Book review- Letting Go : The Pathway To Surrender

After reading all the books on mindfulness, the secret behind staying in the present is letting go of the past. I searched for practical tips on letting go and found this book.
 
Hawkins gives you a different perspective towards how to approach life and explains each of them with examples on how it changed lives and quotes the research material wherever available. 
 
In retrospection, this is not a book to read as a nighttime story and get done with.I haven’t learnt letting go by the time I was done with it. There is no step by step instruction or everyday exercises which I can follow to make it a practice. That was a disappointment for me. Otherwise, the various other information about emotions and energy levels was quite useful for me as I have been searching for books on that topic since a very long time. According to my understanding, you are majorly stuck at one level, but we can fluctuate between various levels throughout the day. 
 
You can benefit from the book, if you read it for the first time to understand the content and pick it up again to read one concept at a time and absorb it deeply and make it a part of your identity before you move to the next one.
 

Detailed Review

 
Chapter 1 – Introduction
 
The foreword and preface were boring enough to question my choice of picking up the book. But when I read the plethora of options people choose to deal with life from psychotherapy to meditation and everything in between but nothing seems to work for them, that is when I fell in love with the book. I thought Hawkins was going to introduce me to something which I haven’t tried before. But after that he again bores you with high promises being made on how he is going to make your life better without coming to the point.
 
Chapter 2 – The Mechanism of Letting go
 
This chapter was mind opening for me. I wonder why no one taught how to handle emotions back at school. Hawkins says that there are three ways to handle emotions : suppression, expression and escape. If you ever wondered how Netflix sustains itself, it lives off on your need to escape from emotions.  All the heart attacks at a young age are from the repressed and suppressed feelings. You are mistaken like me if you thought expressing is the best way to deal with feelings. When you express, you are giving the feeling greater energy to take over your life and also the remnants of expression are going to be suppressed.
 
“Letting go involves being aware of a feeling, letting it come up, staying with it, and letting it run its course without wanting to make it different or do anything about it.”
 
Now this sounds so simple. But how to do it in real is why I picked this book. How do I know when I am resisting the feeling or letting it run its course?
 
“To be surrendered means to have no strong emotion about a thing: “It’s okay if it happens, and it’s okay if it doesn’t.”
 
Now this is the crux of Bhagavad Gita too, do your work and don’t expect the results.
 
Chapter 3 – The Anatomy of Emotions
 
Here is where it gets interesting. I only knew before that there are negative, neutral and positive emotions. But Hawkins introduces you to a scale of emotions with an energy tag for each of them. Lowest on the scale is Shame and highest is Peace. In this chapter, he only gives a brief description of each. Anything which is below the level of courage is negative. At the level of courage, you repairing one area of your life helps in other areas of life too.
 
Chapter 4 – Apathy and depression
 
Starting with this chapter, he gives a detailed description to give yourself a reality check on where you stand in the energy scale and what you can do to embrace the let go technique.
 
1.I can’t vs I won’t
 
“Most “I can’ts” are really “I won’ts.” Behind the “I can’ts” or the “I won’ts” is frequently a fear. Then, when we look at the truth of what is behind the feeling, we have already moved up the scale from apathy to fear.”
 
2.Blame – Playing the victim card
 
“One of the laws of consciousness is: We are only subject to a negative thought or belief if we consciously say that it applies to us. We are free to choose not to buy into a negative belief system.”
 
“when we let go of blame, we experience forgiveness.”
 
3.Getting the positive energy
 
“choose to be with other persons who have resolved the problem with which we struggle”
 
Chapter 5 – Grief
 
“ Acceptance is different from resignation. Resignation says, “I don’t like it, but I have to put up with it.”
 
“God, Grant me the
Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the
Courage to change the things I can, and the
Wisdom to know the difference.”
 
“Where am I looking to get love rather than to give it?”
 
“Internal joy comes from pleasure of giving and loving then we are really invulnerable to loss”
 
Chapter 6 – Fear
 
“What one holds in mind tends to manifest. What this means is that any thought which we consistently hold in mind and consistently give energy to will tend to come into our life according to the very form in which our mind has held it.”
 
“The more fear we hold, the more fearful situations we attract to our life”
 
Chapter 7 – Desire
 
“the essential point of freedom is whether we have chosen consciously to fulfil a certain want, or whether we are just being blindly run by unconscious programs and belief systems.”
 
