boxed up but still in a conspicuous mess. Whenever we
needed to use it I had to open the box, get the Wii out, plug all the
cables in, etc. Now I am not a lazy guy but this task was so
unappealing the Wii remained practically brand new months into the
We rarely used the console. Not because we did not like playing with
it but because it was so darn inconvenient to open the box, remove the
console, connect it to the TV and power outlet and finally get it to
Note the key message:
We did not use it because it was inconvenient
The situation changed shortly after I purchased a new home theater receiver.
I connected the Wii to the TV through the receiver. Suddenly the messy
cables disappeared. The Wii was no longer packed away in a box when
not used. It remained connected all the time. What happened next was
like the difference between day and night. The Wii became a fixture in our lives.
Not only did we use the Wii more often. We also made more use of its
functionality. I now connected my Wii to my wireless receiver and got
to watch internet on my TV.
The wireless receiver had been there even before I purchased my Wii.
So was the TV. Yet the Wii was rarely used for almost an year.
We finally made good use of our investment in the various gadgets by
making one simple adjustment:
We made the Wii easy to use
Success is hard, very hard. But you could come in your own way and
make it worse by making our lives more inconvenient in areas that
matter. I am not talking about being disorganized. Before I hooked up
the Wii to my home theater receiver I was organized, it just was not a
convenient arrangement though.
Notice the leverage I got by making just the Wii more convenient to use.
I did not have to make the wireless receiver anymore convenient.
I did not have to make the TV any better. It was still the same 10 year old TV.
With two very active toddlers and a full time job I made it easy and
convenient to give my son his twice daily antibiotic medication for 10 days without missing
a single dose. How did I do it. I just placed measuring cups at
several places in the bedroom. On more than one occasion it was these
reminders that helped serve the dose.
Think about the goals in your life that could use more convenience.
One of my goals is to be physically fit. So I visit the fitness center
at my workplace. It is not a fancy one but the convenience of walking
to it from my desk sure beats anything else and is what helped me
become a regular fixture there.
Perhaps managing your finances is an important goal for you. You could
do what I had been doing, trying to remember to transfer whatever
money was left at the end of the month into a savings account. I
forgot to do this more often than I remembered. Fortunately my wife
had more common sense than I and suggested an automatic transfer. Now
I don’t miss a single month. It is done automatically for me. So
Take out your sheet of goals. If you don’t have one then write them
down. Then review your goals and think about how you can add
conveniences to your life so that you can finally accomplish your
goals. It could be setting up email reminders, disconnecting the
cable, putting your running shoes on the side of the bed you get off
every morning, and so on.
Don’t make achieving success harder than it has to be.