act2create: The monk who sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma

Another wonderful book which I would like to discuss today is the best seller book “The Monk who sold his Ferrari” by Robin Sharma. A friend of mine and I were discussing a few months ago about books and he referred to me about this one. I had heard the title of this book for a long time but the name of the book itself sounded so weird to me that I never felt like reading this one. I thought it must be a book on choosing retirement and giving up worldly pleasures to choose the path of being a monk. Until I read the book, my stupid perception completely changed.

act2create-The monk who sold his Ferrari
act2create-The monk who sold his Ferrari

If I were asked to describe this book in a sentence then I would say that this book is about “maintaining work-life balance effectively“. If you were to think about a typical perception of a monk in your mind, you would have thought of a man in a saffron colored dress and meditating. You would also think of someone who has detached himself from the typical human wants which we all look forward to. This book however is totally opposite of what we may believe at first without having read it completely.

The story revolves around a well renowned and a rich lawyer who suffers a heart attack in a courtroom. Once he recovers, he decides to sell off all his priced possessions including his Ferrari in search of something in India which is unknown. His assistant is disheartened to know that his boss choose retirement after the heart attack and headed for India without being kind enough to let him know as they had shared a good relationship. The twist of the tale is that the assistant is surprised to see a Monk one fine day in his office who is actually his retired ex boss and now a muscular vibrant looking man. The assistant is keen to know the reason for his well being and his positive grace wherein the boss shares all the teachings which he received during his stay in India at a Savannah.

This book can be termed as a book for life and it has been in the book sellers shelf for a very long time. Indeed it is a good book and it gives you all sorts of advice which we generally look out for. The book mentions about taking risks, courage, happiness, work-life balance, exercising and all the positive stuff. Although a best seller, this book has too many advice shared by the author and if I were to use this book as a ready reckon then I would have had difficulties understanding which advice should I choose first to begin with. The messages and the language of the book is simple yet a little vague to some extent. If you were to tell me to exercise from tomorrow then I would consider it as a good advice but you did not tell me which exercises should I begin with.

Conclusion: This book is a good read but a one time read. You would probably have to make your own notes simultaneously while reading this book. If you are somebody like that kind of a personality who takes notes then this book will do wonders for you. If not, you will at least feel positive and clarity about how you should live your life. The language is simple and clear. If you manage to get access to a book library, I would suggest you to at least browse through the contents of the book and see if the content seems suitable for you. Even if not, just browse through the main points to gain from the rich content.

act2create: The Miracles of Self-Discipline by Brian Tracy

act2create-The miracles of self discipline
act2create-The miracles of self discipline

I feel really obsessed towards the self-help and personal development category of books and articles. In the year 2014, I may have read/heard almost 25+ books/audiiobooks and it has helped me realize that the one common principle which is the most important aspect of your success is “YOU“.

Like me, you too may have read or heard many books and articles but they are all useless until the point you act using whatever little you may know. Great leaders or sportsman did not wait for a book to tell them what they could accomplish but instead they simply acted on their decisions and made it count by delivering results.

Knowledge without practical application is a waste of time

Since YOU are the most important aspect of your success, your success will be determined by your ability to push yourself towards a clearly defined goal. This ability on a regular basis is called discipline and that is what Brian Tracy explains through his book, “The Miracles of Self Discipline“.

If you were to ask me which is the only book you could recommend for self development then it would be this. Brian has worked his way to the top and it is great to see and hear people like him who make you realize that hard work pays. He explains through his book how he worked his way to the top and what kind of discipline it takes to move up the ladder of success.

Conclusion: Although this book is about self discipline and your and mine goals may be different in the areas where we need to improve upon but the principle of discipline remains common for us to achieve our respective goal. There are no methodologies explained in the book but this book is all about mental toughness. After reading this book, you will understand how important it is to improve the quality of communication in your own mind to reach one step closer each day towards your goal. I personally rate this book at the greatest rank and I may have myself read this book more than 3 to 4 times when I felt I was drifting from my goal. Highly recommended to read.

act2create: Making the shift by Darren Hardy

act2create-Making The Shift by Darren Hardy
act2create-Making The Shift by Darren Hardy

Audiobooks are a great way of education. They help in building an understanding and gaining knowledge on the run. I always carry a set of Audiobooks in my cell phone and whenever I get an opportunity to listen to them, I do so with eagerness. They not only help in saving the physical space in your shelf but I also enjoy the fact that I do not have to burden my bags while heading for someplace.

