Mauritius with Robin Sharma

Megaliving

Travel blog – Mauritius

Sunrise

Power of books

Inspiration

Muse

New Life — Start over — it’s never too late

Did you read or heard about the book ” from the Monk who sold his Ferrari”. I didn’t until I travelled a few years ago to Mauritius to attend the wedding of a colleague and a good friend. My stay there was for two weeks and everyone who knows me knows that two weeks is just too much relaxation for me and the latest at the end of the first week I usually crave some mental stimulation, start to miss work …..

So I was on this beautiful Island, staying in a house with own garden and swimming pool, 5 minutes walk away from the beach. On the first few days we did shopping since it was a traditional wedding and I wanted to wear traditional clothing. Then the next 4 days we had the actual wedding celebration. It was a beautiful wedding. We would arrive early morning to the house of my friend were already family and friends had gathered and stay there until night celebrating the function. On the reception day we actually drove several hours to the town of the groom to pick him up and returned back to my friends house. By this time I was extremely tired and in need of some relaxed days. In the evenings I would usually read the book that I brought with me “the girl on the train” by Paula Hawkins which was also filmed a few years later … However I hated every page of this book from the time I started to start reading the first page to the day I read the last page (on the contrary my sister loved the book). I had no sympathie with the girl on the train, her drinking problems and her live in general. I am sure it was not the book that was the problem it was me, I was probably associating something to the characters of the book that I so hard wanted to avoid in my own life… becoming a failure….. and the main character was so much of a failure that it probably triggered something in me to hate the book….. I know that sounds crazy but yes….. I couldn’t understand why the girl on the train could not work harder on herself to solve her problems…. get back on her feet…. At that time I thought with hard work and discipline everything is possible… as such I detested it that the girl was wasting herself on broad daylight with alcohol , no money and no career maybe because that was my biggest fear in life….. Having no control over my life…

I remember sitting on my bed one evening, thinking how much I hated this book while reading it.

By the start of the second week, I was even missing my work so much that I could not wait to go back to work. I desperately needed some mental stimulation and was glad when the next day in the city center I saw a small book shop. There I roamed around but could not decide which book to take. The book shop was small and dusty.. I saw a title “the monk who sold his Ferrari” by Robin Sharma but found the title not captivating enough so continued searching until the owner of the shop recommended to me a book called “chicken soup for the soul” similarly this book did not appeal to me. Then he recommended the book “Megaliving” by Robin Sharma. I gave it a try, before that I had not heard of the author before. The book appealed to me so I bought it and was excited to start reading.

Interesting is that all the books the owner recommended are kind of self improvement/self help books. Did he figured it out so fast what kind of person I was…. what kind of books I needed… was the little book shop a little hidden pharmacy of books? Where the owner knows by one look at his customers which book they need?

The next morning I sat next to the pool with my new book, reading, taking notes and getting inspired. In his book he is recommending very simple things but no one else that I know has ever written them down. The chapter I like most about the book is the “the 200 Master Secrets for Megaliving”. Here he provides 200 easy and simple to understand ideas how to improve your lives in a bullet point type of writing. The one point that I remember until now the most is that he mentions if possible to live in a flat/house with access to a pool since an evening swim can do wonders for you. I do not have access to a private pool but I try to find closeby pools in my area since an evening swim still provides me with so much inspiration and satisfaction. Also, while on vacation I love the evening swim when all tourists are already in their rooms …. I have the pool to myself… the water is warm but coming out of the pool with the little chill and cold outside… I Love that. He also says to wake up early and watch the sun rise once a week… It’s such a simple thing to do but imagine what this simple thing can do to your life… it will make you a happier person, provide you with inspiration…..

So the mornings of the last week of my vacation I used to study the book and take notes. During the day we would continue exploring the beautiful island the highlight was swimming with wild dolphins in the open see. We also saw a mini eiffel tower, the 7 coloured earth, did snorkeling, a cruise ending with delicious seafood barbecue on a private island. Nevertheless, I was full of inspiration… I could not wait to go back to normal life … go back to work and start using more of the great ideas stated in the book. In short, the book played a vital part during this year and probably influenced me in more ways than I am aware. I also started to watch youtube videos of Robin Sharma which I can also recommend.

The vacation, I am telling you about was around 4 to 5 years ago. During a recent move of my parents my sister found this book and started to read. She told me she is so grateful having found this book as it has helped her in so many ways… I am always a little proud when someone reads books that I recommend to them or in this case that I brought unintentionally in their life and which helped them improve their life.

