By Chinazom Chidolue
“Qualities that will help you succeed: Self-discipline, desire, persistence, focus, effort, patience, energy, obsessiveness, observance, confidence, trust in self, emotional commitment, humility, adaptability, boldness, openness”
I read this book soon after I started my first job out of university, and was trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. This book could not have come at a better time because it seeks to help people discover their life’s task and find a path that will lead to success/ fulfilment. Robert Greene conducted several interviews with different people who are masters in their fields, and gave examples from their lives about the challenges they faced on their way to becoming masters and how they overcame them. It talks about the importance of apprenticeship, self-education and mentorship. Green also talked about the importance of valuing learning over money especially at the beginning stages of your career when you are trying to figure out your life’s task. According to the book, if you focus on money you will always be focused on trying to prove that you deserve such a big paycheck. Your focus will be diverted from acquiring skills to your insecurities, and this eventually catches up to you.
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How I Applied It
I think the most important lesson I learnt from the book is the need to do away with the idea that everything in life should be pleasurable. I have a tendency to abandon things/projects when they get boring, but I am learning to stick to things ESPECIALLY when they get boring because according to Greene, “the pain and boredom we experience in the initial stage of learning a skill toughens our mind.”
“Great businesses are not built by extraordinary people but by ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”
All the words in the 265 pages of this book seem so important to know and remember that I highlighted almost all the paragraphs and left stickies in almost every chapter.
The “E-myth” this book refers to is the Entrepreneurial myth. Most people have the wrong idea about businesses and more so about being an entrepreneur. This book shows you how to start and run your small business in a productive way. It breaks down the difference between the entrepreneur (the inner-visionary who thinks of new ideas and new ways to do things), the manager (who creates order and routine) and the technician (the doer who focuses on techniques and implementation). You realize that when people try to play all 3 roles at the same time there is a big problem for you and for your business. The book also talks about the importance of having systems.
“If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business—you have a job. And it’s the worst job in the world because you’re working for a lunatic!”
One of the best lessons learned from the book is the fact that lots of people try to start a business in their craft. In many cases, people start resenting the thing that they once loved to do when they decide to start businesses. For most people, working in a business as a technician (eg. a baker) is the best way to explore their passion.
How I Applied It
In college, I started writing resumes and cover letters for people for free because I kind of enjoyed it. When I graduated, I saw it as a way to make money, and I actually made some money doing it and I thought about turning it into a business, but then I realized just how much work it involved. I realized that it would be hard to build a system for this, and I started resenting it because I had to wear all the hats.
“Busy your mind with the concepts of harmony, health, peace, and good will, and wonders will happen in your life.”
Murphy explained the relationship between your conscious (active thoughts) and subconscious (automatic thoughts). The subconscious mind interacts and reacts with our patterns of thinking and behaviour. It is left to us to direct the subconscious mind to work in our favour rather than against us (as the subconscious mind does not distinguish between negative and positive thoughts – it only reacts to what it is fed). From this book, you learn that life does not happen to us, we happen to life: instead of looking outside for the solutions to our problems, we need to start looking inwards.
How I Applied It
Three words: Daily positive affirmations. I learnt from the book that the best time to impregnate the subconscious mind is at night before we go to bed and in the morning when we first wake up before we are distracted by our responsibilities.
So tell me, what are the favorite books you read in 2016?