I am a huge fan of Robin Sharma. I ‘invite’ him into my living room almost every morning by watching one of his many YouTube master classes. It gives me much needed oomph for the rest of my day.
I read a lot of business books; the kind focused on strategy, people and change management, or just to manage better. So, when I started reading Robin Sharma’s “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari,” I wasn’t sure what to expect. The title caught my attention and the fact that I was a fan, made me read it.
A couple of things to know about the book; firstly, it’s essentially a self-help book; secondly, it’s written as a narrative, from the perspective of someone receiving advice from the aforementioned monk. The story will certainly make you give some thought to your life, your goals, your dreams and how your daily habits help you reach those dreams.
The story starts with a successful trial lawyer, Julian Mantle, who collapses from a heart attack while arguing a case in court, and his lengthy recovery led him to seek a spiritual path in the Himalayan mountains after receiving wise and practical lessons which brought drastic changes in his life.
As such, Mantle represents the values of our society. The story is told from the perspective of one of his associates, who admires Mantle’s great success and aspires to be like him. Mantle represents the values of our society. The story is told from the perspective of one of his associates, who admires Mantle’s great success and aspires to be like him.
The three most powerful points I took from the book were;
Develop joyful thoughts. Follow your life's mission and calling.
Cultivate self-discipline and always act courageously.
Value time as your most important commodity, nourish your relationships, and live fully, one day at a time.
When you get down to it, Sharma’s book comes down to a fairly formulaic format – a list of seven principles to apply to life, which he explains in turn:
Master Your Mind: Learn to focus, and consciously eliminate negative thoughts from your mind
Follow Your Purpose: Focus on your priorities – and stay on track by focusing on the desired end goal
Practice Kaizen: Focusing on continuous self-improvement
Live With Discipline: Recognise the importance of willpower while forming new habits
Respect Your Time: Adopting a “death-bed mentality” – living each day like it’s your last
Selflessly Serve Others: Daily acts of kindness and cultivating richer relationships
Embrace The Present: Live for today – stop looking ahead and waiting for things to be better down the road; enjoy things as they happen
What I took from it.
In order to awaken your best life, it’s important that you “die while you are alive.” Most people live as if they have all the time in the world. They wish they had more time in their days and yet they waste the time they have. They put off living until some event in the future occurs. In order to awaken to your best life, every day should be lived as if it were your last day on the plane
If you want to improve your life and live with all that you deserve, you must run your own race. It doesn’t matter what other people say about you. What is important is what you say to yourself, being comfortable in your own skin. Be true to you. That’s a key source of happiness
Success cannot be pursued; success ensues. It flows as the unintended byproduct of efforts concentrated in the direction of a worthy cause. The best antidote for fear is knowledge.
Most people believe that it takes months and years to transform their lives. Actually, you can literally change your life in an instant by making a single decision never to go back to the way you have been living—no matter what. What takes months, years and sometimes decades is the maintenance required to live by that decision.
You are what you think about all day long. You are also what you say to yourself all day long. If you say that you are old and tired, this mantra will be manifested in your external reality. If you say you are weak and lack enthusiasm, this too will be the nature of your world. But if you say that you are healthy, dynamic and fully alive, your life will be transformed. Words have remarkable power.
Most of us live as if we have an infinite amount of time to do all the things we know we must do to live a full and rewarding life. And so we procrastinate and put the achievement of our dreams on hold while we tend to those daily emergencies that fill up our days. This is a certain recipe for a life of regret. Commit yourself to managing your time more effectively. Develop a keen sense of awareness about how important your time really is. Don’t let people waste this most precious of commodities, and invest it only in those activities that truly count.
Knowledge is only potential power. For the power to be manifested, it must be applied. Most people know what they should do in any given situation, or in their lives, for that matter. The problem is that they don’t take daily, consistent action to apply the knowledge and realise their dreams.
Get into the arena, forget about the critics and play big with the gifts of your days. If you listen to your critics, you will never do anything great with your life. Life is short and the years will slip away very quickly, like grains of sand passing through your fingers on a hot day at the beach. You were meant to shine and let your talents see the light of day.
Points raised aren’t massively original, but the book is written in an interesting, easy-to-absorb way that makes it easy to read and easy to overlook the sometimes cheesy dialogue. I can't help thinking that Sharma had a list of 'wisdom' pointers that he had to pen down, making it feel more like a ticking exercise in some parts.
I think different people will find different elements of this book interesting depending on their own situations. For example, I found the kaizen section resonated with me but it didn’t add much to what I have read before. I found the first section on mental tools and tricks to be helpful from both a mind-set and a practical tips perspective.
Is The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari worth a read? I certainly enjoyed it. If you’re looking for a way to shake-up your work/life balance but aren’t a fan of the usual self-help book formula, I suggest you give it a try. It’s full of wisdom to create a life of passion, purpose, and peace. For me, this book provides a step-by-step approach to living with greater courage, balance, abundance, and joy.
Sharma has a great library of Thought Leadership lessons on YouTube that is well worth a look as well.