Although Byways to Blessedness was written many years ago, the book is still useful today. In the book, James Allen provides advice that enables readers to live a wonderful life. He encourages readers to find happiness by avoiding negative states of mind as they lead to suffering. Also, he enlightens readers on the importance of difficulties and solitude.
There are many lessons James Allen provides in the book, but here are the lessons that I loved the most.
- How You Begin Your Day Matters
How you begin your day matters because it determines how your day will be. Your day will be filled with joy if you begin it wisely and joyfully. However, you might have a bad day if you start it with a poor attitude. James Allen believes that you can have a wonderful day when you wake up early and have a walk in nature if possible. I support him, and I also believe that you can have a good day by beginning your day with gratitude and reading an inspirational quote.
- How to be Great
If you want to be great, you must sacrifice pride because pride can prevent you from doing the things that will make you great. Besides this, you must be willing to dedicate all your mind and energy on one thing, and you must avoid focusing on the outcome.
- The True Nature of Difficulty
According to James Allen, we must realize that difficulty exists in the mind, and this is why a difficult experience for a child might be easy to an adult.
James Allen also teaches that difficulty fosters growth and development because it forces us to exercise our intelligence and awaken our hidden powers.
- The Negative Effects of Resentfulness
Resentfulness causes suffering because it prevents you from attaining true enlightenment. Moreover, it hardens your heart and results in you failing to attain the blessings that were meant for you.
Furthermore, it makes you suffer because it causes a troubled mind and makes you constantly remember the bad things some people did to you.
- See No Evil And You’ll Free Yourself From Suffering and Sorrow
According to James Allen, you free yourself from suffering and sorrow when you stop judging people from your viewpoint of what’s right and wrong. When you realize that people have their personal viewpoints which make them do certain things and that everybody thinks that whatever he or she is doing is necessary for them.
- The Secret to Joy
James Allen believes that it’s possible to find abiding joy while here on earth because you are responsible for creating either joy or sorrow in your life. He also believes that one can find joy through caring for others and being selfless because selfishness results in suffering. Besides this, he teaches that one can find joy by avoiding the attachment to things and loving everyone.
- The Importance of Solitude
Solitude is necessary for your spiritual life as sleep is necessary for your body. Solitude is so important that lacking it can result in a spiritual break down. Solitude enables you to find the strength, wisdom, and knowledge needed to overcome life’s hardships. Also, it enables you to realize your true self and the hidden powers or possibilities within you.
8 Nuggets of Wisdom from the Four Agreements by Don Ruiz
In his book, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, Don Ruiz, provides wonderful pieces of advice that will help you find freedom. The book is simple and enlightening, and all individuals in search of true happiness should read it.
Here are seven nuggets of wisdom I learned from the book.
- We Always Domesticate Our Children
According to Don Ruiz, children are domesticated the same way animals are domesticated. We domesticate them by punishing them when they go against our rules and rewarding them when they obey us. Therefore, they grow up with a certain belief and behavioral system that is forced upon them.
- Our Belief System Guides Our Thoughts And Actions
Each and every one of us has a set of beliefs that guide our thoughts and actions, and we always feel guilty whenever we think, or take actions that are against these beliefs. For instance, you always feel guilty when you steal because stealing is bad according to your belief system. However, a Viking felt good when he stole other people’s possessions because his set of beliefs allowed stealing.
- Why Your Beliefs Have the Power to Guide You
Your beliefs have the power to guide you because you believe they are true. You completely trust them and you have never taken your time to question their sensibility and check if they are taking you in the right direction.
- Our Biggest Fear is to Be Authentic
We avoid showing the world our true nature because our biggest fear is to be ourselves. We prefer living in accordance with the society’s rules because we fear that we might fail to fit in if we express what we really are. However, most people who achieve personal freedom and true success are always authentic. They never fear to be who they are and they audaciously go after what they truly want.
- Be Careful With Your Word
You must be careful with your word because it helps you express your intention and creative energy. It enables you to create anything you want in this world, and you can either use it to create a beautiful life or hell on earth.
Also, your word makes you a magician because you can use it to influence the lives of other people. For instance, your friend can start loving herself passionately if you constantly tell her that she is a wonderful being. Conversely, the same friend can dislike herself if you constantly tell her that she is an ugly loser.
- Don’t Take Things Personally
Taking things people say personally shows that you agree with what they say. Stop agreeing with everything people say about you because whatever people say comes from their personal viewpoint. For this reason, it’s all about them, and not you.
Taking things personally will waste your time and energy because you’ll keep thinking why some people said something about you, and how you’ll get back at them. Therefore, by stopping to take things personally, you avoid negative emotions such as envy, and hate.
