Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning is about finding your reason to live. Sometimes its not what you want from life, but what life demands from you. Frankl is a psychoanalyst who survived four concentration camps. Although it describes life in the camps in a very direct way, the book is more about finding the reason to keep going. It’s really direct and to the point and some passages of it flow like poetry. The book will have a different impact on every person. The edition I read had a long preface and a second part about logotherapy (logos = meaning). I found the original book and the last few pages the most powerful, although the whole thing is worth reading. This is the type of book that you could over and over and get more from it each time.
Anthony Robbins’ Live with Passion! is up there as one of the best self-improvement books I’ve ever heard. The guy presents so many specific, simple, and effective ways to improve your life–instantly.
Last week I finally managed to get to the library, and with all the excitement got almost half a dozen books on tape. This was the first and I finished it in less than three days. I really needed it right now, and it really helped. The first and one of the greatest strategies in this book is the ability to control one’s desire for an object or a situation. There was a term for it, but the idea goes like this, on a scale from -10 (completely repulsive) to 10 (you can’t live without it, now), figure out your desire for an object, or an event. Figure out how it could be a little lower and a little higher, play with this until you get it to the number you want. So if you take an apple, what would it take for that apple to move from a zero to a two… (the crispness of it)… to a five (being really hungry and a little thirsty)… to an eight (that apple cool on a hot day and smelling super yummy)… to a ten (all those things… and you have it with ice cream)…. (these may vary for different people. Well in being able to contol your desire, you can control how much you want to do your daily stuff and how much you’ll enjoy it. Even for something that is horrible, you can ask yourself, well how could it be a little bit better. What would it take. And by preselecting your mood and your milestones, you can make some annoying things seem a lot better. I know this tool worked for me for most of this week at work.
Another cool concept he gives is about rules. Figuring out one’s own rules and understanding that others have different ones. An even neater section was his section on communication. The exercises about how you act when stressed or when you want someone to do something make you realize just how silly we can get when we forget why we communicate. Then there was a section on handling stressful situations, a set of steps, which unlike the desirability metric thing, was too long for me to memorize, wish I managed to write it down (but I have another two weeks). Another interesting section on being sure and unsure and how a person should question which approach will help them get the most out of life. He went off on a long talk about AIDS and how many of the things we all believe aren’t so true. I didn’t know a lot of the things he mentioned. What was funny though was in order to show how we base our sureness on the news or professionals he used professionals to prove the counter point. But how else would you do it? Actually he was consistent in that it’s a good idea to get as many points of view as possible before committing to an idea, especially if you’re going to commit to something that can destroy you. The statistics about how doctors choose medicines was also very eye-opening.
Then he goes on to a section on meaning, also really good, and asks us to figure out what we are meant to do. What is the purpose of our lives? Anthony Robbins said his was to serve G-d and people to his utmost of his ability. I think this is a wonderful goal. To be honest, it made me realize just how much I got lost lately. I’m really not sure what’s going on. Half a year ago I knew it so clearly, now I’m not so sure. Listening to the tape he said it’s important to start somewhere. To say anything. Can you guess what came out? What’s the purpose of your life? I said to create beautiful art. Where did that come from? No idea. Being a good Yid? Being a good husband and father? The first thing that came to my mind was the art thing. Maybe that’s a big chunk of my destiny, even though the next two were (and should still be) my crystal clear goals. I finally had a weekend to relax, sleep, and think a bit more clearly. I think it’s helping, though still not sure.
He ends the book with a recap with an emphasis on meaning. He stresses that it’s as important to live each moment towards achieving a goal as it is to achieve it. His stories, like his trip to India and getting assigned dish-washing to the life-and-death situations where persistence saved lives, to the tales about death, the whole collection was just wonderful. This CD, just because of the control part would be up there with Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and it has more good parts too. Anthony Robbins’ Live with Passion! is definitely life-changing and eye opening, and worth a listen.
You can live in a palace filled with treasures and still be poor. To be wealthy you must own the things you have.
So too with poverty of the mind: You may have all the knowledge and brilliant ideas in the world, but you are still poor until they have become part of you.