So let me share my experience with another wonderful Audiobook, “Making the Shift” by Darren Hardy. If you have had an opportunity to read the book named “The compound Effect” which was written by the same author then you will realize that it was something common sense which he was trying to explain to us yet we never gave a thought to it. Let me explain it with a simple example: If I were to give you a dollar each day from the 1st of January till the end of the year i.e. 31st December and if you never spent a dollar anywhere then how much would you have in total at the end? The answer is definitely 365. Thus what this simple maths is trying to tell you is that if you make one change or move one step forward each day then you would have moved 365 steps further. This simple logic is called the compound effect and it is worth giving a thought. I have been able to write one or two posts each day and the result of the same is that I have written 43 posts in a time span of less than 35 days. This is also called compounding.

Let me get back to this Audibook, “Making the Shift”. If you are somebody like me who does not necessarily love his office job but goes to work to earn the daily bread for his family and pay bills then this a good book to begin with. This Audiobook does a good job to make you understand what it takes to shift from job to business. It also explains, why the society will tell you that Business means risks and why people around you may criticize you and pull you down to their level. It also tries to help you build an understanding as to how you should deal with them and take help from your family at an emotional level.

An effective Audiobook is one which asks you to take action and not just listen. This is where it falls a little short. At the end of the Audiobook you will be given a short experiment which requires you to head towards rejections and failures but I feel that just a short exercise is not enough. If you were to simply receive rejection and failures then a weaker mind may feel more depressed and low. It is success and clear visible results that motivates us all.

Conclusion: The author “Darren Hardy” is one of the few people who advocates the route of hard work and pain instead of loose your belly in 30 days using the belts and capsules. It is difficult to sell theories that try to tell you about paths of hard work instead of short cuts. I would advise you listen to this to start building an understanding for a shift.

act2create: Running with the giants by John Maxwell

act2create-Running with the giants
act2create-Running with the giants

I found this book accidentally while I was looking for a book on running. Let me share my experience on this book in the shortest manner as possible and whether you should read or not.

This book belongs to the self-help category and if you are looking for any specific methods or techniques that will be shared by John Maxwell then you may be disappointed. There are references throughout the book for the teachings of Bible and stories which serve as an inspiration as to why few people manage to become great although they faced obstacles and failures. These old stories serve as a reminder to us today that the basic principles of success are still the same. Through out the book, you will feel one common message being said “C’mon! you can do it and don’t quit!“.

If you are a runner, you can switch to an audiobook version of this book and listen to it while running to keep you motivated mentally. Buying a handbook version does not seem sensible or worth your money as you won’t feel motivated at the same level every time you read the same content over and over again. I am sure if I had bought a handbook version then it would have been lying on my shelf for days. 

act2create: Yipee! Yipee! yay yay…I did it again!!

Today will be the day which I will remember for a long time. I ran my longest duration ever and broke my own previous landmark. Just less than 1 month and 3 days since I decided to improve my health, I have improved my health gradually through hard-work, patience and perseverance. The very first day in the first week of January, I barely managed to run for less than 5 minutes and today with regular practice and pushing my occasional failures behind, I ran my first 6 miles in a total duration of one hour.

act2create: My first 6 miles run at the park
act2create: My first 6 miles run at the park

I had only one goal in my mind today that I would only try to beat my previous record but not settle for anything less than that. Thus I was looking for more than 4.10 miles distance and a better timing today. At the 18th minute since I began, I was in total pain and felt cramps all below my knees. Yet, I decided to continue as much as I could. A few minutes later, I got past through the pain. After finishing the 4.10 miles, I knew I was going to beat my own record. I headed for 5 miles and I was going great.

I felt I had decent energy to continue beyond 5 miles and I immediately upgraded my today’s goal to the green run distance which comes to 10K. I am really proud of what I have accomplished today. It is all and pure hard work. Simple fruits, dates, soya milk and avoiding oily stuff has helped me retain a good energy. I am feeling tired at the moment and my office duty is just about to begin. My right knee is in total pain and I hope to recover well as a big day is approaching soon.

act2create: My first 45 minutes run at the park!