“Desire, especially strong desire (e.g., cravingness), frequently blocks our getting what we want.”
 
“identify the goals and then let go of wanting them”
 
“the unconscious will allow us to have only what we think we deserve”
 
Chapter 8 – Anger
 
“The way to offset this anger is to acknowledge and relinquish the pride, surrender our desire for the pleasure of self-pity and, instead, view our efforts on behalf of others as gifts. We can experience the joy of being generous with others as its own reward.”
 
Chapter 9 – Pride
 
“The attempt to suppress pride out of guilt simply does not work.”
 
“Pride is sometimes seen as a motivator of achievement, what would be its higher level substitute? One answer would be joy. What is wrong with joy as the reward for successful achievement, rather than pride?”
 
Chapter 10 – Courage
 
This chapter doesn’t have any suggestions. It only talks about how great a state courage is to be in.
 
“On the level of courage, we really start becoming conscious. It dawns on us that we have the freedom and the capacity to choose.”
 
Chapter 11 – Acceptance
 
“I’m okay,” “You’re okay,” and “It’s okay.”
 
Chapter 12 – Love
 
“Forgiveness is an aspect of love that allows us to see life events from the viewpoint of grace.”
 
“Out of humility, all opinions about others are surrendered”
 
Chapter 13 – Peace
 
It is a state achieved by people like Buddha. Just good to know about it but might be impractical to reach it.
 
Chapter14-Chapter 20
 
From here on, it is loads of theory backed by research and examples. You can feel free to skip these chapters unless you are not convinced that letting go works.
 
Happy letting go!
 

Book Review – Steal Like An Artist

I came across Steal like an artist in the to-read list of a lot of creative giants. Only after reading it I understood how overrated it was. I would be lying if I said, I didn’t enjoy the style in which Kleon wrote the book. If I were to steal from an artist, it would be from Kleon. I will give a 5/5 for his writing style. But the content, it is old stuff in a new cover. If you constantly read self-help books, there is nothing new you will be learning in this book. I ended up highlighting the quotes which Kleon has sourced from different places to create a story rather than original points.
 
Nevertheless, here we go with the main concepts from the book.
 
“The writer Jonathan Lethem has said that when people call something “original”, nine out of ten times they just don’t know the references of the original.”
 
Kleon has collected so many such beautiful sentences which are the soul of the book.
 
“Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”
 
Steal like an artist is for those who were not listening while reading other books and might end up listening now.
 
“Hoarders collect indiscriminately, artists collect selectively.”
 
This is a gem. If you can keep this in mind, next time you save something, you know whether you are a hoarder or an artist.
 
“You are only going to be as good as the stuff you surround yourself with.”
 
Another way of saying you are the average of five people you are surrounded with.
 
“Chase down every reference.Go deeper than anybody else-that’s how you will get ahead.It’s not the book you start with, it’s the book that book leads you to.”
 
For those who don’t know how to research, this helps. Most of the books I end up reading are the books I started with. I pick up one concept from the book I read today and read a lot more to gain in depth knowledge.
 
“Collect books, even if you don’t plan on reading them right away.”
 
I collect 5 times the books I am capable of completing.
 
“They just show up to do their thing.”
 
Photography is all about creativity. When I first started, I was average but I was still showing up daily and posting pictures. One of my friends passed a comment on how art is about creating a masterpiece when you feel like and not creating average stuff daily. Today, she hardly pursues it while I am on my way to mastering it.
 
“First you have to figure out who to copy. Second you have to figure out what to copy.
Don’t just steal the style. Steal the thinking behind the style.”
 
This is another mistake which rookies make. They only see what is visible and not what the original creator’s thought process was.
 
“The best advice is not to write what you know, it’s to write what you like.”
 
I decided to write my next book on mindfulness so that I can get my hands dirty on this topic.
 
“Keep all your passions in life.”
 
For those who mock at you for being jack of all trades and master of none, you need to remember this. Creativity blooms when you can marry your hobbies with each other.
 
“Instead of keeping a rejection file, keep a raise file.”
 
I was too narcissistic at one time in my life that I actually had this documented. Just something to read when I feel low. 
 
Happy stealing from an artist!
 

Book Review – The Mindful Way Workbook

The Mindfulway workbook is an MBCT ( mindfulness based cognitive therapy). In addition to cognitive therapy, where you are expected to identify the negative chatter which runs through your mind, mindfulness brings awareness that the chatter is happening in this moment. The main aim of mindfulness is to help you identify the ego which is causing the chatter and thereby keeping depression and anxiety at bay.
 
