Recently I read two books and here is how I relate them to pick a life lesson

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Ikigai – The Japanese secret to a long and happy life

I read my first non-academic book when I was in class IX. Our school was supposed to have an audit from CBSE Delhi and we were setting up our library. I was given the job of documenting all books in a register by sections. I am talking about 2004 when we hardly had computer access and smartphone was pure rare. While dusting through the old stack of books, I found an interesting book and it was “Hsuan Tsang’s journey to India” in Hindi. I read that book in just 2-3 days and discovered a new hobby. Since then I’ve read many books and each one taught me something. Today I want to share my learnings from two powerful books which you should at least be aware of or read immediately if you love such genre.

In the book “Ikigai“, the author shares a highly approved and ancient way of lifestyle mostly found in Japan. He finds that most of the humans who have crossed their century are found in a particular region of the world and specifically in Japan. He gathers huge knowledge from local people, talks about their food habits, daily routines, and lifestyle. But he wonders that there are many people around the world also who have crossed their 100s. So what is common? The common thing was that most of them enjoy their lives and love what they do. Few were artists, few were farmers and few were professionals but they live for what they do. The author names it “Flow” and emphasizes that it is really important that we find that flow in our life that motivates us to wake up every day with a new hope, which gives a sense of self-accomplishment and gives a purpose in our lives. The author takes examples from the corporate world also and tries to prove his point that when you find your “Flow”, you start enjoying your life resulting in better productivity and it automatically increases the chances of your long life.

The second book that I want to summarize is “When breath becomes air“. It is written by a beautiful couple where the man is an Indian origin and the woman is a US resident. His parents moved to the US in their 20s as they were facing some societal challenges and finally settled in the US. The author is the younger son and has an interest in literature but like every Indian parent, his parents dreamed that he becomes either an engineer or a doctor. So he gives more importance to his career and becomes a resident in Neurology at Stanford University which is one of the top medical universities in the world. Towards the final years of his education, he comes to know that he is suffering from a contagious form of cancer and he gives up all hopes to become a full-time practitioner. His wife (at that time girlfriend) encouraged him to complete his degree and at the same time fight the disease. Both fought it very bravely, and they had a baby also after few years. When the author thinks his final time is approaching, he shares his childhood dream of writing a book, so he starts a book on his own life. Even though he could write only a few pages in the beginning and later a few words, he continued that. It required a huge amount of physical and mental strength but he continued to write the book. Unfortunately, he couldn’t finish it and the last few chapters were narrated by his wife.

What is common in these two books? One talks about long longevity while in the other the author dies in his thirties. But I grab learning from them. The second author, even it used to give him an immense amount of physical pain, his fingers were unable to type, he continued it as it was giving him a purpose. He accepted his fate very early but becoming a doctor and serving society gave him a sense of accomplishment which he later achieved. In our lives also, sometimes we want to give up easily, we look for quick success, we enjoy doing something else but we are stuck somewhere and we never realize the importance of self-motivation.

We should take a pause today and think are we happy with what we are doing. Yes, of course, we can’t leave everything and start following our dream, as most of us have family and financial commitments. We have to work for fulfilling our needs but who is stopping you to spend the weekends on yourself. If not weekend, take out few hours every week and spend it on your hobby. It can be reading, touring, biking, riding, writing anything but work. Let’s have a purpose in our lives and find the “FLOW”.

Deepesh

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