My evening today was reserved for the run at the park. After my last embarrassing 17 minute run at the park, I decided that I would go slow and ensure that I would breathe slowly and avoid heel striking. I was going great and running at a speed of 11.08 miles per hour. Although the speed isn’t great but I will improvise upon it gradually.

I only started the Nike+ app once I began my run and stopped it once it ended. Thus I am not including the total 34 minutes to and fro walking distance to the park and back home. I burnt some decent calories and I hope that I am able to run in a similar way at the dream run which is less than 15 days from today. I had forgotten to carry my cell phone today at the park but fortunately my wife too has decided to go the the healthier way and began using the Nike+ app. She has only began with walking so far but a small step is a great beginning. This is the snapshot from her cellphone which I carried with me during the entire run. I covered a total of 4.10 miles at the park in the said duration. I wish to take it further from here.

act2create: My first 45 minutes run
act2create: My first 45 minutes run

act2create: Thank you for your support! Here’s my report card.

Yesterday, I completed a month since I started this blog. I never thought that I would even walk this small distance but I did it. I did it because I was accountable to you. There have been times when I thought I should skip waking up, skip going to the park but you guys made me realize that I wouldn’t have anything to share if I didn’t step out of my comfort zone. I haven’t shared or marketed my blog to anybody yet there has been a small list of subscribers. It only proved that you had a desire to learn and a willingness to take your life further. It makes me lucky to have been associated with people like you and I am very grateful to you for your likes.

Here’s my report card for you:

Running for 20 minutes: A month later, I have accomplished one of the mentioned goals for this year i.e. running for 20 minutes. Although I am just sticking to the alternate day workout plan, yet I am happy that I have been able to run at most times for around 20 minutes. In the month of January, I accomplished running for my first 30 minutes run. I had never been able to do so earlier. I was able to run for 14 days in January as per the alternate workout plan. I have modified my diet a bit and added fruits and dates as my daily dose. My greed at times makes me choose poorly and I do slip into pastries, sweets and more than 3-4 cups of sugar based tea in a day but I will try to improvise on it as well.

Wake-up at 6.00 A.M. in the morning: Sorry, but I am still lazy and behind on this part. I have been able to set alarm for 6.15 A.M. but I couldn’t get going as per the set time. I will retain the month of February to improvise my waking up timings.

Hoping for the best and more hard work on the way. That’s the price I need to pay to get to the other side.

Thank you once again!

act2create: It’s been an embarrassing day for me today :(

My last two runs made me realize that there was much more potential in me to run beyond my previous record of straight 30 minutes. I was so charged and confident that I believed I could finish my first dream run. So I decided yesterday night that today would be the day when I would beat my previous record and count my actual running distance in the park using the Nike+ app.

The alarm was set for 6.15 A.M. in the morning and as usual placed far from my bed. Yesterday it was a little busy day at the office and after reaching home and having my dinner, I was dead asleep. I was trying to visualize how I would run at the park the next day morning while lying on the bed and I must have been asleep in the first few seconds as soon as I closed my eyes. The alarm rang at 6.15 A.M. as intended and it was dark and cold outside. I managed to wake-up somehow to switch it off and my mind began uttering words to myself that “Its too dark and you are still too tired, you can try to sleep for the next few minutes”. Instead of not trying to listen to the lazy me voice, I decided to approach the bed and I was asleep till 7.10 A.M.

By the time I woke up, I was feeling guilty for allowing the laziness to pour into my mind. I thought it was too late to head for the joggers park and may be I should try tomorrow with a new approach. However, I knew that this guilt wouldn’t let me to sleep further and I decided to head for the park. In a hurry, I sipped too little water and I forgot to carry the water pouch which I had mentioned about in my last post. By the time I reached the joggers park, it was already 7.25 A.M. and I began my run.

By the 15th minute since I began, I was feeling totally thirsty, my legs felt heavy and I thought I should stop. Yet, I thought I could manage to push myself further somehow. I couldn’t push myself beyond the 17th minute and I stopped running. Negativity poured into my mind and I was thinking that I was expecting too many miracles in a very short span of time. I was in doubts as to what was I thinking when I decided to register for the first 10K Green Run which is just 15 days from now.

act2create: Embarassing running day today
act2create: Embarassing running day today

Being practical, I understand that my journey will not be 100% success everyday. I need to be much more disciplined and avoid laziness instances like today which is pushing me behind. I cannot blame anybody if I fail in my journey to achieve what I had intended to finish. Let me try again!

act2create: Time to raise the bar! Preparing for my first dream run!