MBCT has been tested on countless depressed patients and showed tremendous improvement in them. Just because it is a therapy, it is not just for dealing with trauma but a wonderful guide to learn to apply mindfulness in everyday life.
 
I discovered this book when I was searching for practical ways to lead a mindful life. Once I went through the book, I discovered how I was already doing some of the practices mentioned in the book and how adding a few more to my everyday life can bring tremendous change. Even though they give you more than a doable number of tasks each week, I suggest that you start slow. Pick something small from all you have read. Do it for a week or a month. Once that becomes a part of your identity, pick up the next habit. 
 
Once I started following what was mentioned in the book, almost for 10 days, I experienced a sort of bliss which never happened to me anytime before. As always, when you try to do a lot of new things, you can’t sustain them for a long time. Now, when I could not keep up with so many new habits, my life went back to normal. Unless you are depressed and need immediate relief, the best way to use the book is pick up one idea at a time.
 
The key habits mentioned in the book are
 

  1. Body scan
  2. Bringing awareness to Routines
  3. Mindful eating
  4. Pleasant experiences calendar
  5. Mindfulness of Breathing
  6. 3 Minute breathing space
  7. Unpleasant experiences calendar
  8. Mindful stretching
  9. Sitting Meditation
  10. Mindful walking

 
Pick Mindful way workbook as the next book on mindfulness if you want some practical tips on mindfulness.
 
Happy Mindfulness!

Book Review – Eckhart Tolle -The Power of now

Power of Now was in my to-read list for 3 years. All I knew about it was the story of a man who went from suicidal feelings to a joyous life. In my pursuit of mindfulness, I ended up picking this as the first book.
 
The entire book revolves around one concept “Now”. The past is for regrets and the future is for anxiety. The only moment you have control over is now. But you are wasting it away in the past or future. 
 

Why should you read this book?

 
I felt motivated to stay in the present after reading the book. There are a few instances in the book where Tolle questions you and gives you tips to stay in the present which are quite helpful. Apart from that the book is mainly theory on mindfulness which helps you catch yourself from drifting. 
 
Two main concepts which influenced my life.
 
1.Timelessness
 
We measure time in seconds but when you stay in the present is when you go into timelessness. It sounds absurd but at the same time means so much.
 
2.Giving energy to an emotion
 
After reading the book, whenever I experience a negative emotion, I keep a check on what are the thoughts I am holding to which is providing energy to the emotion and fueling it. I don’t live in the present like Tolle but this sort of awareness will definitely help me get closer to it.
 
This book is not for someone who is looking for readymade solutions. It is like the textbook on mindfulness concepts.
 

Notes

 
“Have you found the off button?”
 
That’s a very strong question to which a lot of us have a wrong answer. We don’t switch off. We switch the channel. If only we learn how to off our minds whenever we wish our lives are so much under our control.
 
“Just become intensely conscious of the present moment”
 
This sounds like a very tough job. But he gives a practical way to do this. If you are walking, pay your complete attention to the steps, movement and breathing.
 
“Everytime you create a gap in the stream of mind, the light of your consciousness grows stronger”
 
If you have 100 thoughts bombarding you at the moment, if you can let go off the 101th thought, it is a little success to celebrate.
 
“80 to 90 percent of most people’s thinking is not only repetitive and useless but because its dysfunctional and often negative nature, much of it is also harmful”
 
When I did my thought tracker exercise a few years ago, I realised how I was wasting away my life worrying about the same things daily.
 
“To the ego, the present moment hardly exists. Only past and future are considered important.”
 
The very reason why we are either regretful or anxious.
 
“No-mind is consciousness without thought. Only in the way is it possible to think creatively, because only in that way does thought have real power”
 
Tolle explains the creative artists and scientists get their breakthroughs in no-mind state.
 
“Emotion arises at the place where mind and body meet”
“Research shows that strong emotions even cause changes in the biochemistry of the body”
 
“If you cannot feel your emotions, if you are cut off from them, you will eventually experience them on a purely physical level, as a physical problem or symptom”
 
It is one of the signs of the negative energy which is stuck in your head and shoulders as tension.
 
“What’s going on inside me at this moment? That question will point you in the right direction.”
 
“If there is no emotion present, take your attention more deeply into the inner energy field of your body”
 
This is one of the practical tip which helps you deal with identifying how emotion is affecting your body.
 