Travelling to South Africa with Wuthering Heights

100 best books worldwide

Travel blog

Emily Brontë

Garden Route, South Africa

Safari, Addo Parc, Ostrich Farm

Paradies

Alone Time

This is my first post after my travel to South Africa. Since, I only travelled with hand luggage I did not bring my laptop with me and such could not update my blog. Nevertheless, even during travel, books played an important role. Two weeks before travel I was researching for some inspiration in regards to new books to read. My last reads were all good but I had purchased them without much thought on the bookshops while on airport for business trips. Since I had to travel a lot for work in 2019. The books were a good read but I was missing the really good books, the masterpieces, the work of genius authors– the books I would be still thinking and talking about in decades. After some research I chose the book “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte. I must confess that the first 50 or 100 pages I was struggling with the book. I just did not get it, and while I was packing for my two weeks vacation I nearly decided to travel without it, without any book due baggage limit. I am glad, I changed my mind and kept this tiny book in my handbag. Without the book my vacation would have been just half as good as it was. Below I will explain why…..

Since, I was visiting a former colleague who was already living in South Africa I had to travel on my own. It’s a over 10 hours flight from Frankfurt, in germany. My flight was on the 7th December from the Frankfurt am Main airport. From my apartment to the airport it’s just a 15 minutes bus ride to the airport. Nevertheless, as usual I arrived three hours earlier and even after security I had more than 2.5 hours left. So I decided to eat something at a restaurant at the airport. The third picture from the book above is me at the restaurant at the airport. Being on my own at the airport I enjoyed reading while waiting for the waiter bringing my my food and also after finishing my meal and drinking my coffee.

Once, in the plane I stored the book away. Now was the time for the on the board entertainment. Since it was a night flight I spent most of the time sleeping anyway.

I arrived in Johannesburg and meet there my friend at the airport and we travelled together to Cape town. There we stayed 4 nights. I enjoyed it and everything was exciting and new. We went to nice restaurants, had breakfast at the waterfront, went on hiking to the table mountain and some shopping. By the time I went to my room in the hotel I was tired but still did not want to go to bed immediately. As such the book was perfect I read a few pages before actually going to bed. The first picture above is me in my hotel room in cape town with the book.

Still at that time, I did not get really why the book was amongst the 100 books to read. I only read a few pages at once not more since it did not manage to capture me. But since I was reading every day I managed to read a lot and slowly started to like the book as I realized it is not Romeo and Juliet type of love story but there is much more…. much more HATRED, REVENGE, SUFFERING, BETRAYAL, STRONG CHARACTERS, SAME ERRORS MADE IN DIFFERENT GENERATIONS……

So the time went by and we went to our next stops including cape of good hope and than further to Cape Agulhas. At Cape Agulhas we had a self service african type of a lodge directly by the sea. There were hardly any tourists. It was quiet, there was no internet no TV…. We purchased at a nearby supermarket some lamb chops, african type beef farmer sausages and corn on the cobs for a relaxing barbecue at our large balcony with seaview at our lodge. While the grill was warming up I enjoyed the view from the balcony and after dinner sat down at the balcony with my book enjoying the calm and relaxing atmosphere. I must say travelling with a former colleague is fun but I relax and enjoy much more reading a good book in the evening that doing chit chat. And the thought of having nearly travelled without my book gave me horror. Once it was dark outside I went to my room and enjoyed my book in my room. NOTE, there was no TV and no Internet. The best thing I had was my book. The next morning I was relaxed since I had a good sleep without constantly looking at my mobile phone at night as I would usually do.

The days went on and as such did our travel went on, and I must say unfortunately the conversation I had with my travel companion dried up the more days we travelled. I think being nearly all day long together doing everything together at some point made us both being a bit fed up of each other I would even say. which means we would sometimes sit for dinner and not speak a word. So I started to bring my book with me also to restaurants and day trips and would read while enjoying the view and weather.

Our next stop was at a Safari where we would stay two nights. It was amazing, I had in the middle of the wilderness amongst the animals a lodge on my own without Internet and TV. There was some limited electricity so that I had some light at night to read. The whole day we would spend watching animals in the private reservoir where we saw lions, giraffes, hippos, zebras and elephants and in the national parc, the Addo parc where we saw families of elephants. At night the ranger would drop me of at my private lodge. At first I was horrified to stay on my own at the lodge the next lodge and as such the next person was a few hundreds meters away. The only way of communication in case of an emergency was a radio he provided which I could use to contact the owner of the reservoir but only in case of real urgency. I thought I could not stay on my own but then I relaxed did some unpacking, brushed my teeth and went to bed with the book. The moment I started reading I forgot about my fear and started to enjoy the tranquil environment. There was no distraction, just me, the nature and my book. The next morning I was picked up by the ranger at 7am for a full day of safari and I was looking forward going back to my lodge in the evening. Cut away from civilization, Stress and hectic—- Just me and my book!!!!!!

