Robin Sharma's 'The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari'
What’s up everyone, today it’s time for another book blog post! Today’s book is more of a self-help book published in 1997 by the author and motivational speaker Robin Sharma: “The Monk who sold his Ferrari”. This book is not the usual kind of self-help book because it’s written in the style of a business fable and the lessons conveyed are more subtle and not in first person - it’s a great read! You will discover new strategies to expand your horizon and become truly grateful for life itself. This is a big thing because gratitude leads to happiness without detours.
Me personally, I read this book over a year ago near the end of 2018 but it didn’t leave my mind since; that’s why I decided to talk about it in today’s blog post. Because of the unique and detailed way Sharma describes living with monks we are convinced that this is a read for every person on this planet. There is simply too much value and interesting stories inside that you have to read it for yourself!
It’s also mentioned in our YouTube Video about the Top 10 Books we read so far, check it out here.
While writing this blog post I realized that you could create a different kind of text form because of the way this book is structured...let me show you what I mean.
“Picture the following scene…”
Sharma doesn’t structure this book in a conventional multi-part way like a lot of other books that cover this topic. Instead, he tells a beautiful fable that can be visualized by the readers; a fable that conveys all seven lessons in the form of metaphors that are easy to remember.
The easiest way to show you what I mean is simply by telling you the fable myself. Now, this may seem a little long to read but it’s definitely worth it so stick with me!
Picture the following scene…
“You are sitting in the middle of a magnificent, lush, green garden. This garden is filled with the most spectacular flowers you have ever seen. The environment is supremely tranquil and silent. Savor the sensual delights of this garden and feel as if you have all the time in the world to enjoy this natural oasis.
As you look around you see that in the center of this magical garden stands a towering, red lighthouse, six stories high.
Suddenly, the silence of the garden is disturbed by a loud creaking as the door at the base of the lighthouse opens.
Out stumbles a 9ft-tall, 900lbs Japanese sumo wrestler, wearing nothing but a pink wire cable covering his private parts.
As this sumo wrestler starts to move around the garden, he finds a shiny gold stopwatch that someone had left behind many years earlier. He slips it on, and falls to the ground unconscious, silent, and still.
Just when you think he has taken his last breath, the wrestler awakens, perhaps stirred by the fragrance of some fresh yellow roses blooming nearby. He looks at them and he is startled by what he sees.
Through the bushes at the very edge of the garden, he observes a long winding path covered by millions of sparkling diamonds. Something seems to instruct the wrestler to take the path, and to his credit, he does. This path leads him down the road of everlasting joy and eternal bliss.”
Remember it, carry it within you, and your life will be raised to its highest levels (mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually).
And as you noticed, I highlighted seven different keywords in this fable. These are the most important aspects of it; these are the words I’m going to explain to you for a better understanding.
If you memorize the essence of this fable and those keywords, the world will be yours.
#1) The Garden: Master Your Mind
The garden is meant to be a symbol of your inner life. This includes your emotions, your dreams and desires, and most importantly, your thoughts.
Mastering your mind is essential because the quality of your life is determined by the quality of your thoughts.
If this sounds weird, let me elaborate. Think about it like this, if something happens to you that’s not positive - let’s say someone cuts you off in traffic - it is up to you to decide what you make of that situation. You could start raging about the other driver and seek justice but most of the time the only person you affect with this kind of behavior is yourself.
You start getting mad, you are less focused on the road and your overall mood drops. If you were to react like this to anything slightly negative, you would quickly see your life becoming worse and worse.
On the other hand, if you manage to keep calm in situations like these and if you try to see something positive in any given situation (or at least not get hung up on the negatives), your life will quickly change for the better. You will be in a better mood, you will see more good things in the world around you and you will feel better overall.
That’s why mastering your mind is so important and that’s why everything else takes place in the garden - it’s all in our heads. I’m not saying it’s easy but it’s definitely worth it!
#2) The Lighthouse: Follow Your Purpose
We hear it all over YouTube, Instagram, and other places: follow your passion, pursue your dreams, yada yada yada. The thing is, we hear it so often because it’s so true!
We talked about this a lot in some of our other blog posts and YouTube videos so I’m not going to get too deep into this but what I can say is this, if you’re looking for lasting fulfillment then you have to do what’s right for you.
Lasting fulfillment comes from pursuing clearly defined personal, spiritual, and professional goals. We only have one shot at making this life worth it and why not spend it doing something we actually like doing - or at least trying it.
Just recently I saw a video by the YouTuber Matt D’avella where he talks about this and how we usually put off our personal goals until it’s too late because we don’t feel like we have a deadline. Our day-to-day life buries what we really want to do.
A Cornell study showed that the majority of people when it’s all said and done, don’t regret the things they did do but regret the things they didn’t do. So we might as well try!