“Vibrational energy of the emotion keeps feeding the original thought pattern”
 
The very reason why you should be aware of that you and your mind are different entities and everything your mind says should not be bought.
 
“Pleasure is always derived from something outside you whereas joy comes from within.”
 
The reason why you are never satisfied with pleasure but joy makes you satisfied.
 
“The greatest part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life.”
 
If your mind dictates how you should feel, you have no control over your happiness.
 
“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present”
 
When you stay in a state of denial, you are stuck in the same thoughts which broods negativity.
 
“To complain is always non acceptance of what is”
 
A simple truth which is very difficult to follow.
 
“You attract and manifest whatever corresponds to your inner state”
 
While other self-help books simply tell this, here he explains how to check the sanity of your inner state.
 
“Feeling sorry for yourself and telling others your story will keep you stuck in suffering”
 
I definitely noticed how self-pity reduced once I stopped complaining about how bad my life is.
 
 
Check out the book here in case you want to give it a shot.
 
Happy staying in the present!
 

Book Review – 10% Happier

 
After reading Power of Now, I was in search of a book with practical advice on mindfulness. One of the suggestions was 10% happier. I started the book with a 10% increase in excitement to know how to implement the power of now. 
 
By the end of the first chapter, my excitement levels became neutral. I thought Dan Harris was introducing himself. But, near the end of the second chapter, I doubted if this book was about mindfulness or not. I wavered between giving up on the book and skimming through it. I felt it was not worth my time to read what Dan Harris did for a living and his experiences as a reporter were. There might be a lot of others who had that sort of free time to read about him and get to know Dan but I didn’t. My goal was clear. I wanted to understand how to live mindfully daily.
 
Luckily, I came across a page, how he sits up all through the night reading ‘A new earth’  by Eckhart Tolle. This reminded me how even I read Power of Now because I could not keep it aside. Finally, he gets to interview Eckhart, that is where the story gets interesting. Dan looks at Eckhart, the man who is spiritually awakened as an alien and whatever he says seems practically impossible. That is exactly how I felt about mindfulness as described in Power of Now. Later, when Dan meets Deepak Chopra, he realises how Eckhart was genuine and Deepak was just a fraud who claims to know it all but can’t practise the same in his life. While Eckhart has just one secretary, Deepak has an entire business product range to run. The funniest part of the story comes when Dan meets Vitale, who speaks in the DVD version of Secret. Vitale said that thinking should be coupled with action which is glaringly obvious. But they still made millions of dollars out of that.
 
In search of practical solutions, Dan gets introduced to works of Dr.Mark Epstein by his wife. After reading endlessly all the works of Epstein, he felt that Epstein conveyed the message in a more practical way than Tolle. As usual, Dan now goes on to interview him. Unlike the previous people he met, he found him human who just embraced Buddhism and implemented those principles in life. Through him, he gets introduced to meditation and a retreat program.
 
The crux of the book starts here. Dan goes on to describe the experiences he goes through in the process of meditating daily and how the retreat program went from undoable to bearable. Similar to Dan,I always wanted to go for a Vipassana retreat but I always feared it. I also went through a lot of arguments in my mind about meditation to make peace with it as it is today. In the next few chapters, as he talks about his journey I could empathize with him and felt that I am not alone in the journey of mindfulness and everyone else out there also goes through the same stages.
 
In the last few chapters, he talks about incidents how people took him to be weak and not so ambitious just because he is into spirituality. He beautifully explains and sets things right in his career by showing that going after mindfulness and being relaxed is not the same as being lackadaisical. 
 

Why should you read this book?


Throughout the time I was reading the book, there were multiple moments when I thought this is the line which my friends who think spirituality is pseudoscience should be reading.
 
You should read this book, if you want to understand how meditation has got nothing to do with religion or spirituality and how you can practise mindfulness as a normal human being. 
 
You should not read this book if you are looking for tips on how to meditate. This book is mostly about the journey of Dan. 
 
This book is best for those who are struggling to meditate and are not sure if they are on the right path. You will find a virtual companion through this book.
 
In case you plan on reading it, here is the Kindle version.
 
Happy becoming 10% happier!
 

Book Review – How to sit

Author : Thich Nhat
Print | Kindle
 
When you read the phrase ‘How to Sit’, it sounds quite funny. You have been doing this all your life and you wonder what is there to know about it now.
 
