A new age kid with curly brown hair, with his deep big brown eyes. He had kind of a bigger than average nose. Loosely dressed in his casual denims, a size bigger than what fits of a t shirt, with the cool new Yeezys, he […]
Author: Shivam Chhuneja
15 August, 1947. The day India got independence from the British rule. Those were some messy times for our country. I could bore you with all the independence day facts that scoopwhoop type websites are going to cover. My aim is not that. The […]
This is a story from 2014, while I was playing in Denmark and was also a part of the ‘coaching the coaches’ leadership program. There are many situations in our life where we struggle to get what we want.
This might be because we are either shy of asking people, or we feel that we do not deserve it. This feeling alone can make us feel that we do not have the guts or the charisma to be an outgoing person and ask the world for the things we believe we deserve.
Some of you might say, that all we have to do is be confident and believe in our abilities. Some of you might think we have to be more knowledgeable than others to be given the chance to even ask for what we want and need.
Recently, I was listening to a podcast by Noah Kagan, and he was talking about his coffee challenge. The challenge is that you have to go to a coffee shop, order a coffee and ask for a 10% discount.
If the person asks why, you either make something up or you say Shivam asked me to ask for a 10% discount, can I get a 10% discount please.
Now, you might scoff and say that it’s too easy. I have been into sales, presented in front of hundreds of people bla bla.
Just try it once.
You will stop seeing the world as you do now.
So, when I was in Denmark, we used to have a sports psychologist and our coach, Istvan Moldovan who by far is one of the most influential people in my own life.
Not only did I learn the basics of motivational psychology and performance enhancement from him, but also a huge lesson for my life.
He was in touch with one of the biggest table tennis brands and I asked him if he could get me a special table tennis blade while on his way to Denmark from Sweden. He said “of course Shivam, I will see what I can get”
He got me a new blade, and that day when we went for practice, I told my teammates that Istvan got me a new blade from Sweden.
They asked him: Why did Shivam get one and they did not.
Now what he said, has literally changed my life.
Marcus Aurelius in one of his meditations talks about learning, not becoming too stubborn in our lives.
“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
This has another lesson to it apart from seeking the truth.
It says that we must not become complacent.
So what is the relation of this to my story?
Alright, I will tell you.
To not become complacent in our lives, we must have the guts to openly ask for what we want and deserve.
Let’s go back to Denmark.
Istvan told the players that Shivam got a new blade because he asked for it.
And that showed me that getting what we want in life is easy. All we have to do is muster up the courage and ask for it.
Maybe you want to write a book, or become an entrepreneur or want a salary raise. Of course, there is planning and strategy involved.
But if we do not go ahead with the ask, the sale will never be made.
Grant Cardone, in one of his surprise sales test for one of his clients, noticed that more than half of the salespeople were never even asking the client to finalize the sale.
Since they were not asking for the sale, the sale simply wasn’t happening.
This lesson has stayed with me for the past 3 years, travelled with me to 5 different countries and is going to stay with me for another 50(at least).
The lesson summed up in a single word, and simplified?
That is the law of the universe.
Being successful in life has no correlation with reading more and more books. Period. You will see people like Tai Lopez and other talking about reading and reading. Are you f*cking kidding me? Really? Can just reading books by these super successful […]
We usually do not read many books in our day to day life. I always talk about the importance of reading in my YouTube videos, especially that reading books and absorbing the information is essential to frame who we are and who we become in our future. Books are packed with a bunch of creative information which if used properly can literally change our world as we know it. Now, I normally talk about non-fiction books, like the article I did almost a month ago on the books I read in May 2017.
This article however, will include a couple of fiction books. I have came to realize, recently that fiction plays a huge role in deciding the frequency that my brain is in. These days I read fiction before sleeping, so as to turn my brain towards a creative and a dreamy state(A tip from Tim Ferriss). Fiction books as well can include important lessons that we can apply into our lives for the better.
Let’s get to our list of amazing books to change your life.
These are not necessarily in a ranking order.
This book’s title is extremely intriguing to me. Miyamoto is known as the best swordsman to ever live on the planet. This book is basically strategy of life, explained by his experiences in battle and his own life. Ranging from what he learnt about living the life, fighting hard for what we believe in and practical philosophy, this one covers it all.
Like one of the quotes that really struck me, which I used to use when I played table tennis was, “You can only fight the way you practice”.
This is huge. We always had kids who never used to be serious in practice, and then expected to suddenly be amazing in a tournament, and it never played out that way.
I do not remember who said this quote but it goes something like “You never rise to your expectations, you always fall to your practice level”
Give this one a read, take notes, and try and apply just one thing every week to your life, and watch your life change before your own eyes in a couple of days.
I have on multiple occasions talked about Tim, on my YouTube channel, as well as with my clients on certain strategies about marketing and business. Tim, is one of the best masters of productivity and being more effective in our life. He has one of the most downloaded podcasts ever, if I am not wrong.
In his podcast he interviews the greatest of greats from all the walks of life. From people like Jamie Foxx, Ramit Sethi, Seth Godin to Wim Hof. He noticed certain key points, certain patterns that seem to emerge within all these best of the best human beings.
