Who Will Cry When you Die? is a useful book to read about life’s lessons. It is written by Robin Sharma with clarity and lucidity. Each chapter in the book has quotes from historic and prolific people which offer insights into everyday experiences and how can better those experiences and oneself. Each chapter in the book raises a point related to life: how one can better one’s day (contemplating, envisioning and reading), learn to say no but gracefully, importance of taking a weekly sabbatical in this age of anxiety (for self-renewal, for deep reflection, for period of peace), why one should talk to oneself (read more and more wisdom literature and self-help literature), the need to be silent (“Experiencing solitude, for even a few minutes a day, will keep you centred on your highest life priorities and help you avoid the neglect that pervades the lives of so many of us.”), and why getting up early enriches you and rekindles your spirit.
LAUGH, PLEASE: ‘Laugh More’
How many times do you smile in a day? How many times you laugh in a day? Do you make your nearest or dearest one to smile or laugh at least once in a day…? “Daily laughter has been shown to elevate our moods, promote creativity and give us more energy. Comedian Steve Martin reportedly laughs for five minutes in front of the mirror every morning to get his creative juices flowing and to start his day on a high note,” Robin Sharma observes in ‘Laugh More’. “Laughter therapy has even been used to cure illnesses and heal those with serious ailments.”
TROUBLES AS BLESSINGS:
The best aspect of the book is that it raises the most simple or elementary fact of life for example on troubles. In “See Your Troubles as Blessings” Robin Sharma reminds the reader: “You would not have the wisdom and knowledge you now possess were it not for the setbacks you have faced, the mistakes you have made and the suffering you have endured. Once and for all, come to realize that pain is a teacher and failure is the highway to success.”
DISCOVER YOUR CALLING:
‘Discover Your Calling’ is the title of the first chapter of the book among 101. How can one discover one’s calling, or one’s purpose in life? Or, how can one make one’s existence worthwhile? One has to discover but how to discover especially in these times as the author mentions ‘we can stay connected and yet we live in a time where human beings have never been less connected. We have lost touch with our humanity. We have lost touch with our purpose. We have lost sight of the things that matter the most’. Robin Sharma mentions, “We are all here for some unique purpose, some noble objective that will allow us to manifest our highest human potential while we, at the same time, add value to the lives around us. Finding your calling doesn’t mean you must leave the job you now have. It simply means you need to bring more of yourself into your work and focus on the things you do best. It means you have to stop waiting for other people to make the changes you desire and, as Mahatma Gandhi noted: “Be the change that you wish to see most in your world.” And once you do, your life will change.”
Every religion says to its adherents to be kind, to be considerate, to be compassionate. Compassion, courtesy, decency, kindness…distinguish humans from beasts. To be compassionate, courteous, decent, kind…one need not do great or grand feat that will put one on the front covers of newspapers. The author reminds: “A meaningful life is made up of a series of daily acts of decency and kindness, which ironically, add up to something truly great over the course of a lifetime.” It could trying to make one person smile or offering your seat in a tram or bus to a stranger who is standing or paying a visit to your colleague or classmate who is ill…if so, your day has been worthwhile.
SHORT LIFE: savour life!
Life is short. So, maintain your perspective: life is a mere blip. Make the most of the journey of your life. In ‘Maintain Your Perspective’ Robin Sharma reminds: ‘To live happier, more fulfilling lives, when we encounter a difficult circumstance, we must keep shifting our perspective and continually ask ourselves, “Is there a wiser, more enlightened way of looking at this seemingly negative situation?” Stephen Hawking, one of the greatest physicists ever, is reported to have said that we live on a minor planet of a hundred thousand million galaxies. How’s is that for a shift in perspective? Given this information, are your troubles really that big? Are the problems you have experienced or the challenges you might currently be facing as serious as you have made them out to be?’ So, demonstrate the wisdom to yourself: enjoy or embrace the journey of life and savour the processes of life.
SELF-DISCIPLINE: TOUGH LOVE
We all know self-discipline is important in our personal and professional lives. Robin Sharma terms self-discipline as tough love. He writes: “The golden thread of a highly successful and meaningful life is self-discipline. Discipline allows you to do all those things you know in your heart you should do but never feel like doing. Without self-discipline, you will not set clear goals, manage your time effectively, treat people well, persist though the tough times, care for your health or think positive thoughts.”
KEEP A JOURNAL: ‘A journal is not a diary’
Robin Sharma recommends the readers to maintain a daily journal and it will be ‘one of the best growth initiatives you will ever make’ because by ‘writing down your daily experiences along with the lessons you have drawn from them will make you wiser with each passing day’ and you will ‘develop self-awareness’ and make ‘fewer mistakes’ and you will remain ‘focused on the things that truly count’. Journal is where you can have one-on-one conversations with you and yourself. The author stresses that maintaining a journal forces you to do the ‘deep thinking’ which ‘will help you live in a more intentional and enlightened way’.
DO NOT MAKE PROMISES UNLESS YOU WILL /CAN HONOUR:
Across the world, people have a general distaste for politicians and political parties, you can understand, why! Also, it is not uncommon to hear from a friend or an acquaintance: we shall meet soon, we will meet over dinner, blah, blah…and that never happens, and what never told in the first place actually meaning it but filling verbal time. To be more precise, have you honoured the words that you gave to yourself: to be healthy, to be considerate to your friends and family…?
Robin Sharma writes in ‘Develop an Honesty Philosophy’: “We live in a world of broken promises. We live in a time when people treat their words lightly. We tell a friend we will call her next week for lunch knowing full well we do not have the time to do so. We promise a co-worker we will bring in that new book we love so much knowing full well that we never lend out our books. And we promise ourselves this will be the year we will get back into shape, simplify our lives and have more fun without any real intention of making the deep life changes necessary to achieve these goals.” The author writes why keeping a promise is important: “Saying things we don’t really mean becomes a habit when we practice it long enough. The real problem is that when you don’t keep your word, you lose credibility. When you lose credibility, you break the bonds of trust. And breaking the bonds of trust ultimately leads to a string of broken relationships.” To practise what one says to do, he suggests to go on ‘truth fast’ which is: “To develop an honesty philosophy, begin to monitor many small untruths you tell over the course of a week.”
HONOR YOUR PAST:
Observe your past to draw lessons especially the negative ones but let them not be an obstacle for the future. Robin Sharma writes: “Life’s greatest setbacks reveal life’s biggest opportunities. As the ancient thinker Euripides noted: ‘There is in the worst of fortune the best changes for a happy change.’ If you have suffered more than your fair share of difficulties in life, perhaps you are being prepared to serve some greater purpose that will require you to be equipped with the wisdom you have acquired through your trials. Use these life lessons to fuel your future growth. Remember, happy people have often experienced as much adversity as those who are unhappy. What sets them apart is that they have the good sense to manage their miseries in a way that enriches their lives.”
YOUR BODY, YOUR SOUL:
In ‘Care for the Temple’ the author reminds the importance of paying attention to one’s body, your temple, in order to ensure one’s health and one’s happiness. He writes: “Regular exercise will not only improve your health, it will help you think more clearly, boost creativity and manage the relentless stress that seems to dominate our days. And research has proven that exercise will not only add life to your years, it could add years to your life. One study of 18,000 Harvard alumni found that every hour spent on exercise added three hours to the participants’ lives. Few investments will yield a better return than time spent on physical fitness.”
The book is worthwhile to read, and also to buy another copy as a present to someone you care for.