You should read this book to know how sitting in the right way can change your life. Thich Nhat explains the basics of where, how and why of sitting.
 
Where
 
You can sit anywhere. What do you do on your commute? Worry about every possible thing about life. Thich suggests that the best way to make use of commute time is by sitting.
 
How
 

  • Sit straight with your body relaxed.
  • Smile so that it relaxes your facial muscles.
  • Don’t sit with an expectation because you won’t be in the present moment then.
  • When you sit, you should be at ease, happy and relaxed.
  • You can use a bell to practise your attention on breathing.
  • Just sit daily. It will help you create a habit.
  • When you sit, you can name your feeling as a pleasant feeling and a painful feeling which is the first step in distancing the feeling from you.
  • Count one to ten for every breath, if you lose focus anywhere come back to one. This is not as easy as it sounds.
  • Use a clock and breathe with its rhythm.
  • You can use a notebook to write notes while or after sitting about thoughts or insights.
  • Sitting in a group helps in utilisation of collective energy.

Why
 

  • You need a stable posture to ground your mind.
  • An ease in sitting helps in nourishing the body and the mind.
  • Sitting and breathing mindfully will bring into your life – peace, clarity, compassion and courage.
  • It helps you weather storms like strong emotions.
  • It is not an obligation but daily nourishment like eating.
  • It develops concentration.

 
The book makes you ponder on whether there is so much to sitting. When was the last time you sat doing nothing? With no thoughts? Just sitting there and observing how you breathe?
 
He defines sitting as “sit in such a way that you enjoy sitting, to sit in a relaxed way, with your mind awake, calm, and clear.” Did you ever feel the union of mind, body and breath? Did you know that just by paying attention to your breath can make it calmer, deeper, and more harmonious all by itself?
 
The book doesn’t tell you something new but presents the known in a calm way. Reading the book itself provides a sense of calm and motivation to pursue meditation. The book doesn’t have long chapters. Just a paragraph or two in each chapter. You can finish the book in half an hour but the satisfaction it leaves makes you come back to it again. Because you feel that you lost something and there are certain concepts you have not mastered yet. 
 
It doesn’t talk about meditation as a tough affair. It asks you to just sit. Practise sitting without worry first. Then learn to focus on breath. Then provides tips on how to keep the focus and make it a habit and how to save yourself from the possible distractions. 
 
Once you are into sitting, Thich talks about how you should start sitting in groups to make the meditation easy and how just being there for others. The book ends with guided meditation and how you can create one on your own.
 

Quotations

“I like to describe sitting as enjoying doing nothing”
 
“People can try to steal many things from us, but they can’t steal our determination and our practice.”
 
“I have passed through many storms. Every storm has to pass, no storm stays forever. This state of mind will pass”
 
“ Every in-breath can bring joy; every out-breath can bring calm and relaxation. This is a good enough reason to sit. We don’t need to sit with an intention like getting smarter or becoming enlightened. We can sit just to enjoy sitting and breathing.”
 
“Sit in order to sit. Stand in order to stand. There is no goal or aim in sitting. Do it because it makes you happy.”
 
“In the present moment, we can be free from regret concerning the past and from fear concerning the future. Happiness isn’t possible without freedom.”
 
“When you sit, sit in such a way that you feel you have already arrived. To sit doesn’t mean to struggle”
 
“Breathing in, I know that this is only an emotion. It’s not the whole of me. I am more than my emotions.”
 
What is your favourite book on mindfulness? What other books by Thich have you read?
Happy Mindfulness!

Book Review – The subtle art of not giving a f*ck

Author: Mark Manson
Print Copy | Kindle
 
This book has been on my wishlist for really long. I was all excited to start it off finally. I enjoyed the first few chapters for his style of writing. Only after 100 pages I realised that it is more of a book for entertainment than learning something new. He just consolidated the concepts from top self-improvement books and wrote it in his own style giving his own examples to drive the point home. Initially, it was confusing to understand what he was trying to say. But later you realise that there is so much unnecessary introduction to a concept and the actual concept is explained in a quick way.
 
All the above is criticism for the book, let’s get into why should you read the book. 
 
If you are new to self-improvement, then you should read this to know the gist of all the important self-improvement books out there. There is a reason why it is one of the best selling books in the market. Instead of you reading different books to understand the basics, he covers them all for you in one book, that too in an entertaining way instead of giving instructions.
 