In this book, Tools Of The Titans, he has put all of that together at one place.
The book is divided into 3 parts, Healthy, Wealthy and Wise to give us a total view of our life as human beings.
Now, this is not a continuous read. You want to pick this book up, open a random page, take a few pointers, and go your way. Do this enough times and apply those, that is a 180 degree turn in your life.
This is one of those fiction books that I recommend to everyone. It was written in 1940s as far as I remember, talks about the year of 1984. The way he describes things happening, the war, the constant battle of one man within himself, the doubts he starts to entertain with the current dictator.
It is simply an amazing account of imagination, arranged in such an awesome way, that it every single time I read, takes me right to the 1984 dictatorship era that he talks about. Hail Big Brother..!
A must read..!!!
Now, I call Grant as my mentor for multiple reasons. One of them being my chance to work on his booklet and the motivation that I got out of it. Second, I completely resonate with his ideas on society, how we work, pushing other people to be successful for themselves and their families.
He is pretty open about what he believes is right, one of the big things being that we have to be obsessed with what we are doing in our lives. And that quality led me on the path I am right now since I resonated with his thoughts about society and the workings of our economy as a whole. This book is more of a nudge to people who feel this passion towards one thing in their life, want to achieve more and the society is not letting them.
People might tell us that we are too serious about life, money is not important and all that stuff. Grant basically in this books clears all that by the point that every successful person there ever was and ever will be was obsessed about the thing that they were doing in their life.
Disclaimer: I am currently reading this one, about three fourth of the way.
However, that is enough to give me the confidence to recommend this book to all of you. This is an awesome book. I have a huge interest in psychology and consumer behavior. What this book does is, it ties all that into place and talks about how various brands manipulate us to buy from them.
In this book there are certain shocks you might get, like brands manipulating our psyche to sell us cigarettes, and even razors to deodorants. Martin analyzes various advertising and branding campaigns that brands have used to sell us things. One of my favorite ones, was actually the one he, himself concocted for Ferrari. The detail is awesome, and the way these brands spend millions of dollars to get into our heads is simply amazing.
The aim is to educate us about the fact that we are being manipulated, not just today, but sometimes even before we are born. Yep, you heard me right. Manipulating babies while in womb, is a big one people.
You do not want to miss this book.
I fell in love with Neil’s writing when I read The Graveyard Book. An amazing account of how a small baby gets to a cemetery and is raised by the ghosts. Neil, has an amazing imagination. In Norse Mythology he undertakes the awesome task of getting us closer to the world of the gods like Thor, Loki and the characters you might see in the Avengers movie.
There are many versions of these stories, however I chose Neil, because of his imagination, the way he tells these stories. He never has too much detail, yet enough to get us right in the middle of Asgard, the kingdom of Gods.
Surely, an amazing read before you sleep. The book is organized in these short stories or cases let’s say which are a great way to turn of your logical brain before sleeping.
Now, there are a ton of books out there on figuring out who you are and taking steps towards achieving them. This one, by far is one of the best I have read. Robert has this amazing way to research and write books. He takes copious amount of notes, forms lessons with stories.
Most of the non fiction books you will find out there revolve around telling us “do this, do that” This one however, apart from telling us what can we do to better figure out our bliss, gives us stories from the all time greats like Mozart, Leonardo Da Vinci and others and what they did to figure out their purpose in life and what it really took for them to get what they were made for.
Also, this book simplifies all of their discoveries, and makes them look as normal people. Which truly, they were if we look at the life decisions they made, the things they did and the work they put into their craft. Everything they achieved in their lives was a direct result of the work they put in for years and years.
This is the first book I read on money, business and the life beyond taking up a corporate job. I do not say that having a job is bad, but this one really got me thinking on the topic of making my life something more than just about me. After reading this book not only I started thinking like an entrepreneur but I also started thinking for the people around me and how I could improve their lives.
It made me think of all the amazing things I could do with my life, which would have a huge impact on my family. Not only that, it made it clear why the business people made more money even by doing the same amount of work, for the exact same salary.
A simple example is, that people get their income to spend after the taxes are cut. However, a business gets to spend first and then pay lesser taxes on the remaining money. Tadannn..!!
So if you have a job, and you make $5000/ month, let’s say you get charged 40% as tax(depending on your country). You are left with, $3000 to spend after paying taxes, on which when you buy something you again pay the tax on goods.
If you were the only employee in your company, and you were hired to do a job and got paid $5000/month, you get to spend first. Let’s say you spent $3000 as business expenses. Now you are left with $2000 and you have to pay 10-15-20% tax on $2000 instead.
Instant money making machine.
Seth Godin is one of the most prominent marketers of this time. Not only he built up e-mail marketing as we know it, but also has changed millions of lives by his books and speeches. He is someone who motivates and pushes people to try and not be just another cog in the system. He motivates people to bring about the change they seek in the world.
He has been of immense help to me personally in figuring out a lot of things in my life. I bought all of his courses on Udemy, practically the best $300ish I have ever spent in my life.