Now that I know that I have the capability to run for straight 30 minutes, I need to push myself to know how much further can I take it from here. There is a half marathon, dream run, green run and a junior run being organized in my city and I have decided to register for the first green run (10K) of my life. I don’t think that less than a month of preparation and just 13 running sessions makes me a qualifier for a half marathon. There are still many improvements which I need to improvise upon for strengthening my running capability i.e.:

  • improving speed
  • drinking water on the run
  • running for a longer duration
  • ability to run without a headphone and staying focused
  • retain energy without feeling stressed for the long distance

Now to focus on my first dream run here’s what I have in my mind:

  1. Including the to and fro walking distance which I travel during my alternate workout plan from my home to the park, I have been able to cover a total distance of 5.2 miles maximum. This comes to around 8.3 Kilometers whereas a dream run requires me to run for straight 10 Kilometers. The 8.3 kilometers also includes a total 34 minutes of to & fro walking journey and 10 minutes of settling down walk time post my run. This walk time is adding to my total miles covered and for the green run, walking is not meant to be included. Thus from tomorrow, I will turn the Nike+ app only when I begin the run and stop it immediately once I actually stop running.
  2. I will carry a small pouch of water bag in my pocket as I am experiencing a dry throat when I am breathing through my mouth. I have decided to consume little water from the pouch which will stop my mouth from going dry and help me to lengthen my journey. I hope it works.
  3. I will practice to rectify my chi running technique to be able to run better and longer. When I lift my foot each time when I run, I realize that I am lifting it partially. The foot needs to be raised above the knee line while running. If you know what I mean.
  4. Before beginning the run, I will take a minute or two to ensure that my body angle is forward falling and relaxed. The head, shoulders and the hips need to be in a straight line and also, I shouldn’t be stepping beyond the hip line while running.

A simple subject of running longer requires more of improvised understanding. I never that it would have so much of depth to it as I am discovering it gradually. Lets see if I can really take it further from my previous landmark of running for straight 30 minutes. Can I really do it? Time and my perseverance will tell.

act2create: My first 30 minutes run, I did it! :)

In my last post I mentioned that I managed to run for straight 28 minutes. I wish if I could have managed to run for 2 more minutes and create a landmark of my first 30 minutes run but I didn’t do that. There was always a new day to try and it was indeed today!

After a two days complete rest, I was more than eager to head for the joggers park and test my ability to finish what I couldn’t do the other day. I began with the slow consistent pace and with my headphones plugged in my ear, I was going just great! At the 21st minute since I began my run, I was feeling that I may not be able to accomplish it today but I decided to concentrate on my running and to stop checking my watch from time to time. At the 27th minute, I was feeling more comfortable and I realized that it was easy and possible to create my first 30 minute running landmark today and yes! I did it 🙂 🙂

act2create: My first 30 minutes run at the park
act2create: My first 30 minutes run at the park

What is helping me so far:

  • Plugging the headphones is helping my mind to divert my attention into subconscious running mode instead of thinking about how long I need to run. I am keeping my mind busy and thus I do not realize how long I may have run unless I check the watch or the Nike+ app. tells me the distance which I have covered
  • Before leaving for the park, I am only sipping enough water to quench my thirst. Thus I am hydrated enough for the run but I do not feel that I am running with a heavy stomach early morning. Also, I pop two date fruits before leaving for the park. It acts as a source of instant energy and as an antioxidant which enters my health system the first thing for the morning run. It is however rich in sugar although natural and it keeps me bothered if that could be a cause of concern to watch out for.
  • I am inhaling and exhaling through my mouth during the run and it keeps me less tired. Although my technique is still not correct but I will try to improve upon it gradually.
  • Using the Chi method of running has caused less strain on my knees however I am feeling some pressure on my calves which makes me realize that my action may not be correct and it too requires correction.
  • The alternate day workout plan is doing wonders. It gives me enough rest to recover but it also keeps me motivated to go to the park with a renewed energy and enthusiasm.

I am expecting a more hectic schedule in my office for the coming days and I hope that I am able to keep the momentum going. Guys! please pray for me!