Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Who Will Cry When You Die?

I was at Robin Sharma's seminar last week.

Honestly, I knew little about Robin Sharma other than the fact that he is the author of several bestsellers, notably, "The Monk Who Sold His Ferarri".

Since I did not know enough about him to accord the deserving admiration, I was tempted to pre-judge. I knew that would eventually cap what I could get out of that 6 hours of my life I was about to invest. So, I decided to go to the seminar with an open mind.

Realistically, I expected to hear lots of repetition of what I already knew. That is not necessarily bad. I call that reaffirmation and reminder. Most of all, I wanted to find out what more he could add on to my little brain and make it wiser. Surely, for such a pricey seminar, one must take back something new and useful.

Robin Sharma did not disappoint me. I found myself agreeing with much of what he had to share. It was a leadership seminar and he shared on how we can see the current crisis as an opportunity and becoming a better leader.

It is not my intention to turn this article into a review of the seminar. A brief mention from me won't do the seminar justice. You can find out more about him at his website.

I was going through one of his books, "Who Will Cry When You Die?" and found so much common sense in the book. I asked myself if I am already doing most of them, since they are common sense after all. I felt a sense of guilt as I whispered "No" to myself.

As I browsed through the book, I was happy to find a few things which I am already doing. However, there are many more which I have not. I make two lists and here are some of them in each:

List 1: "I Am Doing"

1. Keeping A Journal (You are reading one my journals)

This is a good way to develop my self-awareness by having frequent one-to-one conversations with myself. Since I started doing this, I acquire a clearer mind and daily challenges appear to be more manageable. The book says "If your life is worth thinking about, it is worth writing about."

2. Develop An Honesty Philosophy

I have been given many promises and many of them broken. I can't do much to change that but I can adopt and develop an honesty philosophy for myself. And I do. I want to be honest to others, and most importantly, to myself. The book says "Every time you do not tell the truth, you feed the habit of being untruthful."

3. Always Carry A Book With You

I don't need to sell the benefits of reading books but many of us don't read enough. We spend much of our time doing things which yield no benefits. We leave all the "must do" undone because we tell ourselves we have no time. In this aspect, I put a book within reach, everywhere: in my bag, in my car, in my bedroom and in my office. Whenever I have a moment to steal, I read. The book says "Knowing how to read but failing to do so puts you in exactly the same position as the person who cannot read but wants to."

List 2: "I Am NOT Doing, Yet"

1. Honor Your Past

I know I must not look back but I can do better in this aspect. Each time I spend a minute brooding about my past, I waste that minute which I could use to propel me forward. I am still dwelling on some past mistakes, even long after everyone has forgiven me and forgotten about them. There shall be no more such time. The book says "Remember, happy people have often experienced as much adversity as those who are unhappy."

2. Learn To Be Silent

How often do you feel that you have been busy but cannot pinpoint on what exactly you have accomplished? I experience such moments from time to time. I failed to make time to be silent and still, thanks to all the modern distractions. There is probably never a better era to be busy for the sake of just being busy. I owe myself the time to revisit, recheck and reset my priorities. The book says "It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is what are you busy about?"

3. Get Behind People's Eyeball

All of us yearn to be understood but few of us do enough to understand others. I need to learn to "get behind the eyeballs" when dealing with people and see the world from their perspective. I need to listen more than I talk, after all, I have two ears but only one mouth. The book says "Since you are not doing all the talking, you are doing all the learning, gaining access to information you would have missed had you been engaged in the usual monologue."

4. Keep Your Cool

I lose my cool more often than I desire. It does not take a genius to get angry - anyone knows how to do that. The point is, I am a big loser whenever I lose my cool. In a moment of outburst, I damage the relationship I took much pain to build and I reduce my credibility I earned over a long time. The book says "Control your temper by asking three questions: (1) Are these words truthful? (2) Are these words necessary? (3) Are these words kind?"

5. Remember The Rule Of 21

It takes about 21 days to develop a new habit and I shared that with many. I certainly do what I preach but far from enough. It is human nature to maintain status quo so long as everything remains working. We resist new habits even though we know that they are our means to higher living. The book says "New habits are much like a new pair of shoes: For the first few days, they will feel uncomfortable. But if you break them in for about three weeks, they will fit like a second skin."

The above are part of my 'have done' and 'have not done' items. You should draw up your own lists too.

Lastly, I pick this wisdom from the book as I believe it would have appeared in most of our 'have not done' list:

Live Fully So That You Can Die Happy

The book says "Most people don't discover what life is all about until just before they die. We have taller buildings but shorter tempers, more possessions but less happiness, fuller minds but emptier lives. Do not wait until you are on your deathbed to realize the meaning of life and the precious role you have to play within it."

For more wisdom, you'd have to read the book yourself.

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1 comment:

Rahul said...

this is the most aamazing book i have read till date.
it has really brought about a radicle change in my life.
making me realise how precious each day is in our life and how grateful we should be for all that we receive during the day.
how down to earth one should be.robin explains the importance of every second so beautifully that makes me feel as if hes writing all about my life.
this book has helped me to cope up with the set backs in my life and helped me to live life by looking at the brighter side of things.
every day i wake up i remind my self to live like its my last day and thus my life which was earlier simply a white sheet of paper has now been coverd with all the things i have to do before i die .
and i hope ill add some meaning to my life this way.
because more than existing i want to live.
thank you Robin.