I have just finished reading Robin Sharma’s book The Secret Letters of the Monk who sold his Ferrari and for some reason it reminds me greatly of the Celestine Prophecy book I read when I was a teenager, about 20 years ago. Gulp, how did that much time pass already, feels like yesterday. Anyways, like the Celestine Prophecy at least from my recollection, the book narrates a story around a main character that goes on a spiritual journey and uncovers some really powerful life messages. In Sharma’s book, the story is about a man, Jonathan Landry, who is making a lot of money and continuing to climb up the corporate ladder but despite an exterior skin of perceived success his world around him is crumbling. He is separated from his wife, continually disappointing his son, and fails as a friend. With the love of his wife, mother and distant relative he is put on a round the world journey that takes him to spectacular places but more importantly meets incredible people that each give him a valuable message.
The Secret Letters of the Monk who sold his Ferrari is a very easy and quick read and the valuable messages (Secret Letters) disclosed throughout the story are often criticized by some as nothing new. I found the simplicity actually to be very refreshing and although the messages has some common threads to other messages out there there is no question that everyone should still able to benefit from all the messages. I think most people would be hard pressed to say they are a master of all these life lessons so I have to disagree that a message can be too simple.
On this latter point, I was part of an interesting set of interactions last week when I took London skiing for the day. At lunch we were in between two tables of a large extended family and the one table stopped to pray before they started eating. I have never seen this done at a ski hill before but why not and it reminded me that it is a good idea to pause and appreciate the food before us – religious or not. After lunch we crossed paths with this family a couple of times at the base of the hill to get on the chair lift. It was not a busy day and most time we could ski right up to the chair lift without a wait. The couple of times we crossed paths with this family there was a short line and it amazed me that this particular family paid no etiquette to others for both times they did not follow informal ski line etiquette where you let one side in and then the other in a nice orderly fashion. Instead this family ignored all others that should have gone ahead as they forged ahead. Their behavior had no real impact on me but it was just interesting to observe. It made me shake my head that their lunch time prayers were nothing but hollow formality or they missed the sermon about compassion for others.
There were 9 letters in total speaking to the following messages:
1. The Power of Authenticity
2. Embrace Your Fears
3. Live with Kindness
4. Make Small Daily Progress
5. To Lead Your Best Life, Do Your Best Work
6. Choose Your Influences Well
7. Life’s Simplest Pleasures Are Life’s Greatest Joys
8. The Purpose of Life Is To Love
9. Stand for Something Bigger than Yourself