The last picture above from the book is from a daytrip in Port elizabeth the last day before we would take the flight back home. We arrived at this viewpoint and my friend wanted to walk along the beach I wanted to enjoy the view from the viewpoint. So I stayed on my own while my friend went down to have a long walk. It was here when I finished the book. during the last days I was dreading to finishing the book since I did not want to finish it. By the time I enjoyed the book, I could relate to the characters and could understand why each of them was behaving the way they were…. Once I finished the book my friend has arrived and we were both sitting calmly at the point watching out to the see. When I suddenly saw several black points moving, by looking closer I notice that there were at least twenty dolphins swimming in the water near the cost. It was amazing we could see them swimming all together passing us by. Finally, It was time for the flight at airport I bought another book which I am reading currently and about which I will report to you in one of my next blogs.

I love South Africa and I love my vacation however my book made my vacation much better. It made me enjoy my “ME TIME”. It made me enjoy the “NATURE”. It made me enjoy the time that was not fully packed with “to dos” .

FIRE- Financial independence retire early

When I first started to work (accounting consultancy), I loved the idea of working hard and long hours. I thought that I what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I hoped being very disciplined when it comes to work would separate me from those individuals which are not career driven and which are satisfied by having a decent 9 to 5 job with provides a decent 9 to 5 salary. I worked very hard and even though I worked hard it was very difficult at the beginning. I worked in a company were after two years from graduating from university you would become a “senior” meaning you would lead a team and report to the manager. Unfortunately, not every knows to lead a team or is not ready to do so in two years.

So my “seniors” two young women both best friends since school coming from a small village decided they didnt like me (as they did not like some other young FEMALE new Joiners) and did everything to make my life hard. Fortunately, they left soon and I was promoted to senior and finally to manager. My goal was to work even harder to become Partner which meant that through a partnership agreement I would co-own the firm. Thinking, once reached partnership I would earn so much not ever having to think about money again and being able to slow down a bit. But I soon noted that’s not how it works … Partnership (if you finally make it to it) means taking a huge loan to buy into the partnership starting off with a salary which after considering that you have to pay off the loan you took for the partnership is not that appealing anymore. Not only that, as a new partner you start from very below again, since you are the lowest type of partner and you need to work your way up again similar as I had already done as a fresh university graduate. When I realised that I asked myself are we like a donkey who is shown a carrot to run and run faster because he wants to get the carrot ….. he thinks he is very close so he runs faster… but poor donkey doesn’t know he will never get the carrot.

I started to read a lot and one of the books that made me realize that we do not have to trade our time for money was the book from Tim Ferris the “4 hour work week”. I must confess that I was hesitating a lot and many times before actually buying the book I saw it on the bookshops and did not want to buy it as the title was not appealing to me “THE 4 Hours work week” and thought I don’t want to work only 4 hours per week that’s something that lazy people do. I want to work very hard and many hours as that was my definition of an successful person waking up very early to go to work …..

I read the book many many years ago, I liked his ideas of working less and taking mini-retirements. However, I did not get the concept of creating an online business that pays for your mini retirements. Now looking back many years later and seeing how many youtuber, blogger and small online marketers are earning their living outside the 9 to 5 I started to understand that it is possible. Nowadays, the FIRE movement is also becoming more and more popular which means that you save a lot of money around 65% of your income and be able to retire in 10 years. Retiring only means not having to work to pay your bills but doing something meaningful or in general still working without being dependent on the salary and such being more flexible.

I feel that I have to go back to the 4 -hours work week book from Tim Ferris and read it again because initially I hadn’t understood all concepts he was talking about. Did it ever happen to you that you read a book and many years later you realise you have to read it again as the first time you read the book you missed or did not understand some very crucial information ? I wonder for how many people the booked changed their lives and how many could quit their 9 to 5 finally. I am still at my 9 to 5… would I have been able to quit the rat race if I would have understood what he was talking to initially and taking the right steps? The last question I will never know however, it’s not to late to take the right steps and read the book again!!!

This is not a blog advising about financials but a blog about books so please contact a certified financial consultant if you need advice.

What is bereavement?

Darkness…

Emptiness…

Sadness…

hopelessness…

Can books help? Did they ever help you? Which books to read during this time.