- Stop Making Assumptions
Most of us make assumptions that eventually hurt us. For instance, we love making assumptions about our friends, and relatives. We assume they know what hurts and what doesn’t hurt us, and therefore, we get offended when they do something that hurts us. Also, when some of us enter romantic relationships, we assume that we have a similar perception of a relationship with our spouses. For this reason, we get hurt when our spouses do something we assumed they wouldn’t do.
- Always Do Your Best
Do your best because by doing so you’ll avoid guilt and regret as you will love yourself, and you’ll be more fruitful. In the book, Don Ruiz defines doing your best as enjoying the action you take without expecting rewards. Therefore, you know you are doing your best when you are not working while thinking about payday.
9 Key Takeaways From Sapiens by Yuval Harari
Yuval Harari’s book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind, enables readers to realize how modern human beings arrived at their current position. It’s a wonderful book that every unbounded thinker must read.
A few months ago, I provided you with the most enlightening quotes from the book. Today, I’ll share with you 9 lessons I learned from the book.
- Trade Cannot Exist Without Trust
Trade exists because we trust our money, banks, and companies. We trust that companies will deliver to us the products we want if we deposit money in their accounts. Moreover, companies trust the banks in which we deposit our money.
Besides modern trade, ancient trade also existed because tribes trusted each other. These tribes believed that other tribes had good intentions and for this reason, they went to market centers to trade with them.
- Why People Eat Too Much High-Calorie Foods
Today, we wonder why we love high-calorie foods despite knowing that they are harmful to our health. Yuval Harari reveals that we do so because human beings were wired to eat a large quantity of high-calorie foods since these foods were scarce in ancient times. In the book, he provides an example of an ancient woman who stumbles upon a tree full of figs and she consumes as many figs as possible because she knows that she might not eat a single fig if a troop of baboons finds the tree.
- The Pursuit of An Easier Life Always Results in Hardships
Human beings experienced many hardships when they left a nomadic life for an ‘easy’ agricultural life. The agricultural life resulted in the spread of many diseases due to man’s closeness with animals. Besides this, the agricultural life increased child mortality because it resulted in overpopulation.
Similarly, many people today take demanding jobs with high salaries believing that they will have an easy life because they’ll save, invest and retire in their mid-30s. However, by the time they are 30, they realize that they can’t leave their jobs because they have a family, a mortgage to pay, and a car to fuel. For this reason, they continue slaving away.
- Most of us Think in a Way that was Forced upon Our Ancestors
Today, many people across the world believe in principles such as human rights, nationalism, and liberalism because these ideas were forced upon their ancestors during colonization. These ideas are not necessarily right because they came from people who imagined them and forced them upon our great-grandparents for the purpose of creating a large structured culture such as an empire or country.
- The Mind is Always Dissatisfied and Restless
When you have a painful experience, your mind will want the pain to go away. However, when you have a pleasurable experience, the mind will still be dissatisfied and restless because it will wish the pleasure remains.
- The Importance of Studying History
Studying history enables us to realize that the world’s present situation was avoidable and man-made. Besides this, it shows that the future holds unlimited possibilities for us.
For instance, studying colonization enables us to realize that the current situation in Africa was man-made and avoidable. This situation could have been different if colonization could not have taken place.
- The Value of Admitting That You Don’t Know
If you admit that you don’t know about a particular topic, you will gain new knowledge because you will have to research and think deeper about the topic.
Scientific knowledge came into existence when human beings accepted the fact that they knew nothing. This willingness to accept ignorance resulted in humans looking for new knowledge through observations and experiments hence resulting in the birth of science.
- Knowledge Enabled Europe to Colonize the Whole World
Unlike other powerful empires which conquered nations to acquire power and wealth, Europe conquered nations to gain knowledge about them. For instance, when Napoleon went to conquer Egypt, he took hundreds of researchers to study Egypt and its people. Besides this, when British conquered India it studied India’s military, and its cultures hence making it easy to colonize Indians because it knew all their weaknesses and strengths.
Therefore, gathering knowledge about other nations enabled Europe to know their behaviours, cultures, weak points, and strengths hence making it easy to colonize them.
- More Money Only Brings Happiness to Low-Income Earners
More money only brings happiness to people earning low incomes because it enables them to afford more basic needs and comfort. A poor person earning 100 $ a month will be happy if his income is tripled because he will be able to feed his family without the risk of running into debt. However, when a manager earning 300,000$ a month wins a 1,000,000 $ lottery his happiness won’t increase because he will use the money to buy luxury goods that he will eventually get used to.
The above lessons are only a few of the many lessons in Yuval Harari’s wonderful book. I’m sorry you’ll just have to read the whole book because I can’t provide you with every single lesson I learned from it. Just spare some time and read the book, and if you are an enlightened thinker you’ll realize the many pearls of wisdom in it.
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