Now, he does not have much video content on his video courses, however, he has a ton of thinking work involved, which is very important.
Purple Cow is all about finding your idea which is different than anyone else and then pursuing it and trying to make it a reality.
Linchpin, is about becoming indispensable in whatever we do in our lives. If we become an indispensable worker, an indespensible boss, an entrepreneur, we can bring the change in the world without the necessary repercussions that come along with going in the opposite direction in life.
Ryan is one of my favorite people. Not just because he used to handle marketing for American Apparel, but also because of his work with practical philosophy and integrating stoicism into lives of others. I have been following Ryan for some time now, and his reading recommendations are amazing too. Make sure to check him out.
This book, is again not something you sit and read. Small 200ish word daily readings for every day of the year. Every morning before I leave house, I give a quick read and take a couple minutes to think about the meditation for that day. Ryan simply has found a way to introduce philosophy into our daily lives. These daily meditations have started to make a huge difference in my mindset, and my life.
A must buy.
This is one of my favorite fiction books ever. It explores the story of the Indian God, Shiva. Though, fictionalized, it still plays over the regular traits of this very God. The story and the details are simply amazing and transport you into those times immediately. A great book to take off your mind from the daily struggle with the logical brain.
So here is my list of books, that have framed my mind and have made me a better human being. These books have not only helped me to be more productive but also have opened many doors in my life.
Make sure to tune in for more recommendations and awesome articles.
Become A Content Marketing Ninja Becoming a social ninja does not require a set of special skills or some secret knowledge that only a few selected possess. I think it is not something esoteric as it is believed to be. Anyone and everyone can get […]
Everyone holds his fortune in his own hands, like a sculptor the raw material he will fashion into a figure. But it’s the same with that type of artistic activity as with all others: We are merely born with the capability to do it. The skill to mold the material into what we want must be learned and attentively cultivated. —JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE
We are told that the skills you possess, the genius you have, the inclination towards a specific field of life you have is all credited towards your genetic structure. Your talent is something that is fixed and can never change. You came into this world with those specific abilities, and you are going to die with them.
I came across a few passages about talent, skills and mastery while reading a few different books. Books that practically are not supposed to talk about the same thing.
The common theme the writers here talked about is that there is nothing as talent, even if there is, it has been scientifically proven that we can literally modify our genetic disposition by placing ourselves in specific kinds of environment and through deliberate action.
We are regularly told stories about talented individuals like Mozart, Steve Jobs, and many others. But if you have played Chinese Whisper game you know how stories can radically change with just a couple of alterations. The stories about these great individuals about their talents and their natural abilities tend to dismiss the fact that they were practically provided the exact kind of environment that they needed to excel.
That necessarily does not mean that the environment around them was favorable, and happy and they got everything they wanted.
Demosthenes one of the great orators of ancient Athens, born in 384 BC had speech impediment during his childhood. His became an orphan at the age of 7 and his family left him great wealth and property. But, till the time he came of age to be able to legally get that property, he noticed that he was cheated on by his own guardians. He sued them in the court, and had to speak for himself.
This specific event and environment alone would tear apart any of us, but he had created an underground room to practice his speaking skills. He used to fill his mouth with pebbles and practice speeches, he would go to the sea shore and try to speak against the sound of the waves. Demosthenes, took charge of his environment and practically changed his disposition by deliberate effort.
Why is that we see people everywhere around us performing deeds like Demosthenes, and yet fail to see that there is nothing as talent? Yes there are inborn skills, or interests with certain kinds of things, but they too can be changed, if we so wish. Our brain has evolved over millions of years, then why do we believe that we cannot change something as simple as where we invest our time and effort?
Robert Greene in his book “Mastery” mentions something that I really loved. He said, our brains practically are going in the opposite direction as time. For a lot of animals, with passage of time, their window closes. If they wait too much to attack on the prey, no food. If they wait too much outside in the open, they are going to get eaten.
Our bodies too follow this line, with passage of time our bodies decay.
However, with passage of time, our brain becomes more and more capable, more and more developed.
We see people sitting in the system, as cogs. People who have accepted to not bring about change or put in effort to pursue their unique inclinations. It is actually easy to do that. It might take years of work, but it is easy.
What we know and have been subjected to is, people who try to go against the grain of the system, and try to do what they believe in, perish. Totally not true, they might go against the system, but by doing what they believe in, something that they feel is their calling, they are going with the grain of time.
Have you ever thought, that why is people who are doing something they love, seem more energetic, more youthful and younger at 65 than a lot of us at 25?
They are going with the grain of time.
The moment we try and do something which we derive pleasure from, we are told not to.
I have my example here, recently I started taking massive actions towards trying to help more people, and the responses I got were amazing. But within those responses I have people telling me to stop, calling me names in public.
I won’t lie, it is scary. It is hard. But should I stop? Should I stop doing something I feel I am made for just because someone else in the system believes I am going in the opposite direction?
It is true, I am going in the opposite direction to them.
I am going with the direction of time, are you?