Jul 132010

Reading has always been a large part of my life. My upbringing instilled in me a strong love for reading from a young age. However, it was my nature; I am an INFJ, my experiences and my quest for knowledge that determined the books I would gravitate towards. All my life I have been searching for the answer to one burning question; how to handle life. In my three decades here on this planet, I have found a few books that provided some answers to that question. These books have shaped and influenced my life. What follows is a list of the books.

4. Master Your Mind Design Your Destiny

For a large part of my life, my thinking was not effective. I was pessimistic and chose to stay within my comfort zone. These factors naturally affected my ability to succeed at anything. This book changed the way I thought and helped me to take control of my life. It made me realize how my mind was a stumbling block to my success. What made this book stand out for me was its straightforward, easy to read format and useful exercises. Without mastering my mind and changing my way of thinking, I would never have had the guts to pursue my dreams. “Master Your Mind, Design Your Destiny” is definitely a cornerstone of my personal development.

3. Failing Forward

I guess it was fate that led me to this book. You see I’m a big fan of mixed martial arts. When one of my favourite fighters, Lyoto Machida, lost his very first match, many people criticized him and said he would never recover. This set me thinking about failure and how to cope with it. I realized there and then that although I had read many books on success, I did not know how to cope with failure. And indeed up to the point before I read “Failing Forward,” I was afraid of failure.

This book changed my view of failure forever. Now even when I fail, I have inner peace and patience. Indeed I see failure as an indispensible part of success. This gives me even greater tenacity and determination to reach my goals. In my opinion, learning to cope with failure in a positive manner is one of the most vital skills that every human being should learn. Read Failing Forward for yourself.

2. Man’s Search for Meaning

I’m truly grateful for having stumbled upon his book. One of the greatest struggles I faced for a large part of my life was finding a meaning and a purpose for it. Without this direction, I just drifted along and lived day by day. Although it is a short book, Frankl shows how life can have meaning in any circumstance, no matter how extreme. Everyone is unique and therefore we all live for our own unique reasons. As such, Frankl does not tell you what to live for, but he does provide some very useful guidelines about how to create that meaning. Man’s Search for Meaning has helped me to create that meaning for my life. Now I know why I am here.

1. Book of Changes I-Ching

This book has forever changed the way I view the world. It is the one book that I refer to on a continuous basis for wisdom and guidance. In my opinion, if ever there is a manual on how to live and handle life, it is The I Ching or Book of Changes. Its words are timeless, its insights penetrating and its advice always pragmatic. Through it, I have learned to observe the times and circumstances I am in and adapt to it. Like a well whose waters are inexhaustible, the I-Ching will always require further study. At different stages in your life, its words will give you new insights. I’m just thankful for the life I have ahead to learn from and grow with it.

Taking Action

A good book has the potential to shape your life in profound ways. I’m sure most of us have read books that have a deep impact on us. Depending on your influences, challenges and unique views, certain books are more likely to appeal to you than others. Whatever book it is that suits your needs at the moment, use it and build on the experiences of others. Through this means of self-improvement, you will find your own way to success.

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