While it is important to be with other people during this time, don’t hide yourself for days alone in your home. It is also important to have some time on our own to digest the whole situation to understand what is going on and to take your time to let your mind and body cope with it. To do so you need to spend some time on your own. There are different things you can do while you are on your own some activities will be more helpful than others.

You could be just sitting there not doing anything but focussed on your sadness and emptiness. From my experience this makes it even worse because there is no distraction, no hope just you with your bitter thoughts. Better is, sitting down with a book a reading it. It will distract you, keep your focus away from you and your hard time but at the same time it will provide your mind with something to work on. Also, it can provide you with some hope (reading about someone who went to a similar situation and made it or reading about something completely different e.g. motivating you to plan and do things you love).

What is Heartbreak?

At one time or other each of us has experienced heartbreak. At the time of heartbreak it seems it is the worst thing that can happen in life. We feel betrayed, hopeless, sad and depressed. All of our thoughts are around that one person who left us, betrayed us or played with our heart.

We try to change ourselves, believing it will bring the person back to us seeing how attractive we are. We even try to become like the person for which we were left. They say women do need longer to overcome heartbreak, it takes them on average 3 years but once they are over it they will be completely over it and over him. Women will cry a lot and will not hide their sadness during this period. Whereas for men it is usually much faster to overcome heartbreak usually within less than a year. Men typically do not show such intense behavior if at all it is more aggressive behavior but usually they don’t cry a lot or show their emotions like women tend to do. However, they will not be completely over it and so from time to time the heartbreak will return to them and make them suffer again and again. While for women once they are over it (e.g. in 3 years) they are completely over it no bad feelings that returns.

No matter if we are a man or woman everyone suffers from heartbreak. For me and for many other books play an important role overcoming heartbreak. There are tons of self help books on how to “forget him/her” or how to get him/her back etc. etc. which can be very useful when passing such a period in life.

However, it’s not only self help books, I would rather say more than self help books novels and poems can support us in feeling better in such a situation. Literature, and poetry especially, has long been associated with love. For example Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility or other novels which mainly deal with the pain of love and real sufferings caused by lost love or different types of love pain. When looking at symptoms of heartbreak such as problems sleeping, lost of appetite, feeling depressed etc. it reminds us that heartbreak is a real condition both physically and emotionally.

I think the importance of literature and especially poems during a period of heartbreak is that we tend to believe we are alone, we are the only one who is feeling this pain and no one will understand us. What people tend to say is overcome him/her you will find someone better etc. etc. but that’s not really helpful at times. When reading literature/poems you will realise that you are not alone, even several hundreds years ago people have felt as you do. You will read the verse of a poem and it will articulate exactly what you have been feeling but were not able to articulate. This will bring you an aha moment, wow there was someone before me who had felt the same way as I do, he did overcome it so can also I… It gives you hope and a sense of belonging and being understood. Sometimes, there is a lot going on in our minds but we don’t know exactly what it is and we find it hard to explain it or find words for it. Luckily, there are brilliant writers in this world who can articulate the pain and all that comes with a heartbreak in a great way.

Reading literature or a poem may still leave you feeling sad and lonely, but you realise that you are not alone. This realisation in itself is magical it is a magical moment.

Which books/poems did you read during a heartbreak? Did “prescribing” books to yourself during a heartbreak helped?

Note: if you are suffering any condition mentioned above please considering asking for professional help (e.g. see your GP). I am not a professional GP and am only writing about my personal experiences/views with literature.

What is Stress?

The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear the word Stress is work. My first job after graduating was quite challenging and I was constantly under stress. I remember how sometimes I would stay at work until late night and even then bring work home with me in order to prepare for challenging meetings or tasks. I would also often work on weekends. And all this because I wanted to finish my project within the given deadline and budget and in a quality that my line manager would be proud of me. If at at a certain point I was feeling that I may miss a deadline I got stressed and at home I was already thinking about the next day and all the challenges ahead which also stressed me. I stayed for around six years with this company and decided to leave. I started with another company, much smaller however here after a few months of “honey moon period” a very different type of stress started since we had a “bullying boss”. I was so unhappy and dreaded to go to work. It got the worst just before the Christmas period where we had several deadlines to meet and was working very hard, skipping lunches etc. etc. however my boss was more dissatisfied than ever and did not hesitate to show it. This was just before being off for a week for Christmas vacation. I spent the time with my family and dreaded the day where I had to go back to work. I was miserable.

Why am I telling you all this you may wonder! In both periods where I felt I was in a lot of stress there was one common thing that helped me and reduced my stress level. The thing I am talking here are books. YES BOOKS!