Summary

 
Ch1 Don’t Try
 
The first chapter says “Don’t try”. That attracts you. Because it tricks you into thinking that you can be what you want to be without trying. But that is not the truth. All he says there is choose the few things which you want to excel at. It is about priorities. If you bark at every passing dog, you will never be able to reach the destination.
 
Ch2 Happiness is a Problem
 
He talks about the truths of life. Everyone has problems. Happiness comes from solving them. This is another way of telling that happiness is the journey and not the destiny
 
Ch3 You are not special
 
He drops another bomb to bring you to reality that you are not special. It is his way of saying that you can’t be good at everything. Choose your priorities and work on that daily to reach where you aspire to be instead of thinking you are special.
 
Ch4 The Value of Suffering
 
You might be successful in life but if your values don’t align with what success means to you, you will feel miserable forever. You choose your suffering. You decide what you want to feel good about and what you want to feel bad about.
 
Ch5 You are always choosing
 
Everyone has problems. But you can change something in your life when you take responsibility for it and act upon it.
 
Ch6 You’re wrong about everything
 
You see a certain facts and form beliefs. Your interpretation could have been wrong. It would not even be a fact but coincidence. Only if you are less certain about yourself, you have the chance to question your beliefs and be open for change.
 
Ch7 Failure is the way forward
 
You will learn more from all the failures you ever had than the tons of successes. Just do something about where you want to reach. 
 
Ch8 The importance of saying no
 
When you say no to all the things which don’t matter, you make time for all the things which matter. Unlimited freedom doesn’t take you anywhere. It is the freedom through commitment helps you narrow down on what is important to you in life.
 
Ch9 ….And then you die

You live your life fully doing what you need to do than live like you have forever. When you know that you are eventually going to die, make the most of it by focusing on where you want to reach.
 
Read this book if you want an entertaining way to learn self-help concepts. Skip this book if you have read enough number of self-help books already.
 
Happy learning the art of saying no!
 

Book Review – Find Your Why

Author: Simon Sinek
 
Print Copy | Kindle
 
In my previous office, during an all hands session, they showed us the TED Talk of start with why. I was so intrigued by it that I went back and watched it again. It was a mind blowing concept which I hadn’t thought of till then. The book ‘Start with Why’ has been on my to read list forever but haven’t found the motivation to read it as I already knew the concept. This book ‘Find your why’ is a follow-up of start with why where the author tells you how to find the why to lead a more fulfilled life.
 
In the beginning of the book, the author talks about how fulfillment and happiness are different. The concept is so relatable that I started using it in my daily conversations. Happiness is fleeting but fulfillment is what brings a smile on your face at the end of a tiring day. I could very well relate why I was searching for happiness day after day when I had everything. The answer was simple. I spend majority of my day at work and the work doesn’t make me feel fulfilled. Just like how I feel that every book I read, I read it at the right time. This book also gave me insights on what is wrong with my present life and how I can lead a life which is fulfilling.
 
When a person says, “I want to do what I love,” there is a majority which opposes that it is only for the privileged. But this book shows that even a common man, if he can figure out his why, he doesn’t have to work for the rest of his life. He needs to keep living his why. On his deathbed, he will be proud of the life he lived than die with regrets of just focusing on making money.
 
The story doesn’t end at fulfilling individuals why. He also talks about how organisations with why are valued more than the ones without it. I could relate to this as I remember how Satya Nadella repeatedly talks in ‘Hit Refresh’ how he decided to work on the why of Microsoft when he became CEO.
 
The concept is great. But the book lacked in practicality of implementing it. It asks you to get an interpreter. It is difficult to find one who can align with the concept and bring out the right theme. It doesn’t have enough prompts for the stories. It doesn’t have enough examples of themes. A wrong interpreter might cause more damage than self interpretation.
 
At the end of the book, there is a FAQ. The concepts mentioned in that part of the book should have been in the chapters as they are mainstream ones. It added a lot of value and made the concept much clearer.
 
Overall, it is a mind opening read. But it would have been great if the book would have been easily implementable. 
 
What are you waiting for? Rush, ‘Find your why’ and lead a more fulfilling life.
 
Happy finding your why!
 

Book Review – The Bullet Journal Method

Author : Ryder Carroll
Print Copy | Kindle
A year ago I watched the Ted talk of Ryder Carroll. He talked about a system with the help of which he bet the Attention deficit syndrome he was struggling with. I was impressed and wanted to read more about the system with the help of which he achieved it but I totally forgot about it.
 