#3) The Sumo Wrestler: Practice Kaizen
Kaizen is an old, Sino-Japanese word for “improvement”. It’s a concept referring to business activities that continuously improve all functions across the entire line of people within an organization, but it can also be applied to an individual.
Always seeking to improve and always trying to be a little bit better than you were yesterday are very honorable attributes. Building positive habits and creating routines that get the most out of your day are things that everyone should be doing.
And don’t try to go out there and change your life as a whole. This will probably get pretty tiring pretty quickly because one simply gets overwhelmed by the task at hand.
Instead, think of your life as 16h-mini-episodes on an everyday basis (16 hours because we spend about 8 hours sleeping). 16 hours are much more manageable than your whole entire life and it’s much easier to build routines and habits that can improve your days - because that’s how we experience life: from one day to the next and not all at once as a whole.
In this book Sharma also explains what he calls “The ten ancient rules for radiant living”, or in other words, ten habits you can try to implement into your life that will have a positive effect on you and they are:
- Solitude (being okay with yourself)
- Physicality (exercise)
- Nourishment (eat healthily)
- Abundant Knowledge (read a few pages of a book every day)
- Personal Reflection (regularly reflect on your situation)
- Early Awakening (the early bird catches the worm)
- Music (you read that right; music can have an incredible effect on us)
- Spoken Word (positive affirmations)
- Congruent Character (stay true to yourself)
- Simplicity (often less is more)
And remember: Don’t try to do it all at once, simply try to be a little better today than you were yesterday. Your life IS today - that’s all it is. It’s just today repeated.
#4) The Wire Cable: Living With Discipline
Nowadays ‘discipline’ has become a weird term. When we hear the word discipline we think of people that grind through their days, not stopping until they have ticked off every box on their to-do lists, and that kind of sounds exhausting.
Discipline can be much simpler than this. Discipline means that you have to be consistent with what it is you’re doing. Working out one time won’t get you fit just like eating fast food once won’t make you fat. It’s the things we do on a regular basis that determine how our life will play out.
Think of it like the wire cables that hold up huge bridges all over the world. They’re not just a few, really thick cables that hold all the strengths. No, every single one of these cables is made of dozens- or even hundreds of smaller cables that are much stronger together.
The actions we take on a daily basis are like these small cables and over time our actions become habits that can work for or against us. Let’s make them work for us!
#5) The Stopwatch: Respect Your Time
Things like our possessions or money can come and go - we go to work to earn some money that we then spend some of and the rest will be saved or even invested. Time on the other hand is different because time doesn’t come.
Time is the most precious asset we have because it is non-renewable and we should respect our time. We should have the courage to say “No” and we should try to spend our time wisely.
This whole concept of time ties closely into the things we touched on in chapter three so I’m not going to repeat myself too much. Just try to think of it with that same deathbed mentality and ask yourself if you’re actually getting the most out of your days.
#6) The Roses: Selflessly Serve Others
Sharma is of the opinion that the quality of your life ultimately comes down to the quality of your contribution and I couldn’t agree more. We base most of our decisions on what we want and what’s best for us but being kind to others never hurts.
Practice daily acts of kindness, give to those who ask, and cultivate richer relationships because that’s what it’s about. What’s the point of it all if we simply keep everything to ourselves?
Always remember: A joy shared becomes twice the joy and a sorrow shared becomes half a sorrow.
#7) The Diamond Path: Embrace The Present
Modern society (myself included) has a pretty short attention span. We are always looking for something new; always looking to avoid boredom of any kind.
If you think about it, we are encouraged to not live in the now. Even when we all were still in school we didn’t think about the now but about something else - we were thinking about the past and the things we did, we were studying or working on stuff that was coming up and we are always planning far ahead into the future.
While it’s normal - and essential - to do this, we often forget to cherish the moment. We should try to distance ourselves from all the events and simply take in the NOW for a few seconds every once in a while.
And it’s not even that complicated: looking in the sky and taking it in for a few seconds, enjoying the sunset every other day, or dropping everything and focusing on your breath for one or two minutes are all really effective!
I think no one said it better than Master Oogway from Kung-Fu Panda:
“Yesterday is history,
Tomorrow is a mystery,
and today is a gift…
That’s why it’s called present.”
And that’s all there is to say.
I hope you enjoyed this quick, surface-level summary of the book and that you could take something valuable with you. I say this every time but I truly mean it, definitely read this book on your own, too!
Get it here: https://amzn.to/2sPChdV
When you’re reading a book by yourself you can really get into the world the author created and you can learn SO many more things that I simply can’t get into in a quick little blog post. You won’t regret reading it!
I said it before and I’ll say it again, always remember: Don’t try to do it all at once, simply try to be a little better today than you were yesterday. Your life IS today - that’s all it is. It’s just today repeated.
See you next time,