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If I could tell you just one thing...

Before even beginning to read this gem, I thought how meaningful anyone’s advice could be because I don’t believe in advice. Trust me when I say, I am on page 23rd when I write this, and it has already changed my perspective.

Originally published: 2016

Author: Richard Reed

Genre: Self-help book

Illustrator: Samuel Kerr

I would call them lessons, as advice ismostly bound to a specific situation, but what is shared in book are some lessons to remember lifelong. This list out top-notch successful people in the world and it is not about their eating habits, or morning routine but about their belief system and what keeps them going. And these are real people, who have achieved so much or had faced real hardship. Even if you don’t find any meaningful advice/lesson (which would be rare I bet), I am sure you will be amazed to know these personalities. Some of the names, literally made me pause reading and start researching on them and their work.

I’ve come to believe that one of the most important things is to see people. The person who opens the door for you, the person who pours your coffee. Acknowledge them. Show them respect. The traditional greeting of the Zulu people of South Africa is “Sawubona”. It means “I see you”. I try and do that.’ –President Clinton. I am sure it means much more for people to have his attention and we as a nobody wouldn’t mean much to no one probably. But if your attention makes 1 out of 10 feel good about it, isn’t it worth it? It is a form of respect that everyone deserves.

“Don’t let a lovely day out in the countryside be ruined by the fact that it’s not sunny.”

With many people, there is a sense the world is falling apart, and it creates a feeling of just giving up. And that inertia is the real danger to society. People have to realise we can create change by changing ourselves.” – says Marina Abramovic, a Serbian conceptual and performance artist, philanthropist and art filmmaker. One such pessimist person is me.

One of her earlier works, Rhythm 0, involved her lying on a table while people were given access to seventy-two different objects – scissors, a feather, a scalpel, honey, a whip, etc. – and told to use them on her as they saw fit. By the end she’d been stripped naked, had her neck cut, thorns pressed into her stomach and a gun put to her head.” – (Here the author talks about Marina Abramovic’s work)

“..her main piece of advice is a rallying cry to commit deeply to whatever it is you feel that you must do.” – What is it that I feel I must do? What do you feel that you must do?

Yes, the pain can be terrible,’ she replies, ‘but if you say to yourself “So what? So Pain, what can you do?and if you accept pain and are no longer afraid of it, you will cross the gate into the non-pain state.” – Marina Abramovic. Some words written together in way that makes this sentence so powerful.

He talks of people held captive in their own body, when disease or accident have taken away their ability to move” – Does it made you think? Do you know any such hostage? This came from Terry Waite who “describes his four years of solitary confinement in a tiny, windowless cell, chained to a wall. He recounts the beatings and mock executions he suffered. He explains how he had to put on a blindfold if a guard came into the cell, so he didn’t see a human face for four years, and how they refused him a pen, paper and books and any communication with the outside world, including his family.”

On how he spent his time, he says: “I did my best to structure each day. I would allocate a period of time to doing my exercises, then I would write for an hour or two in my head, then do mental arithmetic. And I spent a lot of time dreaming up poetry too. And then it would be time for some more exercises. And so on.’ I tell him it seems it would be impossibly hard to fill all those lonely hours. In another world-class example of being understated, Terry just nods and responds, ‘You know, the whole experience wouldn’t have been so bad if they’d just let me have some books.”

“It’s the same lesson I learnt in that cell. What you have to do is live for the day, you have to say, now is life, this very moment. It’s not tomorrow, it’s not yesterday, it’s now, so you have to live it as fully as you can. Invest in every day.” – you might have already read or heard this advice a lot, live each day as if you are going to die tomorrow. I would personally modify it to something like: Live each day as if something terrible might happen tomorrow and you got only today to enjoy this peaceful happy life.

Work is more fun than fun” – If we stop linking our work with materialistic factors, isn’t it more fun to achieve targets in something that interests you? We get new problems to solve, new areas to research, new technologies to learn, new skills to grow. That’s indeed more fun.

“‘It is the secret of art, and it is the secret of life: the more time you spend imagining what it’s like to be someone else, the more you develop empathy for others, the easier it is to know yourself and to be yourself.”

Esther perel: “The quality of your life ultimately depends on the quality of your relationships. Not on your achievements, not on how smart you are, not on how rich you are, but on the quality of your relationships, which are basically a reflection of your sense of decency, your ability to think of others, your generosity. Ultimately at the end of your life, if people commend you, they will say what a wonderful human being you were, and when they talk about the human being that you were, it won’t be the fact that you had a big bank account, it really won’t. It will be about how you treated the people around you and how you made them feel.”

“… life is amazing and it’s full of people you haven’t met yet, music you haven’t heard, books you haven’t read” – Think about those ‘Ah! ha’ moments yet to come in your life.

The most important thing is don’t look back on what has happened. Instead look forward to what you can do.” – Corporal Andy Reid. He says the body will achieve what the mind believes. Once a year he celebrates ‘happy Being Alive’ day and he sets himself a physically challenging goal to prove he can do it. Imagine how far you can go with this attitude.

Life for me is about doing the right thing, on a difficult day, when no one is looking. If you do something or walk by something that you know is not right, then you’re ultimately cheating and undermining your own self. If you do the right thing, no matter what the outcome, your confidence always grows. And you have a better life that way. So just make sure you are always honest with yourself. And make sure you always do the right thing.” – Lt Col Lucy Giles

My dad, not unkindly, described his own life at eighteen, which was finding himself fatherless and cleaning toilets on a ship to earn money, and compared it to what my life was like. And I was absolutely fixed after that. It gave me a sense of perspective between my problems and other people’s that I have kept forever.’ A second slice of childhood wisdom from his dad has also reverberated through his life: ‘He always said you can’t be happier than happy.’ The idea that if you are content and things are good, do not be disturbed by the possibility that they could be better. ‘Don’t let a lovely day out in the countryside be ruined by the fact that it’s not sunny.” – What a beautiful piece of advice.

“I wish that you’re lucky enough to survive when you don’t want to, because things can get better. Just survive. Just survive any way you can.” – survive just to experience those ‘ahaa’ moments in your life yet to come.

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