In the past one year, I had been maintaining various journals and as a part of understanding what bullet journal is about I picked up this book. To my surprise, it is a combination of the all the journals I did in the past combined into one system. It was nice to read the book as it was a validation for whatever I did so far.
 
Will I also combine all my journals into one and say that I am writing a bullet journal? No. What worked for him, won’t work for me.You can ask me how can I say that without trying. I will be tired by the time I learn all rules and it will curb my creativity. I prefer everything digital as it is easy to carry around instead of a book which I can’t have with me all the time. Even if I get a small book, my handwriting is big and it won’t even suffice me for a week.
 

Why should you read this book?

 
If you have got no clue about journaling and want a rule book to start off with, you should read this. The book doesn’t talk about only journaling but revolves around one of the main benefits of journaling which is intentionality. It repeatedly tells you why it is important to know why you are doing what you are doing. He explains a few Japanese techniques like Kaizen, FIVE WHYS, wabi sabi and how they can be incorporated into your bullet journal. There are also examples from his life how bullet journal helped him in tough situations of life which will motivate and guide you to start using it.
 

Summary

 
The book is divided into 4 blocks – Preparation, The system, The Practise and The Art. The first block gives you real life stories of how bullet journal helped the users. The second block is more of theory. The rules you need to know to start your bullet journal. The third block is more of motivational concepts to help you understand how you can use it. The last block talks about the practicality and other logs which you want to maintain.
 
What do you think of bullet journal? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
 
Happy Bullet Journaling!
 

Book Review – The Relationship Cure

Author: John Gottman
 
Print Copy
 
The relationship cure is a book true to its words. Even though some of the concepts were already known ones but the basic framework for a healthy relationship has been put in a neat and easily usable way.
 
The five steps involved in building a connection with anyone is
1.Analyze the way you bid and the way you respond to others’ bids.
2. Discover how your brain’s emotional command systems affect your bidding process.
3. Examine how your emotional heritage impacts your ability to connect with others and your style of bidding.
4. Develop your emotional communication skills.
5. Find shared meaning with others.
 
The beauty of the book is the way the author explained everything through examples which are easily relatable. Also, he mentions how it should not be done and the right way of dealing it. Even though most of it looks like common sense, that is the same common sense most of us lack when it comes to relationships.
 
A lot of relationships die because of the resentment which builds due to improper response to emotional bids. This is usually called as incompatibility whereas in reality it is just a matter of paying attention to your counterpart.
 
Even if you learn to pay attention, there is a way to communicate what you feel. You can’t be blunt and hurt the other person when they are trying to go out of their way to build the relation. There is a dedicated chapter which teaches you the basic way of communicating without offending the other person. The favorite part of this chapter for me is to collect emotional moments everyday.
 
Apart from the above, there are a lot of tests for you to figure out where you stand. The chapter on emotional command systems helped me in my project of classifying people based on their personality types. It explains that conflicts arise between two people because they don’t understand the emotional command system each one is built with.
 
Your present emotional intelligence is heavily dependent on the family you were raised in. Even though a part of it is influenced by the genes, the major part of it can be attributed to the brought up. There are tests to identify which family you were brought up in. Using that you understand the reason why you respond to emotional bids the way you do right now and how you can change them.
 
“Your eyes won’t lie”, this is a common statement I heard growing up. That’s true when it comes to body language. Even if you are saying nice things, when you don’t really mean it, it will show up in your body language. Any person with a bit of emotional intelligence will be able to pick up those cues.
 
The last but not the least part is about finding a shared meaning. Most of the deep friendships I have seen in my life rise through these. My meditation teacher also often advises me to find a deep shared meaning to build relation with anyone.
 

Who is this book for?

 
It is for anyone who is struggling to cope with their emotions. Even though the heading reads as a book on relationship, it is more about understanding yourself first. It helps you evaluate your current emotional intelligence, gives you tips on improving your intelligence and then apply them in your relations.
 

How should you read this book?

 
Don’t read it as a novel. Read a concept. Test it. It might take a week to a month. Then come back and evaluate where you stand and then proceed further.
 
I read this book at a stretch. But I realized that I wasn’t benefiting at all from the book. I will break it into actionable points and work on them over the next year.
Purchase your copy here.
 
Happy becoming emotionally intelligent!