Yesterday, I returned back to Japan after spending eight wonderful days in Taiwan. I had a great trip and was able to travel and stay in 4 different cities while I was there. The whole trip was a complete blast and one of the best I have ever taken. Taiwan really is a beautiful place and the people are very, very friendly. I spent a lot of time on trains and buses, and so was able to finish the book Living Deliberately.This is what I want to talk about today (more to come on Taiwan soon).
Seeing a completely new culture and experiencing the way that they live can make you question the way that you live. It makes you evaluate what you consider to be normal, important, and accepted. Things that aren’t okay in your own culture might be perfectly normal in a different country. Since I was already questioning various things about cultures, it was a perfect time to finish a book about deciding how to live.
First, let me say that I really did enjoy this book. It has a lot of great points, and I truly believe that the way of living described in this book would allow us to make a much better society. I also believe that it will allow each person to live more to their full potential and be much happier.
Put simply the main focus of this book is that we need to take responsibility for our own actions, words, thoughts, etc. We need to think of the person that we really want to be and the things that really make us happy, and then go about making them our actual situation. These things are decided by paying attention to what brings us positive feelings. The things that truly make you happy may not always be what you think (why do millionaires commit suicide and a monk can be content with almost nothing at all?).
The methods described in this book asks us to evaluate who we are. The average person may react pleasantly or hostilely to a particular situation, but rarely evaluates their own feelings to ask why they are feeling that way or if they want to feel that way. By doing so, it allows us to control all aspects of our life. We aren’t a slave to our emotions, but we understand them and have the choice on how to react and how to feel. This is not easy, and something the author says he is still working at, but also something that is worth doing.
To me the weak part of this book isn’t in the content, but in the actual writing itself. I found that I was commonly re-reading sentences and paragraphs. Each time I picked up the book it was difficult to get back into it. I think this may have to do with the authors background as a computer programmer. On the good side, he does include a number of examples that are much easier to read. The content of the book is great, and I think this is a book that everyone needs to read. I do believe that by putting the methods in this book to practice that we would all live better lives. I know this may sound a bit dramatic, but considering the state of the world today, I think we have a lot of room for improvement. You can find it on amazon here: Living Deliberately