The Stress I had at my first job, was the fear of not being good enough at work and to disappoint my boss, my clients and colleagues. I used books for help and they helped me a lot. The kind of books I used during this time were mainly non-fiction book just as the 4 hours week by Tim Ferris, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers by Lois P Frankel, Daily Inspirations by Robin Sharma, Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman and the list goes on and on. But you got the idea. Because I was afraid to fail at my job I was stressed but what could I do? I decided to read books to motivate myself, work on myself and to get better. After a stressful day or week I would sit down, relax, grab my book and readz. It gave me peace, a good feeling, I read the motivational words of very wise, intelligent authors who had spent years and a lot of research for all the good things they had to tell me. No matter how stressed I felt, how challenging my project was and demanding my client I felt I could sort it out. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I learnt that it is never easy if you want to succeed. The words written in the books were so helpful and motivated me. All the motivation and knowledge I gained through reading made be more confident and better in what I was doing. By doing so it had not only the effect of reducing stress because I knew whenever there was a difficult situation I would find calming, supporting and helping words in my books. But also those books helped me to climb the career ladder at work by giving me more confidence and tactics to use that my “non reading colleagues” did not know about.

Now, for my second job which did not last very long only 1.5 years I moved to London. A new country, new city and new life. I loved London from the first day. The problem was that my boss turned out to be a bullier. He would not only make my but also my colleagues life hard. I hadn’t experienced such a thing before. In my previous job while being very demanding, usually my boss would appreciate my hard work and there was no bullying. Being now in a job, where I never knew when to get this rude call or email from my boss where he would basically tell me how stupid I was, I dreaded each and every day I had to go to work. Sundays were the worst….. During lunch breaks I would go out just to be far away from my boss for at least one hour. Things got worse just before Christmas holidays and the thought of coming back to work after the vacation just made me crazy. I still remember how during this time I was reading books in the Tube and reading would calm me so much that I would carry my books around in the Tube and also during lunch break where I would sit down either outside in a park with my book and food or in a small restaurant. I still remember those hours during the day with a smile because I had such a nice time. Reading those books helped me reduce my anxiety going back to work and it transported me in a completely different world where there were different problems than I had and for a while I could completely forget about my problems. During this time of my life I was mainly reading novels such as Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, Shakespeare’s King Lear or Black Rainbow by Rachel Kelly. Those are very intense novels but they helped me to pass the phase I was going at that time. I could fully immerse in the novels, in the words, in the characters and in their world. It reduces my anxiety over work and helped not go crazy.

This was my story and how books have helped me in times of stress and anxiety. Do you also had a time where books helped you? when yes, in which situation, which books and how did they help. Very curious to know.

That’s it for today, wish you all a lovely day.

Pharmacy of Books

Today is the day where it starts! If you love books the way I do or if you have experienced how books can bring peace to your soul in hard times (or in good times) you will love this blog. If you don’t know what I am talking about then definitely you should stay here, right here on my blog and read how written words can support you in the different phase of your life.

‘words are the physician of the mind diseased

The Greek tragedian Aeschylus

Wouldn’t it be great of there was a place where you could go if you felt a little down, needed some motivation or needed to overcome a difficult personal situation such as heartbreak. Similarly, as you would go to a doctor if you were ill. The only difference you are not ill but sad maybe you are suffering from heartbreak or you lost someone you loved. At this place someone would “examine” you and prescribe to you exactly what you need. I am not talking about prescribing medicine but prescribing literature -books or poems- which are selected individually for you according to your personality and your situation. This is the pharmacy of books.

I love the idea of using books to help us dealing with different situations in life. My blog is exactly about that the power of books to help us master our life especially when going through difficult situations such as heartbreak, Stress, bereavement and depression.

Book Therapy is not an invention of the modern world, books existed already in the ancient years and book therapy was already used 1000 of years ago. The Greek tragedian Aeschylus believed that reading can help reduce stress and anxiety.

All sorts of literature can help us in many different ways, a Poem may calm us relaxes us by transferring us in the magic world of words, a Comic may release stress by giving us a smile and we may not take the world so seriously around us for a while. We may immerse yourself so much into a novel that we stop worrying for a while.

The same text may have a different effect on one person than on the other…

In my Blog I want to cover different types of situation the majority of us in one or the other day. Let us discuss which books are the best to read during a heartbreak, Stress or Bereavement or when feeling depressed!

Note: I am not a doctor and am not saying that books can replace the doctor. Please contact a doctor if you are suffering from a serious condition.