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Reading a book opens my mind to other people’s ideas. It is a way to learn something new and to better my perspectives in life.
And these ideas and perspectives help me get through difficult times: when I am stuck, when I doubt myself, and when I worry that I would fail. These ideas give me a sense of direction and answers to some of my self-inquiries.
But reading a book should never end by finishing the last page of the story and by putting it back on the shelf (still depends on the book).
It requires active reflection and application. For example, how this story relates to me? in what part of my life or situation can I use this? with whom can I share it?
At this point of this blog, I would like to share with you the books I read during lockdown (I also included my Amazon link just in case you want to purchase them):
- Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday.
The book has three main parts: mind, soul, and body. The concept, like many of Ryan’s book, is based on Stoicism. He also cited many historical figures as a source of story and example to get his ideas across. This book is a friendly read. (Link: https://amzn.to/3eHAtWO)
- Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ by Daniel Coleman.
Daniel Coleman is a well-known psychologist. In this book, he discussed self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, marriage, relationship issues, and many more. I highly recommend this book for those who wish to have a better understanding of how the brain works both intellectually and emotionally. This book is perfect for Psychology student and those who have emotional struggles. (Link: https://amzn.to/398FR3Q)
- Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle.
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher. This book is a collection of his lecture notes. He wrote about the highest good that a man can attain—the object without anything further—and what makes a man virtuous. He also introduced the Doctrine of the Mean which is a good way to balance our situations that is not too much or too little. This book is perfect for those who want to have an introduction on Philosophy. (Link: https://amzn.to/2ZDv4eU)
- Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.
Ryan Holiday introduced me to Marcus Aurelius through The Daily Stoic which I read last year. Marcus Aurelius was a Roman Emperor. This book is a compilation of his notes for personal encouragement. It has diverse topics: virtue, rationality, emotions, and many more. The stoic idea of journaling inspired me to start writing a blog. This book is perfect for those who want to have an introduction on Stoic Philosophy. (Link: https://amzn.to/2OCCFnL)
These books contain precious ideas that no matter how ancient, simple, or cliché could help others by surprise. Also, these give me a sense of duty that when I finished a book, I should write a blog and share it.
Sense of Duty: Sharing with others
This voluntary sense of duty allows me to realize that life’s meaning and purpose cannot always be found in grand pursuit. But can be found by doing simple, yet valuable pursuit. And by writing blogs, I found a spark of them.
Sometimes I find it difficult to get my thoughts written. It is not always that easy. And sometimes I doubt my capabilities, and I am afraid of what people would say if I fail or make a mistake.
But the people who are inspired and moved by my stories and reflections keep me going.
Optimism: the antidote for self-doubt and failure
When I have self-doubt and worries, I recognize and accept them as they are. I do not resist.
I know for a fact that people who are trying to do something valuable or important to them sometimes experience self-doubt and sometimes fail. But they do it anyway.
Self-doubt and failures are naturally upsetting. Ironically, they are also essential factors in making life experience genuine. So I do not bury my head in the sand or force positivity when I am not.
But I consider the bright side of self-doubt and failure. Self-doubt hinders me from becoming an overly confident person. To be so may result in recklessness. And failures teach me how to do things better next time. That is how I see them.
Self-doubt and failures are part of the negative side of the coin. As much as I do not want to suppress them, I must also address them appropriately.
I keep myself realistically optimistic. I believe no matter how bad the situation is, things will turn out all right again.
“Optimism means having a strong expectation that things will turn out all right in life despite setbacks and frustrations.”Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman.
Reading a book, finding our sense of directions, being realistically optimistic, and sharing with others have never run out of style in finding the meaning and purpose of our life.
We might come to a point that we do not believe in ourselves anymore and we become too afraid of what other people would say if we fail.
Remember, if we will never believe in ourselves, nobody will.
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