Many have written about this captivating tale of self discovery but is it really worth all the hype? What makes Mr. Sharma stand out from the crowd? What is that something which is unique to him?
Imagine having your dream job, a six-figure salary, a luxurious home, a Ferrari and what-not! You have everything that money can get you but something seems off, a key piece of the puzzle is missing.
About the Author
Explore the story of Julian Mantle, “the monk” who sold his Ferrari. Robin Sharma a lawyer-turned life coach and author vaguely traces his life through the book. He has penned various self-help books and founded the Sharma Leadership International. His first book, MegaLiving (1994) which discusses stress management and spirituality was self-published before being taken-up by HarperCollins for wider distribution.
Sharma is known for his easy to understand language. It is no wonder that his magnum opus, The Monk who sold his Ferrari also follows this lucid style of writing. The story is taken forward by conversations that Julian has with his associate thus making the language of the text ordinary day-today English, an intentional move by Sharma to make his message reach a wider audience. He is a non-fictional writer but intentionally chose to convey his message through a fictional story. Again, another master stroke that made this book standout from the millions of self-help books available in the market. The simple but engaging story combined with tried and tested life strategies explained in a simple manner quickly established this book as one of its kind and it climbed the best seller’s chart very rapidly.
Gist of values
As mentioned above the book follows the life of Julian, a successful Lawyer through the conversations Julian has with his associate. Julian’s well off life crumbles one day due to stress and he faces a heart attack. Once he recovers, he sells all his possessions and go to India. He visits the Himalayan mountains and meets the sages of Sivana. It is from here that Julian’s transformation begins.
He learns from here the seven virtues of Enlighted Living.
- Master your mind
- Follow your purpose
- Practice Kaizen
- Live with discipline
- Respect your time
- Serve others selflessly
- Embrace the present
Each of these concepts are explained beautifully with the help of fables and proverbs. The narratology the author uses to convey his message is pure mastery. Each concept takes up an entire chapter in the book.
Master your mind
Mind management is equal to life management.
Your outer world reflects the state of your inner world.
Endure pain, accept it when it comes. Pain can teach you many things.
The boundaries of life are merely creations of your mind, step-up on them deliberately and you will overcome them.
Do not be covetous, it is precious time getting wasted that can be utilised on your own dream.
Follow your purpose
Have a purposeful life. The purpose of life is to have a life with purpose.
The real source of happiness can be summed up in one word; achievement. It is the sense of achievement that ushers you forward in life.
Visualize your goal, you cannot hit the target unless you can see your goal.
Understand that there is always scope for betterment and learning. Respectfully say that your cup is still empty. This is actually a way of making sure that you learn something new even when you thought that you knew it.
Remember that what lies behind you and what lies in front of you is nothing when compared to what lies within you. You are the power!
Kaizen is a Japanese concept, which literally translates to “change for better”, it can also be taken as “continuous improvement”.
You are your only limit. Race against yourself and not others. Continuously push yourself for better and abundance will automatically follow.
If you think that you have mastered something then it automatically blocks you from knowing and learning anything further and will therefore limit you from any progress beyond what is already achieved.
Always be open to learning new things.
Live with discipline
Be your own master.
Strength comes from within, do not be swayed by the outer forces.
Be more than what you appear to be, all the world’s strength and power rests in you.
Practice silence except when prompted by a direct question. This will gradually inculcate self-discipline.
Respect your time
There nothing more precious than time in your life.
Use it judiciously and you will not regret later.
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Have the courage to say ‘No’ when the need arises.
Serve others selflessly
Sharma uses a Chinese proverb to capture this message elegantly. The proverb goes like this “A tinge of fragrance remains in the hands who offer roses”.
Serve others selflessly and you will reap the benefits of good karma.
Embrace the present
Remember that happiness is not the journey, rather, it is the destination.
Enjoy each moment and embrace each moment of life.
Embrace everything that comes with life, the pain and the pleasure, and you will realize the true meaning of life.
We are all here for a special purpose, embrace it and go forward for no one will ever be able to replace the role that you are meant to do.
Become the architect of your future instead of a prisoner of the past.
Some practical tips to follow
- Spent some time in solitude every day. This will be the time you spent in conversation with your own inner self. You can also use the aid of a rose as a focal point. Find a peaceful place where you won’t be disturbed. Concentrate on each petal, the color, the texture and the beauty. Begin with five minutes initially and slowly expand the time to twenty minutes. This will be your oasis of peace.
- Learn to see every situation as positive. Do not label events as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, accept it as they come, embrace them as vital parts of life and consider them as experiences of learning.
- Convert your negative thoughts into positive ones. This might be a little difficult in the beginning but there is a trick to it. Be aware of your thoughts first, understand if they are positive or negative and then slowly concentrate more on the positive ones. Substitute a negative thought immediately with a positive one as soon as it comes and your mind will gradually get into the habit of filtering out only the positive ones while eliminating the negative ones.
- Visualize your dream, there is nothing more powerful than visualizing something. One quote that specifically attracted me was
“Everything is created twice, first in mind and then in reality”
This quote basically sums up everything about the power of visualization in a single sentence.
- Make time for ten minutes of reflection of your day and how you can improve your next day. This will help you to embody the spirit of Kaizen.
It was indeed a great read and had many different concepts explained wonderfully through the organic fusion of fables, fiction and proverbs. It is to be noted that most of these concepts are not an original idea of the author rather it is taken from many cultures and various teachings. But like any other work nothing can be created out of the vacuum and the brilliance of the author doesn’t really lie in the originality of the work rather on the beautiful organic amalgamation of hundreds of concepts, narrowing it down and blending and mellowing it down to a fictional story that can be easily accessed by millions. Sharma’s brilliance lies in this very fact that he outran his competition of thousands of self-help books which sell the same concepts but in a much less interesting way. Ultimately like his protagonist Julian, he has also succeeded in spreading his message to the millions who will come after him.